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INFORMATIVEFocussing on the plight of people
INFORMATIVEFocussing on the plight of people

T.SARAVANAN

Of documentary and short films is an eye-opener on many social themes, says T.SARAVANAN

Films not many would have seen and subjects not many filmmakers would dare to choose. That is what the 11 {+t} {+h} Madurai International Documentary and Short Film Festival 2009-10 brings to film buffs of the city.

“The main focus of this festival is to concentrate on creative ventures that bring to light the plight of people. We want to show how sensitive filmmakers are to public issues and struggles,” says Amuthan R.P. of Marupakkam, one of the organisers.

Bang on target, the inaugural Malayalam short film, ‘Bandhi Bojanam', directed by young Sreebala K. Menon, delved deep into the plight of women from an oppressed class. The director's choice of taking food as the central theme to show the caste division is fresh.

Maiden venture

Though a maiden venture of this Sahitya Akademi winner, Ms. Sreebala has transferred all her professional experience as a commercial film director and portrayed a woman's perspective of the social division based on caste.

“Short film is all about focussing on topics which commercial films usually avoid. I had this topic in mind for quite some time. Now that I have gained some experience in the commercial film field, I translate it to my short film, where I have a lot of freedom despite time constraints,” admits Ms. Sreebala, who is an associate director to popular filmmaker Sathyan Anthikad.

She took up this project inspired by Santhosh Echikkanam's collection of short stories ‘Komala'. She was also motivated after reading Sharadha Kutty's article on women's sacrifices to become good homemakers.

“Social division based on caste exist everywhere and the Kerala State is no exception. Though it is not publicised or discussed in open, you can notice it. Hence, it became the subject of my short film,” she says.

The organisers also take credit for deciding to screen the short film as their inaugural film. “We are not bothered whether it is a maiden venture or not. What we concentrate is the subject the film maker has chosen and how effectively he or she has handled it. Though the film might appear superficial initially , it effectively conveys the director's intention, ,” says Mr. Amuthan.

Around 100 short films and documentaries have been selected for the screenings under following sections: Films from Tamil Nadu, Rest of India, International Films, Retrospective section, where in films by popular documentary filmmaker Sanjay Kak will be screened. In the country package, people can view short films from Kyrgyztan this year. Moreover, short films distributed by Magic Lantern Foundation, New Delhi will also be screened.

Discussions

Apart from film screenings, the organisers of this festival have also made arrangements for discussions on films and interactions with filmmakers everyday at the Madura College, the venue of the five-day 1st phase screening. Besides interactions, there is also a photo and painting exhibition where in paintings of M.G. Raffic Ahamed, James Peter, Babu, Senthil, Siva, Ibrahim and Balu are on display.

The festival takes place in three phases. During the first phase films and documentaries will be screened at a single venue.

The second phase of the festival concentrates on screenings in educational institutions in and around Madurai while the third phase focuses on screenings in public places including villages, small towns, street-corners and meeting halls in and around the city in association with art groups, non Governmental organisations and other public forums.

The second and third phase will start from January 2010 and will be on for six months. The first round of screening closes on December 19.

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