Saturday, August 19, 2017

Social Justice Film Festival 2017

Social Justice Film Festival 2017
Jointly organised by MARUPAKKAM and Goethe Institute, Chennai

Curated by Amudhan R.P.

14-16 September; 10 am to 8 pm @ Goethe Institute, Chennai
Film screenings, music, songs, dance, poetry reading, photo exhibition and panel discussion

Day 1, 14 September, Thursday

10 am Inauguration
Songs by Dalit Subbiah and team
Inaugural address: Pralayan, playwright/director
Key note address: Dr.Swarnavel, Michigan State University
Felicitation by  Kiruba Munusamy, activist

Screening Schedule

11 am Sikkidre Shikari, Illdidre Bhikari (Bird Trapper or Beggar!)
Dir: Vinod Raja; 79 min; Kannada and Vaagri Boli with English Subtitles



The Hakki Pikkis are a free spirited nomadic tribe who began their wandering many generations ago in the North Western part of the Indian subcontinent. Over time they travelled through and settled in different states of the country. As they moved, they survived through trapping birds and hunting small game in the forests and selling them in cities and towns along with lucky charms and trinkets. If the trap failed, begging was the next best bet! Exiled from the forest, reviled by the city, their traditional ways of life outlawed the Hakki Pikkis share their stories of wit and survival in the film that emerged through a series of community conversations held when we travelled with friends from a settlement in Bannerghatta, Bangalore to other settlements across Karnataka.

12:20 Interaction with 
MD Muthukumaraswamy, folklorist
Vinod Raja, filmmaker
Madhu Bhusan, co-producer / activist
Kumudha Susheel, member of Hakki Pikki Community

12:50 Inauguration of Exhibition

1:00   Lunch break

2:00 Nuclear Hallucinations
Dir: N.Fatima; 54 min; Tamil with English subtitles



Nuclear hallucinations is a film, which claims to be a documentary, and it is centred the anti-nuclear struggle against the kudankulam atomic power project in south India.

2:55 Interaction with Amirtharaj Stephen, photographer / activist

3:25 18 Feet
Dir: Renjit Chellur; 77 min; Malayalam with English subtitles



Karinthalakoottam is an indigenous band that propagates the music of soul to connect people with a sense of historic resolution. 18 feet symbolizes the holy distance dalits, the downtrodden, were to ensure for the sanctity of upper castes. P R Remesh, a city public-bus conductor, is the man behind the exuberant squad that drums empathy for all in denial of historic untouchability attached to the disused community. The troop is the vanguard in redefining the identity of people who are battered by senseless incorrectness through centuries. The downtown Kerala band rekindles the sense of sanity for all with a massage of love and harmony.

4:45 Interaction with Prince Ennares Periyar, filmmaker

5:15 Invoking Justice
Dir: Deepa Dhanraj; 86 min; Tamil with English subtitles



In Southern India, family disputes are settled by Jamaats—all male bodies which apply Islamic Sharia law to cases without allowing women to be present, even to defend themselves. Recognizing this fundamental inequity, a group of women in 2004 established a women’s Jamaat, which soon became a network of 12,000 members spread over 12 districts. Despite enormous resistance, they have been able to settle more than 8,000 cases to date, ranging from divorce to wife beating to brutal murders and more.

Award-winning filmmaker Deepa Dhanraj (SOMETHING LIKE A WAR) follows several cases, shining a light on how the women’s Jamaat has acquired power through both communal education and the leaders’ persistent, tenacious and compassionate investigation of the crimes. In astonishing scenes we watch the Jamaat meetings, where women often shout over each other about the most difficult facets of their personal lives. Above all, the women’s Jamaat exists to hold their male counterparts and local police to account, and to reform a profoundly corrupt system which allows men to take refuge in the most extreme interpretation of the Qur’an to justify violence towards women.

6:45 Interaction with Sherifa, activist, Sudha Ramalingam, advocate

7:15 Paraiyattam by Buddhar Kazhai Kuzhu

Day 2,15 September; Friday
10 am Yaadhum
Dir: Kombai Anwar; 56 min; Tamil with English subtitles



The film ‘Yaadhum’ (All) is a celebration of diversity within the Tamil, Indian and Islamic world. It throws the spotlight on the less spoken Tamil Muslim community, its history and identity, and how Islam took early roots in the Tamil country, even as it was spreading across the Arabian Peninsula and beyond.
The story is told through Kombai S. Anwar’s perspective, himself being a Tamil Muslim. It covers archaeological excavations, inscriptions, old mosques built in the architectural traditions of Tamil Nadu & Kerala, other existing traditions, Sufism, literature and interviews with well-known historians. The film showcases more than a millennium old harmonious co-existence of Islam in Tamizhagam.

