Kashmir before our eyes : A 3 Day Film Festival in Mumbai

The Films Division of India, has been screening films every Saturday for the past few months.They will now be  organizing a Film Festival with special focus on Kashmir. The festival will include not only feature films but also documentaries,short films,readings and discussions on Kashmir.The entry is free for all.The venue for the event is RR Theatre, 10th floor,Films Division,24, Pedder Road,Mumbai – 400026.

Curated by Ajay Raina & Pankaj Rishi Kumar, the festival will begin on 31st May 2013 and end on 2nd June 2013.The schedule for the fest is as follows

MAY 31, 2013 – Friday (4.00 PM to 6.00 PM)
ROOTS OF THE CONFLICT: The nationalist discourse

STORM OVER KASHMIR
1948/ Non-Fiction/English/45 Min/B. D. Garga /Films Division.
Films Division documentary about 1947 war between India and Pakistan over Kashmir

A DIARY OF AGGRESSION
1966/Non-Fiction/English/23 Min./ NVK Murthy/Films Division
This Films Division documentary about 1965 war between India and Pakistan over Kashmir “has been compiled from authentic newsreel coverage between May and October 1965 during which period a series of acts, covert and overt by Pakistan, unfolded.”

Discussion about India Pakistan wars, discussants TBA

MAY 31, 2013 – Friday (6.30 PM to 8.00 PM)
CURTAIN RAISER
Special India Preview

VALLEY OF SAINTS
2012 / Fiction/English/82 Min/Musa Sayeed /USA
Widely considered to be the crown jewel of Kashmir, Dal Lake is a sprawling aquatic community where erupting political violence often distracts from the natural beauty. Gulzar, a young, working-class boatman, plans to skip town with his best friend Afzal in search of a better life, but a week long military curfew derails their departure. Forced to wait it out, Gulzar and Afzal discover they’re not alone: a young woman named Asifa is also trapped on the lake, but by choice. She’s researching the lake’s ecosystem and brings on Gulzar to be her guide. As they navigate the floating landscape, an unlikely relationship blossoms between the two. With the end of the conflict looming, Gulzar has to choose between a new life or a new love.

Shot during the military curfew of 2010, Valley of Saints weaves together documentary and fiction, ancient myths and contemporary issues, and the beauty and danger of Kashmir to tell a story of finding one’s path home in a changing world.

Audience Award, Sundance Film Festival.
Alfred P. Sloan Film Prize, Sundance Film Festival.
Best Feature, Ashland Independent Film Festival
Best Feature & Outstanding Director, Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival
Special Jury Prize, Mumbai International Film Festival
Special Jury Prize, Dubai International Film Festival
Crystal Heart Award Winner, Heartland Film Festival
Cinema en Un Ambiento Diverso Prize, Milan Fim Festival
Opening Night Selection, Hamburg Film Festival
Closing Night Selection, Cines del Sur Film Festival

JUNE 1, 2013 – Saturday (10 AM to 1.00 PM)
PARADISE: Kashmir then and now

BEFORE MY EYES
1988 / Non-Fiction/English/24 Min/Mani Kaul /India

LOLAAB – A valley in the Himalayas
1990/ Non-Fiction/English/57 Min/Mohiuddin Mirza/India
In the valley of Lolaab, a remote section of Kashmir in northern India, the people still live an ancient lifestyle, as yet unaffected by modernization. Learn about the culture of the people of Lolaab, how they survive the elements, and learn how the violence and militancy of the modern Kashmiri independence movement is effecting them.
National Award for best film on Ethnography

PARADISE ON A RIVER OF HELL
2003/ Non-Fiction/English/30 Min/Abir Bashir Bazaz – Meenu Gaur /PSBT/India
A culture of tolerance in Kashmir had been turned by Nund Rishi – the fifteenth century Sufi believed to be an incarnation of the Buddha – into a morality of the Other. The morality that refused to understand the schizophrenia of India’s Partition, the language of rejection of the Other. Abir Bazaz and Meenu Gaur’s -‘Paradise on a River of Hell’, is a film on Kashmir’s catastrophic desolation. The film weaves itself out of the knots of memory, the tapestry of truths and the cruel calligraphy of fate Kashmir witnessed in the 1990s. It seeks to reflect and refract the multiple experiences of tortured subjectivity in Kashmir. Not attempting to situate the 1990s in this or that event, person, space or time, the film’s mappings of personal and collective memories bears witness to Kashmir’s historical solitude.
Special Recognition, Third Karachi Film Festival, Pakistan, 2003. Official Selection, South Asian Human Rights Film Festival, New York, 2003

