Persistence Resistance in London (2011)

Persistence Resistance is premised on the belief that documentary practices in any place actively participate in the shaping of our times. The strong history of documentary filmmaking in India and the continued explorations and experimentations with documentary form offer an extensive intellectual and creative platform to think through and debate current urgencies in South Asia as well as in the UK, Europe and elsewhere internationally.

In its fourth year, Persistence Resistance 2011 (held in New Delhi from 7-11 February) celebrated the independent documentary artists’ deep engagement with the myriad forms that the documentary affords. Through the personal to the conceptual, the essayistic, the poetic, the performative, the self-reflective or the fictional, engaging humour, philosophy, music, the law or social movements – they create distinct political voices and impulses for their audiences to engage.

Persistence Resistance in London would like to widen the spectrum of conversations between those films and their audiences, between filmmakers and viewers through a series of constructed conversations between academics and practitioners. It introduces archival and very recent works that have not been shown in London previously and it sets out to expand the ways documentaries offer us to think and to act. While we start with a focus on Indian documentary practice to create a more informed ground to explore its specific histories, styles and provocations, the aim is to explore further political and aesthetic affiliations across geographical locations and disciplines.

The collaborative effort between Magic Lantern and five academic institutions – Goldsmiths, LSE, SOAS, University of Westminster and Brunel University – made it possible to create an event that focuses on in-depth conversations between and amongst filmmakers and theorists, linked to screenings, round-tables and with plenty of time for open discussions with the audience.

Filmmaker guests Arun Khopkar, Deepa Dhanraj, Rahul Roy, Rajula Shah and Saba Dewan from India, Yasmine Kabir from Bangladesh, as well as UK based filmmakers John Wyver, Mairead McClean, Mao Mollona, Margaret Dickinson and Simon Chambers will be joined by, and be in conversations with, Alisa Lebow, Alpa Shah, Giulia Battaglia, Laura Bear, Lotte Hoek, Lucia King, Nicole Wolf, Partha Mitter, Radha D’Souza, Ravi Vasudevan, Ros Gray, Rosie Thomas, Stephen Hughes, Stewart Motha and Ziba Mir Hosseini.

We hope that Persistence Resistance 2011: Documentary Practices in India will be a celebration of both the plurality of the documentary practice and the ways of engaging with it.

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