Tuesday, July 12, 2016

“Our aim is to keep the flag flying” India Chapter Head, Archana Kapoor

 In my 17 years of affiliation with IAWRT, I had never expected to end up standing for elections. Being elected Managing Trustee was not something I had envisaged for myself. So when eventually that moment came, and I was elected Managing Trustee, IAWRT India Chapter, I must confess that I had no inkling of my responsibilities. The truth began to sink in gradually. There were new names on the Board. Very few of us had worked together, and the annual IAWRT Asian Film Festival was just a few weeks away. IAWRT Asian Film Festival, as we all know, is the most important activity undertaken by the IAWRT India Chapter. I had attended quite a few but had little idea of the sheer amount of work it involved. Thankfully, though, we had a great festival team already in place – Uma Tanuku, as festival director and Aaradhana Kohli as Co-director; Smriti Nevatia, (having experience of curating 5 film festivals), Anupama Chandra and Priyanka Chabra as curators; and Samina Misra and Iram Ghufran (also now Treasurer) as Soundphiles curators. Volume 5, Issue 1 19 We took over in January 2016 and soon began a series of meetings to actualise the takeover process. 

The earlier office bearers, Reena Mohan, Anupama Srinivasan and Uma Tanuku (who was then Treasurer), patiently shared all the information at their disposal. Their constant support and guidance helped us (the new board) gain in confidence and plant our feet on the ground. The festival team was already at work. We began to post on the India chapter blog the list of selected films for the festival. And as we went public, we faced a serious reservation by Palestinians. The Asian Film Festival always has a focus country and screens a special package of films from that particular country. This year’s focus country was Palestine. Believing that the spirit of creativity transcends boundaries and politics, the curators had selected a few films from Israel, too, only to learn that this was a blunder! Our festival director received a mail from Palestine saying that the filmmakers would not participate if Israel were participating, as they could not dream of sharing a platform/space with the enemy country. They were right, in their way. We had reached the end of January and did not have much time left.

 I work in conflict zones and try to create platforms for dialogue and negotiation. I have always been of the view that women should be on the table to discuss peace. We started negotiations with the Palestinians, respecting their fears, politics and concerns. But we also believed in the festival, which celebrated diversity and differences without animosity. We believed that, as women filmmakers and radio producers, we had to stand up for the larger cause of women and their creativity. Our belief was respected when a consensus emerged from the negotiations: the festival would go on as planned, with a slight modification - we would have two venues. So simple! 

Once this was resolved, we needed funds to fly down the Palestinian filmmakers. We approached the UNESCO India office, and Mr Al Amin, the Communications Advisor, was more than forthcoming. He spoke with his colleagues in Ramallah and promptly the approval was granted. UNESCO Ramallah sponsored the travel and stay of two young filmmakers from Palestine, and UNESCO India supported a seminar on Conflict, Gender, and Media. Nupur Basu and I curated this seminar. The Director of UNESCO, India, invited the Palestinians to his office for a meeting. The Palestinian Ambassador to India, despite the visit of a high-level delegation, met and interacted with the filmmakers. I was fortunate to have raised funds to ensure that the festival team did not face any crunch. I was able to get support from Prasar Bharti, the autonomous body that governs the national broadcasting agency, Punjab National Bank,a public sector bank, UNESCO and of course from the old partners - Sangat, Goethe Institute, and India International Center. We also got support for travel of the Korean filmmakers from the Korean Cultural Center.

 I am happy to say that the festival was, of course, a huge success! We screened a total of 46 short and long films, 35 in the general category and 11 in the Voices from Palestine package. We had 25 filmmakers from across Asia staying at the India International Center, the venue of the festival. True to its voluntary spirit the IAWRT members doubled up as moderators, facilitators, audience, technical experts, and organisers. Two of our members, Radha Mishra (now Secretary) from Pune and Mausumi Bhattacharya (a board member) from Santiniketan, got their students to volunteer. 

