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Auroville magic, mores through celluloid

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Tinsel town air: Actor Revathy, who is one of the jury members at the Auroville Film Festival 2009, Puducherry, in conversation with Marco Feira, the organiser of the festival.
Tinsel town air: Actor Revathy, who is one of the jury members at the Auroville Film Festival 2009, Puducherry, in conversation with Marco Feira, the organiser of the festival.

Staff Reporter

94 films will be judged by three eminent personalities

PUDUCHERRY: Over 100 enthusiastic people, mostly Aurovilians, sitting beneath the open skies, cheered loudly as the Auroville Film Festival 2009 was declared open.

The first edition of the film festival will feature 115 films under three categories – films made by Aurovilians and residents of the bioregion and films shot in Auroville by guests of Auroville, films made about Auroville, and films made by students of schools in Auroville.

The 94 films in the competition will be judged by three eminent personalities: actor-director Revathy, reporter and documentary filmmaker Gerard Perrier, and theatre person and journalist Gowri Ramnarayan.

“My association with Auroville has lasted over 20 years, and I’m happy to be a part of this festival,” said a smiling Revathy.

According to Marco Feira, the organiser of the festival who also runs Cinema Paradiso, the aim of the festival is to project a certain image of Auroville, and at the same time explore the perception that outsiders have about Auroville. The winning films will find a bigger platform when they are screened in big cities in India and abroad, he added.

“We live in an era of images, and our idea was to adopt an educational approach towards making films,” he explained.

In an attempt to realise this, Cinema Paradiso decided to conduct filmmaking workshops for participants aged eight and above, in the run-up to the festival. “This is when the award-winning French experimental filmmaker Saguenail arrived at Auroville, and became the cheese on the pasta,” quipped Mr. Feira. He went on to conduct workshops for 65 students over 10 days on all aspects of filmmaking, such as camera work, sound and editing. He also trained Aurovilians to conduct these workshops so that this tradition could continue for future editions of the biennial festival.

In all, three adult workshops and six school workshops were conducted, and most of the films made during the course of these workshops will be screened. The audience may also vote for three of the best films in their opinion.

The festival will be on until September 27, with films being screened daily at Bharat Nivas and MMC, Auroville.

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