The 7th Madurai Film Festival

6 – 10 December 2005

Between December 6 and 10, 2005, the 7th Madurai Film Festival, organised by Marupakkam and other local groups, screened a large number of films to Madurai residents, comprising students, people interested in literature, journalists and common citizens. Magic Lantern Foundation contributed with 11 films that it is distributing through its distribution initiative Under Construction.

A Report

In its 7th year, the Madurai Film Festival started on the notes of boisterous drumbeats by Dalit students. The drumming started right outside the primary venue, and along with them and their beats, everyone walked inside the venue, where they gave a small performance as a kick start to an event which, by its seventh year, has become one that the people of this town have begun to look forward to.

This year, the festival drew support and recognition from the literary circles of Tamil Nadu. The event was inaugurated by noted writer, Salma, who, interestingly, also featured in the opening film of the festival, ‘She Write’ , by Anjali Monteiro and K. P. Jayasankar. Her outspoken writing was creating furore in the society. Her opening remarks, followed by the film that also featured other ‘controversial’ women writers like Kutty Revathi, set the pace for the event.

The festival had its screening venues spread across five different locations where simultaneous screenings took place over the next five days. Primary amongst them were two public auditoriums: Muta Hall and Gandhi Museum, along with three colleges across the town: Madura College, Lady Doak College and American College. The new feature this year was a competition section for locally made films. There was a large number of entries for competition, most of which were on day to day problems faced by common people. These films and other non-fiction films in Tamil were screened at a nearby town Usilampatti, in the presmises of SIRD, a local NGO.

Altogether, some 2000 people came and went, some quite regularly, across all the venues. The overwhelming presence of students and local youth showed that the festival was successful in generating interest on non-fiction films to an audience that has little exposure to other genres of films other than feature films and television. People showed a keen interest in issues from all across India and also from all over the world. There were special requests made for repeat screenings and these were accommodated by the organisers.

Under Construction screened 11 of its films and also put up a stall at the main venue. This event was significant for Under Construction as it was a small step towards realising its final goal of making films accessible in smaller cities and towns.

Under Construction films screened at the festival

  • In Whose Interest? by David Kaplowitz, UK
  • Manjuben Truckdriver by Sherna Dastur, India
  • Nee Enge by R. V. Ramani, India
  • Autumn’s Final Country by Sonia Jabbar, India
  • Nima Temba Sherpa by Margriet Jansen, The Netherlands
  • Suits and Savages: Why the World Bank Won’t Save the World by Zoe Young and Dylan Howitt, UK
  • Passengers: A Video Journey in Gujarat by Nooh Nizami and Akanksha Joshi, India
  • Search For Freedom: A Story About Four Afghan Women by Munizae Jahangir, Pakistan/USA
  • Right to Information by Anurag Singh, India
  • The Die is Caste by Ranjan Kamath, India
  • Little Republics by Gautam Sonti, India

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