Forest Film Festival : Detailed Schedule

Forest Film Festival
3-7 July; Chennai
Jointly organised by MARUPAKKAM and Panvuval Book Store
Day 01; 3 July
6 pm Only An Axe Away (Dir: P.Baburaj and C. Sarat Chandran; 40 min)
The film narrates the history of a unique campaign to save the Silent Valley from destructive development. The Silent Valley was declared a National Park in 1984.
The Kerala State Electricity Board plans to build a dam on the fringes of the Silent Valley National Park at Pathrakkadavu, across the river Kunthi.
Nature lovers are concerned that the proposed dam will harm the pristine evergreen forests in the valley. This film shares the anxieties of the people of Kerala about the future of the Silent Valley.
6:45 The Bee The Bear The Kuruba (Dir: Vinod Raja; 65 min)



"Our forests are marked by our trees. They stand as signposts, when we find our way through the thick jungle. For us, they are as permanent as the stars in the sky," - Rajappa, a Kuruba in the Nagarahole forest belt.
The Kurubas are the original inhabitants of the forests of Nagarahole and Kakanakote in the Western Ghats. Forcible eviction of the Kurubas started in the early seventies.
They were driven out of their ancestral lands deep inside the forest, and forced to live on the roadside or plantations on the periphery.
Today, they have nowhere to go, and are struggling with a way of life they find difficult to adapt to, as they have become trespassers in their own land.
7:55 A Commons Story (Dir: Ananda Sidhartha, Epti Pattnaik,
Piyus Garud, Pratik Bhakta; 31 min)



Set in Rajasthan, the film explores the issue of the commons in three villages – Achalpur, Thoria and Sanjari Ka Badiya. These villages are among several others which have started the process of regeneration and conservation of common lands in the last 15 years, with support from the Foundation for Ecological Security.
A major threat to commons initiatives comes from mining, quarrying and encroachment. Having successfully overcome various threats to the commons, these villages have now set an example for other villages in the state. These case studies highlight the struggles and benefits that the villages have accrued through conservation and equitable access to the commons. They point the way to how community led initiatives that protect commons can lead to development that emphasizes equity, sustainability, and social and gender justice.
Day 02; 4 July
6 pm Devta Activists (Dir: Sanjay Barnela; 30 min)



Devta Activists explores the traditional institutions of natural resource management through the medium of the Gur or the Oracle, practiced in the Kullu valley of Himachal Pradesh. It shows how jal, jungle, zameen (water, forests, land) have been managed by local village institutions even before the forest department came in with its "fence and protect" model of conservation.
6:35 Taking Roots (Dir: Lisa Merton and Alan Dater; 80 min)



Taking Root tells the story of the Green Belt Movement of Kenya and its founder Wangari Maathai, the first environmentalist and first African won a to win the Nobel Peace Prize.
8:00 Kiska Jungle, Kiska Mangal (Dir: Aditi Saraswat, Akshay Panse, Rameshwar Jirwankar, Sujata Sarkar, Tanvi Khemani; 21 min)



As Mumbai develops towards the suburbs, the forests of Aarey Milk Colony are being encroached upon by government development projects, slum settlements and private real estate projects. The film explores the impact of such development on the lives of the natives of Aarey. While some Adivasi hamlets have to compete for resources with illegal slums that have mushroomed there, others were displaced into an SRA building due to a large-scale real estate project. As the Adivasis of Aarey struggle to maintain their age-old relationship with the forests and lands of Aarey, we ask: Whose forest is it anyway?

Day 03; 5 July
6 pm Short films by Bhavani (12 min)
Bhavani is a painter. She makes short films on nature trying to paint with her camera.
6:15: I Cannot Give You My Forest (Dir: Nandan Saxena, Kavita Bahl; 30 min)


‘I cannot give you my Forest’ is a poetic window into the relationship of the Kondh Adivasis with the Forest. Against the backdrop of the destruction and plunder of community resources by venal Corporations and the Government, the Forest becomes a metaphor for their sovereignty.
The film unfolds at the pace of their lilting melodies and unhurried conversations. The narrative is theirs; the meta-narrative is also theirs. Filmed in the jungles and villages at Niyamgiri, in southern Odisha, the story is a parable of our times – that rings true for all countries that have forests and people.
6:45 Johar (Dir: Nilanjan Bhattacharya; 60 min)


