Wednesday, February 11, 2015

India at the 65th Berlinale

International Shorts Competition
In 2015, 27 films from 18 countries competing for a Golden and a Silver Bear, as well as the nomination for best short film at the European Film Awards, and the first-ever EUR 20,000 Audio Short Film Award.

The Jury
Madhusree Dutta (filmmaker, curator and pedagogue).
Wahyuni A. Hadi (curator, author and executive director of the Singapore International Film Festival)
Halil Altındere (artist, curator and publisher of art-ist Magazine)

From India
Amit Dutta’s Chitrashala World Premiere
Satindar Singh Bedi’s Kamakshi World Premiere

Still: Chitrashala
(House of Painting)
Director Amit Dutta
2015, 19 mins, Hindi language

Producer Amit Dutta, Ritu Khoda, Paolo Bertolin Co-production art1st Foundation, Mumbai
Animation Ayswarya Sankaranarayanan DOP Dhananjay Singh, Piyush Shah Sound Amit Dutta, Samarth Dixit Music Catherine Lamb

An old palace, now a museum, stands alone above the riverbank overlooking the city. It houses a set of the finest miniature paintings ever created in the Himalayan region. Hundreds of people come here to admire the art every day. When evening comes, the curtains are drawn, doors are locked and gates are bolted. In the calm of the night, characters from the pictures spring to life. They tell of the eternal love between King Nala and his wife Damayantin. Once while gambling, the king lost his kingdom and they were forced to live in exile. Separating soon after, they experience numerous adventures and eventually reunite at the end. Amit Dutta approaches this story with visual composure and concentration. He lifts the curtains with the greatest respect, to give life to love. He searches for the cinematic equivalent of this tale and expands the cinema, with the miniature.

Born in 1977 in Jammu, Amit Dutta is an experimental filmmaker and screenwriter. He is an alumnus of the Film & Television Institute of India, Pune. He won international acclaim with his experimental short film To Be Continued (2007), and the FIPRESCI Prize at the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen 2007. His other significant films include The Man's Woman And Other Stories (2009) and his feature film Nainsukh (2010).

Still: Kamakshi
Director, Scriptwriter Satindar Singh Bedi
2014, 25 mins, DCP, B&W and Colour, Marathi language

Producer Film & Television Institute of India, Pune Production Chandrashekhar Joshi, Film Research Officer (FTII) Editor Kratika Adhikari DOP Rangarajan Ramabadran Sound Sandro Sadhukan Cast Parvathi Limbhaji Suryavanshi, Snehal Pawar

A folk tale. The folks dig a well for her. The water seller, her horse and oxen are abandoned. A girl appears in her thirst. She digs alone and deep down. As the water engulfs, she erupts to make the land green. Note: In Hindu mythology, Kamakshi, the goddess of compassion, fulfils all wishes and embodies serenity and peace.

Satindar Singh Bedi graduated in Economics from Chennai. He says, “ I am a writer and a poet which I discovered in school. I used to write stories, poems, plays and act and direct them. It was lot of fun. In college it blossomed more as we did plays, which even took me to the Himalayas”. He then got a job in banking and sales. He quit to join the Film and Television Institute of India for a three year Post Graduate diploma in Film Direction. Kamakshi is his thesis film. He adds, “Direction per se is not an independent skill. It has to come from a core. I guess for me it comes from my writing and poetry”

Indian Jury Member

Mumbai-based Madhusree Dutta is an alumnus of Jadavpur University, Kolkata, and the National School of Drama, New Delhi. She currently lives in Mumbai. Madhusree is the founder and executive director of Majlis, a centre for rights discourse and multi-disciplinary art initiatives in Mumbai. The centre is engaged in cultural literacy, contemporary practices of archiving, mobilising artists around political articulations, and in producing texts, plays, films and multi disciplinary art works. Filmmaking, theatre, visual arts, text productions; students’ movement, feminist movement, movement against communalism, movement for democratisation of art practices; cultural literacy, art pedagogy; interfaces between genres, movements and disciplines form the trajectories of Madhusree’s journey.

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