Art News & Views

Docedge the Asian documentary forum

Shri Buddhadeb Dasgupta, Chairman SRFTI, addressing the audience

The train leaves from Colombo to Jaffna negotiating the most uncertain journey on its wheels of anxiety to the North...and reveals through Janaka, a Station Master the great divide, war, mistrust and making the island a stream of blood. In an engaging emotional image -design the film speaks and delves in the politics of railway track expansion and the senseless civil war involving the Tamils and the Singhalese. The neglect, populism and the dream of creating ethnically pure land for Tamils are intricately woven for the story details we hardly knew about on the thirty year long harrowing civil war. The discourses and deep anguishes bare the soul of Jude Ratnam, a very young filmmaker from Sri Lanka. The story is, a new experience to all of us on a widely known conflict which beams light of a new dimension.

Participants at the workshop in Pitch lab

In a sheer poetry the transcending time is captured by Farida Pacha from the lives of Gujarat saltmakers who celebrate the harvest of salt only to be rewarded with debts. With another awakening, Deepa Dhanraj exposes the female Jamaat, wresting out the empowerment of resolution on the issues of dowry harassment, domestic violence and desertion from Muslim clerics, through homespan logic.

The Indian Sari is an instrument to interpret the culture, social, political and sexual interpretation of the subcontinent...the ancient loom thus defines the dangerous drapes that strangle our women! That is what Q, the filmmaker from Kolkata tries to attempt to provoke a historic awareness.

There have been stories and critical expositions of conflict, aspiration, artistic dilemma to reveal and react to the conditioning of life people are living out there in contrasting spaces coming from countries like Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan, China, Nepal and Sri Lanka and India.

The most inspiring action of docedge is a serene experience where filmmakers and experts, from all over the world attending the workshop are exploring the artistic potential of proposed factual narratives in intense dialogue, healthy but ruthless critical views and professional guidance to find out effective approaches that will be combined with appropriate texts and forms. Young and experienced filmmakers, students and academicians who are observing also actively participate in project development clinics.

The winter of Kolkata attracts a variety of artistic activism. A recent addition of a high profile international event puts Kolkata in global documentary film map. Kolkata hosts an international event on documentary initiative every year, since 2004. Satyajit Ray Film & Television Institute organises the event which is a forum for new Asian documentary that proposes industry-academia interfaces, further capacity building, finding answers to abysmally critical financial gap in the region.

Sri Amaresh Chakraborty,
Director SRFTI, giving a speech

Docege the Asian documentary forum is a platform where Indian and Asian filmmakers come together for an intense exchange on documentary with their new ideas. Filmmakers and producers selected from various countries interact with a group of seasoned international experts to further exploration of artistic possibilities, narrative potential and stylistic treatment of the stories they will be working on. This is a unique gathering of creative exchange where the authors provoke others to participate into a creative process and gain substantially through critical discourses. The cultural differences in the process of dialogue play an interesting role as the content is seen and received by experts offer different perspective. It is an open platform where filmmakers, experts, academicians, students and prospective collaborators chip in through open windows by critically sharing dialogue on each and individual project.

Docedge is devised to be a workshop and training initiative which is followed by a pitching session to a panel of commissioning editors, international broadcasters and grant making bodies/institutions that all are looking for meaningful Indian/Asian content for their own audience. The thoughtfully designed panel offers feedback, criticism, advises and extend its support with co-production partnership for the relevant projects.

Sri Buddhadeb Dasgupta, Nick Ware, Andrew, Claas Danelsen,Phil Cox, Amaresh Chakraborty in the auditorium

The seventh edition took place in January 2010 with largest international participation so far since its inception in 2004. Major decision makers of international audio-visual world like ITVS, USA, POV-American documentary, IDFA/JVF Amsterdam, NHK-Japan, Knowledge Network, Canada, Dok Leipzig international Doc fest, Germany and other European broadcast majors . A wide range of stakeholders also present from Indian institutions like Thompson foundation, For Media, NDTV Imagine, Magic Lantern Foundation in docedge collective for a common cause called documentary.

Nilotpal Majumdar
Coordinator, Docedge and Dean, SRFT



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