We organised another seminar on Documenting Feminism in Films in the 80s and 90s. This seminar was initiated and curated by Shikha Jhingan and Uma Chakravarti, members of IAWRT, India chapter. On the last day, when around 100 people, friends of IAWRT, filmmakers, sponsors and members came together to celebrate the success and the closing of the festival, the Gods decided to play spoilsport. It started pouring! So all arrangements that had been Volume 5, Issue 1 20 made in the beautiful lawns went for a toss, and the venue was shifted to a verandah. But the spirit of the IAWRT team is hard to dampen, so the party carried on and nearly all the invitees showed up. From organising inexpensive meals for the audience, to informing students, universities and film enthusiasts, to fundraising, hosting a closing dinner, screening 46 films, organising to pick up and drop 25 filmmakers, hosting two discussions, handling the press, and keeping an audience of over 200 daily for three days, was not an easy job. 

Thanks to the diligence of the IAWRT members, the Board, the endlessly supportive, outgoing Board, the marvelous festival team and an energetic Festival Director, the 12th IAWRT Asian Film Festival was yet another successful event! But we cannot rest on our laurels, can we? This is just the first of many events. This Board’s vision is to increase our activities, to host more small festivals, to help this festival travel all over the country and to other festivals, and to participate in national and international events that share common concerns. Our aim is to keep the flag flying and the spirits of the IAWRT members soaring!
                                                                                                      ( Printed in the IAWRT newsletter)

IAWRT Newsletter

IAWRT Newsletter produced by the new board, elected at the New Delhi Biennial Conference, September 2015


 Paromita Vohra believes that all art follows a process of mixing and remixing data which is sensory, emotional and material to create new narratives, forms and aesthetic experience translates effortlessly into the digital space as well.

Paromita conceptualized Agents of Ishq as part of her interest in honest, open ended conversations about desire, freedom, gender, equality and choice as well as new media. She set up the riveting website,  a multi-media, digital project about love, sex and desire, housed on the internet. And if you haven’t seen it yet, you really truly must to understand how she plays with the digital space

Saturday, July 9, 2016


The India chapter wishes Akhila a very Happy Birthday!
Join her family in the celebration and do watch this film on her life and achievements.


Mausumi delivered a  'Public Talk' on 'Mobile Phone: A new tool to empower rural women in India' on Friday, 10 June 2016 in Colombo at the Auditorium, Department of Information, Ministry of Parliamentary Reforms and Mass Media, Sri Lanka. The talk was based on her post doctoral research supported by the IAWRT-FOKUS, Norway. The session was well attended by ministry officials, Sri Lankan journalists, Mass Communication researchers, students and others. Mr Nalaka Gunawardene, an independent journalist, on behalf of the Department of Government Information, Sri Lanka presided over the session. 

The talk was followed by a lively interactive session, where the audience was keen to ask questions and engage with Mausumi. They also shared their views which helped Mausumi understand the Sri Lankan perspective on the subject. She hopes to use this data to further her research across South Asia.


Akila Sivaraman was among the few women in her time with a  career in media. Her contribution to broadcasts on education and music is immense. She holds a PhD on Women in Mass Media and lives in Chennai.

Alka Hingorani is a Mumbai based Art Historian and photographer. She teaches story and narrative and ways of seeing the world through expressions in a variety of media including film, sculpture, painting, and writing. She holds a Masters in Design in Photography from UC, Berkeley, and a PhD in History of Art, also from UC, Berkeley. Her book, “Making faces: Self and Image Creation in a Himalayan Valley” was published in 2012.

Aparna Sanyal is a producer, director and communication consultant based in Delhi, and has produced/ directed more than 100 hours of business TV programming, more than 60 hours of television documentaries and more than 15 independent documentary/ short films for Indian and international channels. Aparna was one of the international jurors for the UNICEF Asia Pacific Child Rights Films Award in 2009, 2010 & 2014. She has been the recipient of Film Fellowships from the Public Service Broadcasting trust in 2010, 2011 and 2016. In 2010, she was recognised by the British Council as a 'Young Creative Entrepreneur'. In 2011, she won multiple awards for her film 'A Drop of Sunshine'. In 2012, she was awarded the 'Rajat Kamal' by the President of India at the 59th National Film Awards. In 2015, she was awarded a prestigious Research Grant from the Charles Wallace India Trust for her next film on Vajrayana Buddhism (commissioned by the Films Division of India).