Discussion: Kashmir before 1990.
Moiuddin Mirza / Piyush Shah / Jyoti Swaroop/Siddhartha Gigoo moderated by Ajay Raina

JUNE 1, 2013 – Saturday (2.00 PM to 4.00 PM)
EXILE/ DISSAPEARNCE/DISLOCATION:

THE LAST DAY
2013/Fiction/Kashmiri-Hindi/12 Min./ Siddhartha Gigoo /India
Set in 1994 in a camp for Kashmiri Pandit exiles, the film portrays four frayed lives in a scrawny 8 x 10 tent. Gossamer memories of a glorious past taunt their tawdry and uncertain present. An old patriarch is battling dementia on his deathbed. His wife has lost the will to live. His son and daughter-in-law struggle for personal space. Will they ever find deliverance? Will they rediscover love? Will tomorrow be any different from today or yesterday? The river has all the answers, yet flows, eternally silent.

TELL THEM, THE TREE THEY HAD PLANTED HAS NOW GROWN
2001/Non-Fiction/Kashmiri-English/58 Min./ Ajay Raina /PSBT /India
A cinematic diary of a Kashmiri revisiting Kashmir to witness the scars of a ‘Paradise’, now lost. Ajay Raina looks at the lives of the Kashmiris who have stayed behind and their struggles. He examines the changing scenario – the ideology, the history and the cause of militancy in Kashmir. The film is replete with nostalgia and memoirs of people and places. It also delves into the psychological scars, the despair and the hopes for a better future, a better “Kashmir”.
Winner of Golden Conch (MIFF 2002) RAPA Award and IDPA Silver trophy

Followed by Reading from ‘The Garden of Solitude by Siddartha Gigoo and Q&A with the filmmakers

JUNE 1, 2013 – Saturday (4.15 PM to 6.15 PM)
WHERE HAVE YOU HIDDEN MY CRESCENT MOON
2009/Non-Fiction/Kashmiri- English/28 Min./ Iffat Fatima/ India
The film was made in 2009 in collaboration with the Association of the Parents of Disappeared Persons in Kashmir (APDP). APDP, is a collective of the family members, mostly mothers and spouses, of the victims of enforced disappearances in Kashmir seeking information about the whereabouts of their disappeared relatives. The film is part of a larger project on enforced disappearances, which began in 2006, with the objective of supporting APDP in its campaign against enforced disappearances, in Kashmir and outside Kashmir.
Through the production of documentary films the project seeks to create a space for women whose voice remains buried in the larger political and militaristic discourse, to narrate their personal experiences with violence. The film is a tribute to Mughal Mase and her relentless quest for justice and redress. It explores issues of memory, violence and healing. Mughal Mase lived in Habba Kadal, Srinagar, Kashmir. On September 1st 1990, her only son Nazir Ahmed Teli, a teacher, disappeared, never to be found again. In April 2009, the filmmaker spend a day with her…

AUTUMN’S FINAL COUNTRY
2005/Non-Fiction/Kashmiri- English/66 Min./ Sonia Jabbar / India
Autumn’s Final Country is the touching story of Indu, Zarina, Shahnaz and Anju, four women who suffer displacement in the conflict-ridden State of Jammu and Kashmir. Recorded as testimonials for the South Asia Court of Women (Dacca, Aug.2003), the film explores the lives of each woman as she relates the circumstances leading to her rootlessness, and reveals an intimate dimension of the Kashmir conflict, raising questions about patriarchal values and power, communal
identities, patriotism and war

Discussion moderated by Kalpana Sharma

JUNE 1, 2013 – Saturday (6.30 PM to 8.30 PM)
BUB (The Father)
2009/Fiction/Kashmiri/120 Min./ Jyoti Sarup / NFDC/ India
The film is based on the real life incident of the Vandahama tragedy, where a Kashmiri Pundit family was massacred before the Republic day on 26 January.

