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Festival of South Asian documentaries comes to Delhi


Documentary films about people from Afghanistan, Myanmar, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka will be screened as part of a movie festival here next month.

Documentary Bears Witness: Travelling Film South Asia 2018, a festival of South Asian documentaries, will be held from August 1-4.

A total of 12 non-fiction films from South Asia produced in the last two years, will be screened as a part of the event, being organised by India International Centre and Film Southasia, Kathmandu in collaboration with New Imaginations: Jindal School of Journalism and Communications, read a statement.

The festival includes the award winners of Film Southasia Festival 2017, Kathmandu as well as other films selected to showcase the variety, treatment and intensity that marks the world of South Asian documentary and non-fiction.

Kanak Mani Dixit, Chair of Film Southasia 2017, said: “This is the best way for distanced societies to build empathy towards each other. These documentaries are the best antidote to ultra-nationalist populism that is overtaking each country of South Asia.”

Films from India include Hardik Mehta’s “Amdavad Ma Famous” and Chandrasekhar Reddy’s “Fireflies in the Abyss”, which presents a hard-hitting look at the ‘rat-hole’ mining in the Jaintia Hills of northeast India. There will also be “Rasan Piya” by Niharika Popli which delineates the extraordinary story of musician, poet and teacher Ustad Abdul Rashid Khan.

The closing film of the festival “Soz: A Ballad of Maladies”, directed by Tushar Madhav and Sarvnik Kaur, unveils the transformed cultural fabric of the Kashmir valley in a journey through the metamorphosis of its traditional poetry and music into the contemporary art forms of resistance such as hip-hop.

From Sri Lanka, Jude Ratnam’s “Demons in Paradise”, a first-hand account by a Tamil filmmaker living in Sri Lanka about the 26-year-old civil war will be shown.

“32 Souls” by filmmaker Sai Naw Kham is work on the rhythms of daily life, of mortality, and the persistence of memory in Myanmar.

Pakistan’s “Among the Believers” is about charismatic cleric Abdul Aziz Ghazi, an ISIS supporter and Taliban ally, on his quest to create an Islamic utopia in his country, and “Overruled” from Afghanistan weaves a poignant story of the lives and hopes of young Afghan refugees working in tennis clubs in Iran.

As part of the festival, there will be an interactive session on ‘Documentary as Protest’ on August 4. Some of the filmmakers will be present to personally introduce their films and lead discussions after.

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