A large section of the poorest of the poor in India are tribal. To them the word `food’ means little other than what you eat to survive. Johar: `Welcome to Our World’ focuses on Jharkhand in eastern India, the home for thirty-two tribal communities.
The film explores the intricate relationship the tribals of Jharkhand have with their forests from where they get a significant portion of their core nutrition and medicinal material. The film also lays how mindless, aggressive development and the government's wrong-headed conservation policies have damaged the tribals’ relationship with their land and pushed them ever deeper into food insecurity.
7:45 The Man Who Dwarfed the Mountains
Dir: Ruchi Shrivastava and Sumit Khanna; 60 min


Seldom do a man's deeds loom so large that they dwarf the very mountains from where they emanate. One such person is Chandi Prasad Bhatt, who has strong claims to being the first modern Indian environmentalist, and arguably also its greatest. Bhatt was one of the pioneers of the Chipko movement, not just a fight for protecting forests and environment, but a struggle for protecting and renewing livelihoods. The Film seeks to decipher the life, the motivation and work of a man who silently changed the paradigm of environment activism in India and has been described by Ramchandra Guha as one of the finest Indians alive today.

Day 04; 6 July
6 pm Under this Sun (Dir: Nilanjan Bhattacharya; 50 min)


India is among the richest countries in terms of biodiversity and its folk knowledge. For various reasons, there has been a rapid loss of biodiversity and in related knowledge.
The documentary, Under This Sun attempts to capture the magnitude of India’s biological wealth as well as the depth of folk knowledge. The film also tries to identify the reasons for their rapid decline.
6:55 Red Data Book (Dir: Sreemith, Dipu; 68 min)


The film is a layered examination of the factors, both contemporary and historical, that have led the Adivasi (tribal) communities of Attappady (Kerala, South India) to the verge of extinction.
The film focuses on the phenomenon of rising infant mortality to probe the entire range of underlying factors.
Is it mainly due to malnutrition, as the State claims? Is it their exclusion from the fruits of so-called development? Is it their refusal to 'modernise'? Or is it our inability to comprehend and preserve their centuries-old harmonious way of life? Have our prescriptive interventions helped? Or have they caused great harm?
The film attempts to understand the gamut of 'alienations' responsible - social, cultural, economic and political while gently posing the core question: Is it they who are alienated from the onward march of progress or is it us who are alienated, blinded by the discourse of modernity?
8:00 Green (Dir: Patrick Rouxel; 48 min)


Her name is Green, she is alone in a world that doesn't belong to her. She is a female orangutan, victim of deforestation and resource exploitation.
This film is an emotional journey with Green's final days. It is a visual ride presenting the treasures of rainforest biodiversity in Indonesia and the devastating impacts of logging and land clearing for the palm oil plantations and the pulp and paper industry.
Day 5, 7 July, Friday
6 pm Love Nature (Dir: Nina Subramani; 13 min)
Interaction with Nina Subramani


This film, located in the villages around Pondicherry and Nadukuppam looks at the importance of coastal ecology like sanddunes and coastal forests.
A school in Nadupakkam has transformed itself from a barren land to a grove of indigenous plants. The students are involved in redirecting the surrounding areas. What do they feel about their surroundings? Their homes along the coast are protected from the sea by sand dunes that are sought after by builders and sand miners.
This film was made as a part of a series of films on community awareness and shows us how children thrive if their environment is safeguarded.
6:25 Honey line of Kurumba (Dir: Gita; 30 min)
Interaction with Gita

The Kurumba, a tribe of the Nilgiris in Tamilnadu were once noted for their painting skills.It is an artistic tradition which dates back to 3000 year old rock art.Yet it is under threat and its future now hangs by a single thread Krishna,one of the few last painters of this tribe, the art handed over by his ancestors.Today he struggles to keep the tribal ritual painting culture alive by teaching his skills to a handful of painters
7:00 Mahua Memoirs (Dir: Vinod Raja Raja; 88 min)


Saloo, the bard, and Thirku, the Baiga, take us on a journey through the lives of the many Adivasi communities who live in the mountain tracts and forests of the Eastern Ghats across the states of Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Chattisgarh and Jharkhand. As in most indigenous homelands the world over, these regions too are rich in natural resources including minerals, resources that have become the source of their greatest insecurities.
Through their stories and songs, interwoven with the metaphor of Bewar, a form of shifting cultivation practiced by many Adivasis, the film unravels and unfolds both their life visions and their struggles against the merciless mining, particularly over the past two decades, that is consuming their lands and their lives.

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