National Award for best film in Kashmiri language
Followed by Q&A with the filmmaker.

JUNE 2, 2013 – Sunday (10.30 AM to 1.30 PM)
AZADI:

JASHN-E-AZADI
2007/Non-Fiction/Kashmiri-Urdu-English/140 Min./ Sanjay Kak /India
It’s 15th August, India’s Independence day, and the Indian flag ritually goes up at Lal Chowk in the heart of Srinagar, Kashmir. The normally bustling square is eerily empty– a handful of soldiers on parade, some more guarding them, and except for the attendant media crews, no Kashmiris. For more than a decade, such sullen acts of protest have marked 15th August in Kashmir, and this is the point from where Jashn-e-Azadi begins to explore the many meanings of Freedom–of Azadi–in Kashmir.

JUNE 2, 2013 – Sunday (2.30 PM to 3.45 PM)
MARGINALISATIONS:

PATHER CHU JAERI (The Play is on)
2001/Non-Fiction/Kashmiri-Urdu-Hindi/44 Min./ Pankaj Rishi Kumar /PSBT/India
How does art survive in a regime of fear? I first encountered this question in 1999, while taking photographs of Kashmir during that mindless war with Pakistan. That summer, I established contact with the National Bhand Theatre, Wathora, and the Bhagat Theatre, Akingam, two groups that were still performing in the traditional Pather form of satire.

I returned twice in 2001, now armed with a camera. I was encouraged by what I found: an illiterate community has sustained a centuries-old tradition in the face of debilitating social and cultural changes. Although perenially intimidated by the corruption, violence and intolerance that prevail in Kashmir, the bhands are still affirming a commitment to their theatre, to the critical potential of its form and the liberating joys of performance. Faith in Sufism has tempered their enthusiam for satire and they identify with the collective voices of Kashmir’s freedom.

Pather Chu Jaeri / The Play is on…. follows the two groups as they prepare for public performances, a rare phenomenon today. For the bhands, who daily witness the erosion of their way of life, each performance represents both a change as well as a repetition of the same brutal fact: that they are not free to share their revolutionary spirit.

Best film—UNESCO MITIL Prize
Bronze Remi at Houston International Film Festival
Special Jury award at Karachi film festival
Special Mention–earthvision, santa Cruz, US
Special Jury award at Dallas South Asia film festival

Screening followed by Q&A with Pankaj Rishi Kumar

JUNE 2, 2013 – Sunday (3.45 PM to 5.45 PM)
APOUR TI YAPOUR. NA JANG NA AMAN. YEI CHU TALUKPETH
(Between Border and the fence. On the edge of the map)
2011/Non-Fiction/Kashmiri-Urdu-English/78 Min./ Ajay Raina /PSBT/India

About the people living on the LOC, a semi-permanent border that divides Kashmir between India and Pakistan. The film explores the same themes as Raina’s previous documentaries — Tell Them, The Tree They Had Planted Has Now Grown and Wapsi. All the films explore geographical and psychological dislocation, the notion of exile and the yearning for a return to less fractious times. ‘In Tell Them …’, Raina goes on a visit to his old home in Jammu and Kashmir. In Wapsi, Raina attends an India-Pakistan cricket series across Pakistan in 2004. In Apour Ti Yapour, the attempt was to “go beyond the personal, to understand and address the question of Kashmir’s struggle for azadi”

Screening followed by Q&A with Ajay Raina

JUNE 2, 2013 – Sunday (6.00 PM to 8.00 PM)
THE LONG AUTUMN AFTER WINTER:

HARUD
harud12012/Fiction/Urdu/99 Min./ Aamir Bashir /India
Rafiq and his family are struggling to come to terms with the loss of his older brother Tauqir, a tourist photographer, who is one of the thousands of young men who have disappeared since the onset of the militant insurgency in Kashmir. After an unsuccessful attempt to cross the border into Pakistan to become a militant, Rafiq returns home to an aimless existence, until one day he accidentaly finds his brother’s old camera.

Winner of the Don Quixote award at the Fribourg International Film Festival 2011 “For the sensitive treatment of the subject and its aesthetic choice that blends realistic scenes and dream visions as well as metaphors of oppression, death, madness and self-sacrifice.”

Q&A with Shanker Raman (Producer/cinematographer)

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