The 14th Madurai International Documentary and Short Film Festival 2012 gets underway from December 6.

A veritable feast is in store for the denizens of the Temple City when the annual international documentary and short film festival opens from December 6. The three-day festival brings to light people belonging to different cultures and their way of life.

The festival is organised by Marupakkam, which promotes independent films and documentaries, in association with the Visual Art Centre, Madura College, Department of Folklore, Madurai Kamaraj University, Mannar Thirumalai Naicker College, S. Vellaichamy Nadar College and Yadava College.

“This time around, we wanted to conduct this event in different venues to cater to more sections of the people,” says R.P. Amudhan, festival director. “Last year we organised this festival in a single venue and now we have a selected group of colleges to screen the films.”

The inaugural film is a documentary, Yuban, meaning the Earth. Directed by Mexican Yaasib Vazquez, the film, in Spanish and subtitled in English, runs for about 29 minutes. It depicts the life of the Zapotecan community, who live in the village of San Francisco Canojos in the Sierra Juarez, southern Mexico. They share a close relationship with the earth. As they believe the earth is alive, children of this community are taught not to stomp on the ground, spit or cause any insult to it.

The voice-over speaks in detail about the community’s ancient customs, traditions and sayings, thereby creating awareness about the earth’s contributions to mankind. With beautiful images of mountains bathed in sunlight or shrouded in thick mist, the documentary takes viewers into the village as the residents prepare for their annual carnival celebrations.

More than 80 short films, documentaries, music videos and animation films are shortlisted for the festival. They are grouped under different categories including international films, films from the rest of India and films from Tamil Nadu.

In the Retrospective section, the veteran filmmakers Anjali Monteiro and K.P. Jayasankar will present their eight films and share their thoughts and experiences with the audience.

Films distributed by Magic Lantern Foundation, New Delhi, will be screened in the Under Construction category. In the Country Special section, films from Trinidad and Tobago, curated by Paul Lee, will be screened. Films from Manipur, curated by Netraj, will be screened in the State Special category.

In the international films category, award-winning documentaries and short films from Mexico, Spain, Italy, Germany, the U.K., South Africa, Finland, Cambodia, Russia and other countries will be screened. Under the Rest of India section, films made by Anand Patwardhan, Leena Manimekalai, Sreemith, Anupama Srinivasan and others have been shortlisted.

Among the films from Tamil Nadu, works by Someetharan, Aravind Kumar and others will be screened.

FILMS TO WATCH:

Jai Bhim Comrade, an epic by Anand Patwardhan on the Dalits of Maharashtra, runs for about three hours and thirty minutes and will be screened with Tamil subtitles. It recently won the best film award at Jean Rouch International Film Festival in France.

Scorpions is a film on a volleyball team of disabled people in Cambodia.

Dear Mandela is about slum dwellers of South Africa fighting for their housing rights.

Apash talks about the native people of Peru in South America trying to protect their land, river and forest.

Pennadi is a video poem by Leena Manimekalai on Tamil women poets of the Sangam Era.

So Heddan So Hoddan is a visual treat on the Sufi music and culture of Maldhari Jatts of Kutch, Rann and Sindh, regions bordering India and Pakistan.

Ameer Got His Gun is a documentary about an Arab living in Israel and trying to join the border police.

The Wild Ones is a documentary on troubled horses and troubled teenagers coming together to learn about life.