Presentations and Seminars

A Festival of Contemporary Political Films

April 17, 18 and 19, 2009; 10 am to 10 pm;
Entry Free

Venue: India International Centre, 40 Max Mueller Marg, Lodhi Estate,
New Delhi 110003

Organised by
Magic Lantern Foundation & India International Centre


Ujle Safed Kabootar

kuchh nazmein philisteen ke naam
Presented by Jana Natya Manch

Friday, 17 April, 6:30 PM, Auditorium

Palestine, the land that nurtured three great religions, a land ravaged by a brutal occupation and seemingly perpetual war, the land of a heroic people. The reading starts with a song on Palestine by Faiz Ahmed Faiz and a poem by the Somalian poet Safi Abdi. The centrepiece of the reading is the poem ‘Under Siege’ by Palestine’s best-known poet, Mahmoud Darwish, who died last year. This is a deeply moving, sometimes philosophical, sometimes trenchant, poem that reasserts the basic human values of love, understanding, dignity and self-respect. The reading concludes with excerpts from Nizar Qabbani, Syria’s greatest poet. The reading is accompanied by a visual essay by filmmaker and designer Sherna Dastur.

Poems by Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Safi Abdi, Mahmoud Darwish and Nizar Qabbani
Translations by Brijesh
Images by Sherna Dastur
Poetry read by Brijesh, Sudhanva Deshpande
Directed by Sudhanva Deshpande

Jana Natya Manch is a Delhi-based group, best known for its political theatre.

Imagine Peace

A workshop organised by KHOJ International Artists Association in collaboration with Design2context, Zurich

Saturday, 18 April, 6:00 PM, Auditorium

As part of the Imagine Peace workshop, an evening of artists’ presentations has been planned. Artists from Baroda, Srinagar, Colombo, Delhi and Guwahati will be showing and discussing work that engages with the theme of conflict/ peace, as it manifests in terms of civil/ military strife; conflict in the form of caste, class and gender and issues that arise out of contemporary phenomena like migration etc.

Participating artists include:
Jagath Weerasinghe
Gargi Raina
Sonal Jain
Gigi Scaria
Sajad Malik
The discussion will be moderated by Pooja Sood, Director, KHOJ

Cinema City: Bombay / Mumbai

An interdisciplinary practice based archive project
Presented by Majlis Productions
in association with PSBT, Ford Foundation, KRVIA, SNDT university and others

Sunday, 19 April, 6:00 PM, Auditorium

Cities and cinema are the twins of 20th century. Though the first half of the century it is the western nations who primarily developed and produced cinema, since the ‘50s the Asian cinema has been slowly developing a distinct identity. The post colonial cities, the vast metropolises and the moving people of the region have evolved a certain discipline which is as much about city narratives as about cinematic representations. Bombay/Mumbai is the foremost important city among them.

Though the project aims to extend to other Asian cities of film productions, currently our focus is only on Bombay / Mumbai. This is a curtain raiser of the project.

a) Film: Dark Room by Renu Savant (10 minutes), the city as a darkroom creates many chemical reactions through its agitation and development of emulsions
b) Introduction to the project: Madhusree Dutta (5 minutes)
c) An audio jatra: Hitesh Chaurasia & Shrikant Agawane (10 minutes)
d) Cinema-City-Nation: Time Line: Renu Savant / Hansa Thapliyal (15 minutes)
d) Film: Screenplay Dialogue Synopsis by Rrivu Laha (10 minutes), portrait of a cinema citizen
e) Topology of the Cinema City: Rohan Shivkumar (20 minutes), mapping cinemas in the city
f) Notes on Pila House: Abeer Gupta (10 minutes)
h) Phantom Lady or Kismet: a photoromance, Pushpamala N (15 minutes)


Three half day seminars will engage with some of the key challenges of the documentary aesthetics, production and distribution. The seminars would bring together film makers, film scholars, critics, and the audience in an attempt to explore the politics and aesthetics of independent films. Each session would begin with a film screening.

Cinema South Asia

Is South Asia a Cinematic Reality?

Friday, 17th April 2009. 11 a.m. to 2:00 PM
Venue: IIC Conference Room 2 (Above the main dining room, 2nd floor)
Film Screening: excerpts from We Home Chaps, by Kesang Tseten (Lama)

Despite a common history and shared cultures the truncation and trauma of partition has not faded, and different political processes within the nation-states have signified different cultural markers and developments. So how do we understand South Asia as a common designation? Is this concept that people living in these countries share or relate to? Or does the concept only exist in the academia in the West as an easy classifier? Does the term South Asia refer to a mere geographical entity or a cultural reality? Further, how does cinema help to construct a common South Asia whose material cultures are simultaneously similar and diverse?

The seminar brings together media practitioners and scholars to debate and discuss these questions

Pooja Sood, Founder and Chairperson, KHOJ
Sanjay Kak, Filmmaker, India
Kesang Tseten (Lama), Filmmaker, Nepal
Moderator: Kanak Mani Dixit, Editor and Publisher, Himal Southasian

Watching the ‘real’

Voyeurism, polemic and documentary

Saturday, 18th April 2009. 10:00 AM. to 1:00 PM
Venue: IIC Conference Room 2 (Above the main dining room, 2nd floor)
Film Screening: Nusrat has Left the Building, but When?, by Farjad Nabi.

Since the time cinema emerged a distinction has been drawn between the ‘real’ and the ‘performed.’ While fiction has gone on to be acknowledged as a legitimate art form, the documentary is still caught up with the burden of having to prove its credentials as ‘real.’ The dilemma that has dogged scholars is: is the documentary distinct from fiction as it ‘shows’ reality or should it be viewed at par as it is as ‘constructed’ as fiction? Many practitioners have been able to perceive and articulate the contradiction and possibilities of this debate and have moved on, engaging with the aesthetics of the form and rendering such distinctions as invalid. Nevertheless, in the popular mind the documentary is ‘real,’ pedantic, polemic and pedagogical. The seminar aims to bridge the gap between the three loci of the academia, the subjective and the popular.

Meena Nanji, Filmmaker, USA
Yasmine Kabir, Filmmaker, Bangladesh
Ravina Aggarwal, Program Officer, Ford Foundation, India
Prasanna Vithanage, Filmmaker, Sri Lanka
Moderator: Madhusree Dutta, Majlis, India

When are films independent?

Rethinking ownership / authorship / viewership

Sunday, 19th April 2009. 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Venue: IIC Conference Room 2 (Above the main dining room, 2nd floor)

Who owns the recycled image in the increasingly ‘protected’ world of intellectual property? How much space is left for the author to articulate a critical view in which the analysed elements “belong” to somebody else? What channels are “allotted” to the film makers to distribute their work and how does this limit the access of the audience to those? The seminar would look at the narrowing spaces for production, dissemination and exhibition of independent films within the material culture controlled by trans-national corporations, copyrights and private property.

It would also address the simultaneous needs of receiving remuneration and increasing viewership and attempt to chart newer ways of sharing cultural expressions and productions with the public.

Hansa Thapliyal, Majlis. Presentation on GODAM and the Public Access Digital Media Archive,
Gunjan Jain, NDTV
Ayesha Kagal, NDTV
Manak Matiyani, Magic Lantern Foundation
Guilia Batagli, Ph. D candidate SOAS, London.
Moderator: Gargi Sen, Magic Lantern Foundation

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