Deepika Sharma is a Delhi based filmmaker and producer. She co-directed her first film with Afrah Shafiq for Yahoo Original titled 'Dream Girls.’ She has also worked as a producer with Delhi based company Filmatters and done projects with the BBC, PBS and Channel 4. She has recently moved to New Delhi and is currently working as a producer on a documentary series for Channel 4 on New Delhi police.

Deepti Khurana is a filmmaker and works at the State University of Performing and Visual Arts, Rohtak, Haryana. She holds a PGD in Film Direction from FTII Pune.

Pallavi Paul is a filmmaker and artist based in Delhi. Her work is deeply engaged in the technologies of poetry and time travel. She works primarily with video and the installation form to propose orders of tensility that inhabit non-fiction material. Using the disruption between ‘reality image’ and ‘documentary’ as a starting point, she attempts to create a laboratory of possibilities which test the contours of fantasy, resistance, politics and history.  Some fellowships that she has received include Charles Wallace and Inlaks Sivdasani Award for Emerging Indian Artist, India Foundation for the Arts fellowship for Arts Practice, Public Service Broadcasting Trust Fellowship for Non-Fiction Film, pad.ma Fellowship for experimental video

Savitri Medhatul
 is a Mumbai based documentary filmmaker and theatre actor-director. She has produced and directed Natale Tumchyasathi (2008) a documentary film about lives of Lavani artist. And All God’s People Said (2015) a film exploring the pentecostal community in Mumbai. She has also collaborated on other international film projects such as Liquid City (2007) about water distribution in Mumbai, Next Year in Bombay film about Bene Israeli community in Mumbai. Savitri directed a theatre production Sangeet Bari in 2015, a contemporary Lavani performance designed in documentary theatre format.  It’s based on the book written by Bhushan Korgaonar with the same name.

Friday, May 6, 2016

IAWRT India Chapter invites applications for the 2nd JAI CHANDIRAM MEMORIAL FELLOWSHIP

IAWRT India Chapter invites applications for the

Jai Chandiram was a distinguished media professional and former deputy Director General of Doordarshan. She was the founding member and Managing Trustee of IAWRT India Chapter and also the first Asian to be the President of IAWRT International. Jai Chandiram Memorial Fellowship has been instituted through a grant by her family, to support media and research projects by members of IAWRT India Chapter. The first Jai Chandiram Memorial Fellowship was awarded to filmmaker Iram Ghufran.

The Fellowship is open for a member of the India chapter of IAWRT who has been a member for a minimum of two years and has paid all her dues till date.

About the Project (500-900 words)
How is the grant going to be used (400-500 words)
A brief bio note and CV (not running to more than 2 pages)

Call for Entries: 30th April 2016
Deadline for Receiving Proposals: 30th June 2016
Selection Announcement: 30th July 2016
Ist installment to be released: 20th August 2016
Report to be received at regular intervals of four months
Final report to be submitted by 30th November  2017

The fellowship may be awarded for research/ study tour/ script development/ dissemination/ or development of a multi-disciplinary performance.

The fellowship will be awarded to one or two candidates selected by a Jury.

The fellowship will be awarded once in two years.

The Jury will comprise three members (all from IAWRT India Chapter, one being a trustee).

The names of the Jury members will be confidential i.e. the names will not be revealed till the fellowship results have been announced.

Jury members cannot submit a proposal.

Proposals will be submitted to the Managing Trustee by e-mail who will forward it to the Jury.

A contract will be signed between IAWRT India and the selected Fellow(s).

A methodology of monitoring will be in place. This may vary depending on the nature of the project.

The methodology will be finalized by the Jury in consultation with the Fellow and the Managing Trustee.

The Fellow must submit a mid term report and a final report. Other deliverables will be finalized by the Jury in consultation with the Fellow and the Managing Trustee.

A member who has been awarded a fellowship once cannot apply for another fellowship for the next two cycles.

Originality of the idea
Plan of Action/ Methodology

Rs. 60,000 (May be awarded to one candidate or shared by two as per the discretion of the Jury)

Proposals should be emailed to info.iawrt@gmail.com