To mark the 10th anniversary of the Chapter, IAWRT India has decided to institute an award at the International Documentary and Short Film Festival of Kerala.
The award shall be called the IAWRT Award of Excellence and should be given to the most gender sensitive film (either short fiction or documentary) that fulfills the following criteria: 1. A strong statement of gender sensitivity—It should be a film that goes beyond just being about women or a ‘women’s’ issue, but addresses the very heart of ideas around gender to provide a fresh, sensitive and feminist understanding of gender, politics, sexuality, society, culture, history, relationships and emotions. 2. A strong creative voice—The form of the film should in itself assert an artistic character, show creative experimentation, openness, zest and energy, a personal style or idiomatic innovations. It should preferably avoid predictable use of character-driven formats currently favoured or clichéd narratives of victims and heroes and polarities which don’t allow for complexity. The award could go to a person of any gender. It will carry a cash prize of Rs.20,000 and a certificate. Anupama Srinivasan, Secretary of the India Chapter, will be attending the festival to present a package of films from the IAWRT Asian Women's Film Festival at IDSFFK. She will present the award at the closing day function.
The first Jai Chandiram Memorial Fellowship has been unanimously awarded to Iram Ghufran for a pre-production grant for research and script development for a documentary filmMAD IS A DIFFERENT DIRECTION. About the Project Conservative estimates say that there are over 100,000 mentally ill people in Kashmir, whereas the numbers of mental health care professionals is abysmally low. Iram's project seeks to explore the impact of violence on mental health of people in the Valley, and create an understanding of the socio-cultural life of madness. The word 'mad' here, has been used in a loose sense for many kinds of socially 'deviant' behaviors and patterns, everything that falls outside the socially construed 'normal'. What does it mean to not fit the parameters of ‘normal’? What kind of pathologies does violence produce? And how important is it to achieve ‘normalcy’? The research will involve working with psychiatric clinics, as well as alternative contexts of healing.
Iram Ghufran is a filmmaker based in New Delhi. Her work has been shown in several international art and cinematic contexts including the Berlin Film Festival, Experimenta India, World Social Forum and ISEA among others. She has won several awards for her work, including the National Award for ‘Best Direction’ and ‘Best Editing’.
Note from the Jury The jury members (Padmaja Shaw, Radhika Khanna, Iffat Fatima) found ''all the proposals very well thought out, creative and presented well. Since all of them are filmmakers of some standing, they have asked for the fellowship support for a part of the larger project that they are already working on. The jury members evaluated the proposals independently and shared the marks with each other, followed by a Skype chat to finalize the award. The jury was unanimous in rating Iram Ghufran’s proposal, Mad is a Different Direction, as the top contender.'' The cheque for the first installment of the fellowship will be handed over to Iram by Jai's brother, Suresh Chandiram, at a simple ceremony at the India International Centre, Delhi.
It is our privilege and pleasure to introduce two ''new'' members to our Chapter. They've been associated with the IAWRT Asian Women's Film Festival for many years and have contributed immeasurably to its success.
We look forward to their continuing active participation in the Chapter.
UMA CHAKRAVARTI Feminist historian who has taught at Miranda House for four decades. She has written extensively on issues of caste, labour and gender and is active in the democratic rights and women’s movements. Among her publications are 'Gendering Caste: Through a Feminist Lens; Everyday Lives, Everyday Histories; Social Dimensions of Early Buddhism and Rewriting History: The Life and Times of Pandita Ramabai. She has directed two documentaries A Quiet Little Entry (2010) and Fragments of a Past (2012). ANUPAMA CHANDRA Film editor, specializing in film editing from the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune, India  and degrees in English Language and Literature from the University of Oxford, UK  and St. Stephen’s College, Delhi . Over the last 14 years she has worked as an editor on several documentary films, and has also edited the Encyclopedia of Hindi Cinema for the Encyclopedia Britannica. Her most recent work is about the life and work of Mythily Sivaraman Fragments of a Past (2012) with director and historian Uma Chakravarti; and White Robes, Saffron Dreams (2013) on women in Theravada Buddhism with director Teena Gill. She also reviews for the books page in The Asian Age.
This is to welcome 3 new members to the India Chapter: ANJALI MONTEIRO Professor & Dean, School of Media and Cultural Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), she is involved in documentary production, media teaching and research. Jointly with her husband, Prof. KP Jayasankar, she has won thirty-two national and international awards for their documentary films.
She has been visiting faculty to several leading media and design institutions in India and abroad, a consultant to UNDP and is also associated with various media and voluntary organisations. She is also active in campaigns against censorship and for freedom of expression. SUJATA KULSHRESHTHA Founder-director of Wide Angle Films, a well-known production house based in Noida. Armed with a 5-1/2 year course in Visual Communication from the National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad, she has been producing and directing films for the biggest and best advertising agencies and channels in the country and abroad for the last 25 years. She has worked for broadcasters like Discovery Networks, History TV18, NDTV and TV Today Networks and has won five international awards for documentaries done by her production house. One of Sujata’s major clients is the Discovery Networks for whom she has been working for the last eight years. Her company creates promos, vignettes and long format AV’s for them on a regular basis, across their bouquet of channels.
PRUTHA SONAM Presently freelancing as a writer and filmmaker after assisting in direction on various feature films and documentary film projects. She represented Maharashtra in a web advocacy program called Wave India. The videos made can be found on www.waveindia.org.
She rrecently co-authored a biographical work about Dr. SK Hulbe, the founder of the National Services Scheme in India. The book is called Life By Chance.
We look forward to forward to their contributions as active members of the India Chapter
8 applications for the Jai Chandiram Memorial Fellowship have been received from the following members: • Chandita Mukherjee • Debjani Bandyopadhyay • Geeta Sahai • Iram Ghufran • Leena Manimekalai • Mausumi Bhattacharya • Priyanka Chhabra • Vani Subramanian The results will be announced on 30 June 2014.
The IAWRT Seminar Hum Gunahgaar Auratein / We Sinful Women will be heldon 8th March, 2014 at Max Mueller Bhavan, New Delhi. A part of the 10th IAWRT Asian Women’s Film Festival, the day-long seminar celebrates art and resistance by women in South Asia.
The event is organised around a single question: how do women artists and activists in South Asia strategise and survive in repressive environments living as they do in a world of suicide bombing, drone attacks, and ruthless militarism in different names and guises. What is the power of art and social activism, if it can be swept away by guns, bombs, violence and bigotry?
Conceived of and coordinated by Dr. Uma Chakravarti and Anupama Chandra