Tuesday, July 27

Fest to screen films reflecting ‘turbulent times’

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The seventh edition of The Kolkata People’s Film Festival (KPFF), organized by People’s Film Collective (PFC), will screen politically committed contemporary documentary and fiction cinema from the subcontinent, reflecting the times we are living in. The festival scheduled from January 23-26 is a people-supported, independent and volunteer-led initiative that will screen 34 films featuring a wide range of compelling stories from India and south Asia. The opening keynote address will be given by writer Arundhati Roy, who has been vocal about the abrogation of Article 370 and the Citizenship Act.

A brainchild of Kasturi Basu and Dwaipayan Banerjee, PFC was formed in 2013 and it has about 40 members now. It doesn’t accept any funds from corporate organisations, NGOs or institutions and runs on donations from individuals, said a member.

“While selecting the films, our screening committee had in mind that we are living in a time when the people of the Valley are caged into silence and the communities are being threatened to be stripped of their citizenship, as the two-nation theory rears its ugly head once again amid ghosts of the Partition. It is also a time when demonizing of migrants, crackdown of political dissent, violence against oppressed castes, genders and religious minorities, economic slowdown and capitalist assault on labour rights and public education have become a regular state of affairs in India,” said Banerjee, one of the founding members of PFC. According to him, the festival will also focus on the climate crisis, causing shifting patterns of seasons, affecting the ecology, agriculture and marginalised sections of people.

Everyday from 10am to 9pm, several films will be screened at Uttam Mancha. Among the noteworthy films are, ‘Prison Diaries’ based on the imprisonment of women for their resistance to the Emergency of 1975-77, Bangladeshi film ‘Rising Silence’ on the relationships between women, Ashish Pandey’s ‘Nooreh’, set in Kashmir, a film ‘Janani’s Juliet’ by Pankaj Rishi Kumar, Anand Patwardhan’s ‘Reason’, and Laura Kansy and Oskar Zoche’s ‘Strangers’. Apart from the films there will be interactive sessions by Sanjay Kak, Anand Patwardhan and other directors. The festival will end with a poetry, music and conversation by Aamir Aziz and Moushumi Bhowmik titled ‘Singing your despair, and mine’.

Both Basu and Banerjee believe that image can be a beautiful and effective medium for conversation. The independent documentary films interests them the most. Banerjee feels that KPFF 2020 can be seen as a space for alternative world views and conversations between people who are committed to putting up cultural and political resistance against fascism and for celebrating people’s power.


Source: Times of India

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