Rajiv Gandhi University to host Northeast Film Festival in March
Itanagar: The Arunachal Institute of Tribal Studies (AITS) at Rajiv Gandhi University (RGU) at Rono Hills, near here, is all set to host a festival of films from contemporary Northeast from March 9 to 11 next year.
Christened as ‘Borderland narratives’, the festival will seek to “create a platform for filmmakers from the region to explore issues of heritage, identity and change from a contemporary perspective, the university’s mass communication department informed adding, the festival is proposed to be held annually by the university.
“While Northeast India, with the diversity of its communities and cultures, has always been considered a ‘paradise’ for anthropologists, ethnographers and documentary filmmakers, much of the way in which it has been represented has been from the perspective of the ‘endangerment’ of cultural heritage. Be it tourism festivals or texts in popular media, much of the way the region is seen situates it in the past, as primarily the home of ‘rich traditional culture’,” the department said.
However, it said, in recent times, there has been a move towards changing this discourse of representation and looking at the Northeast as it is today.
“Filmmakers and artists are beginning to explore the contemporary face of the communities in the region and we see, in emerging films, the ‘traditional practices’ and ‘ritual performances’ give way to newer ways of looking at society itself, with its emerging changed concerns,” it said.
‘Borderland narratives: Films from contemporary Northeast India’ is “an exploration of that new space where the region’s communities emerge from the ‘museumization’ of its cultures to its contemporizing,” the department said, adding that it is hoped the festival would promote “an active visual culture and encourage visual reading, particular among the young people.”
For the first edition of the festival, in the non-competitive segment, called ‘What we weave’, two filmmakers from each of the eight states in the region will be invited to present their films, where the screenings will be followed by close interactions with the filmmakers.
From the second edition onwards, there will an open call for entries in this segment.
Another key feature of the festival is the in-competition segment called ‘Our lives, our stories’, which is a competition for short films of up to five minutes. The theme for the competition this year is ‘Vanishing roots: Art, culture and folklore’, and films made after 1 January, 2016, in both fiction and non-fiction formats, are eligible to participate.
The competition will have a cash award of Rs 1 lakh along with a trophy and a citation. More details of the competition are available on RGU’s website.
The other events at the festival include panel discussions, lectures by eminent filmmakers and artistes, and a workshop on visual anthropology. The festival is being organized under the stewardship of RGU Vice Chancellor Prof Saket Kushwaha and is a collaborative initiative of the departments of fine arts & music, mass communication and anthropology, along with the Centre for Cultural Research and Documentation.