CINEMELA BEGINS IN NEW DELHI

Roving Reporter
New Delhi
13 April 2007

Although commercial film festivals have always been attractive to cinemagoers, new initiatives to exhibit small, meaningful and non-commercial cinema do have a sizeable audience. Proving this fact yet again, the second edition of �Cinemela�, a 4-day festival of short films & documentaries by young filmmakers, opened to a packed audience yesterday at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.

Organised by the Cinemela Collectives and JNU Students Union School of Arts and Aesthetics, in collaboration with Max Muller Bhavan, Cinemela will run from 12 to 15 April. The Limca Book of World Records recognized Cinemela�s very first edition last year for its uniqueness and participation.

Inaugurating the festival, Aruna Vasudev, founder Osian�s Cinefan, appreciated Cinemela for the opportunity it gives to young filmmakers to showcase their work. Senior journalist Paranjoy G. Thakurta also agreed. �The profit-mongering mainstream media culture has to be resisted with more and more events like Cinemela,� he said. Prof. Parul Mukherjee, Dean of School of Arts and Aesthetics, JNU, described it as a successful effort in building bridges between the academics and practices in Art.

To underscore its range and plurality, two films from two distinct worlds and realities were screened on the opening day. Gadi Lohardaga Mail, a film by Meghnad and Biju Toppo is the only visual documentation on a historic train in Jharkhand, while Ester Amrami�s Berlin Diary captures the life of a young Israeli woman in Berlin.

�Cinemela intends to take films created by young artists to young audience, besides making efforts to create a space for the new creative voices from all over the world which is denied by the crude logic of media industry. We believe that these woks deserve attention for their ability to go beyond local issues and provincial tastes while
simultaneously opening up a window onto a diverse culture,� says Prakash Kumar Ray, Convenor of Cinemela and a young documentary maker.

Speaking on the occasion, Katja Kessing, Programmes Director in Max Mueller Bhavan recounted the historic relationship of Max Muller Bhavan with Indian arts, cultures and cinemas, besides brining cinemas across borders together. This year, a series of prize winning short films by young filmmakers are the special attraction, thanks to Max Muller Bhavan. These films from countries like Belarus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Israel, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, the Ukraine and the United States are being portrayed as gestures of reconciliation between nations and people affected by World War II.

Besides, there are a number of films from Indian filmmakers covering diverse issues, regions and languages. Like Bilori by Sandeip Modi in Marathi, Poorvragh by Surendra Kumar in Hindi, or Dim, by Anil Sadarangani in English. Dim, interestingly as short as three and half minutes, is about two women form a minority community discuss the housing problem in Mumbai. There is also one on the experience of a foreign student in V.V. Maheshwar Rao�s In India. While Ahish Bhatiya�s six and a half minute long Breaking the Wall of Ignorance is about children and young people suffering from Down�s Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Autism, Hearing Impairment, Mental Illnesses, Venkat and Veeramani�s Living Under Bondage is a 21-minute visual documentation of the plight of casual labourers working in construction sites in a prestigious university like JNU. New Delhi Private Limited by Ravinder S Randhawa raises the issue of transformation of New Delhi as a �world class� city at the enormous human and ecological costs.

Cinemela has an Oriya film too. Nemesis of Motherhood, directed by Snehasis Das, is a 28-minute documentary on the alarming maternal mortality in village Karijhola in Koraput district. Women of Karijhola unknowingly make up the nation�s highest maternal mortality rate, also the world�s highest. Nemesis of Motherhood brings out the sorrow of motherhood in a world of poverty and absolute deprivation, where mothers either lose their children after birth or die themselves.

As a special entry, the festival will also screen a rare collection of best first films from Film and Television Institute of India (FTII). It includes passing out films by noted film personalities like Satish Shah, Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Madan Bavaria with actors like Jaya Bacchan, Smita Patil, Suresh Oberoi acting in them, all during their student days.

�Cinemela is designed to serve as a glass through which audience may have an opportunity to glimpse important aspects of rapidly emerging creative
sensibilities which are all set to conquer the future. Keeping this in
view, we plan to take the selected films from the festival to other
campuses and places,� Prakash Kumar Ray adds. The programme details can be downloaded from http://www.goethe.de/ins/in/ned/en2213469.htm

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