11:00 Interaction with Kombai Anwar

11:30: Nicobar, a long way
Dir: Richa Hushing; 65 min; Nicobarese, Hindi and English



Deep in the Bay of Bengal, the Nicobar archipelago, a tribal reserve protected under Andaman and Nicobar Protection of Aboriginal Tribes Regulation, was worst hit by the Tsunami of 26th December 2004. Self-subsistent and relatively isolated, post Tsunami the aboriginal world was suddenly invaded by unprecedented aid, developmental initiatives and mainstream integration. The film observes Nicobarese identity and cultural resilience.

12:35: Interaction Vinod Kaligai, activist, Sajit Attapuram, activist

1:00 Lunch break

2:00 The Hunt  - Dir: Biju Toppu; 40 min; Chhattisgarhi, Hindi, English



The Film explores the condition of human rights in the Naxal affected areas of Jharkhand, Chattisgarh and Orissa. These areas are rich in mineral resources as well as tribal population where Central and the State Governments have already signed MoUs with various national and multinational companies. The Film questions the thoughtless rapid development model of the Government where lives of millions of people in these areas are severely affected. 

2:40 Interaction with Prof A Marx

3:10 I am Bonnie
Dir: Farha Katun,Satarupa Santra, Saurabh Kanti Dutta; 45 min



Bonnie (33) is again on the run. He has been on the run from his family and sports fraternity since failing 'sex test' before the Bangkok Asian Games, 1998.
A born intersex, raised by poor, illiterate and confused parents as a girl named 'Bandana', s/he became one of the finest strikers of Indian Woman's football team in her/his short career.
A Sex Reassignment surgery later transformed her/him to a man but left him without home or career. He left home, took up idol-making for a living. He met Swati (F24) then; they fell in love and married soon but had to move once again fearing social backlash.
His fight to establish his identity, struggle for existence is met by a sarcastic society which is yet to learn to take 'other genders' seriously.

Interaction with Living Smile Vidhya, theatre practitioner

4:20 Seruppu (Footwear)
Dir: Amudhan R.P.; 64 min; Tamil with English subtitles



In an old slum Dharmananthapuram, in the heart of Turuchirappalli in Tamil Nadu, live the Catholic Arundhatiyars, a community that makes footwear, a traditionally Dalit occupation. But according to the Presidential Order 1950: Para 3, by the Union Government of India, "No person who professes a religion different from Hindu, shall be deemed to be a member of a Scheduled Caste." So even as Dalits who have converted to Islam or Christianity, they continue to live under the historical oppressions of caste - they are denied access to reservations in jobs, education and other mechanisms of affirmative action designated for Scheduled Castes as per the Indian Constitution. With growing mechanisation in footwear manufacturing in an era of globalisation, Arundhatiyars lead a life of growing difficulty and invisibility.

5:20 Interaction with Fr.Kumar, activist,  Vijay Anand, journalist, Maga Tamizh Prabakaran, filmmaker

6:00 Social Justice and Films – special talk by Dr. Binitha Thampi, IIT Madras
6:30 Poetry reading – moderated by Sa Vijayalakshmi
7:30 Man Puzhu Manithargal - designed and directed by Bagu and Arunmozhi; written by Konangi

Day 3: 16 September; Saturday

10 am Accsex
Dir: Shweta Ghosh; 52 min; Hindi and English



Within stifling dichotomies of normal and abnormal, lie millions of women, negotiating with their identities, Accsex explores notions of beauty, the 'ideal body' and sexuality through four storytellers;

four women who happen to be persons with disability. Through the lives of Natasha, Sonali, Kanti and Abha, this film brings to fore questions of acceptance, confidence and resistance to the normative. As it turns out, these questions are not too removed from everyday realities of several others, deemed 'imperfect' and 'monstrous' for not fitting in. Accsex traces the journey of the storytellers as they reclaim agency and the right to unapologetic confidence, sexual expression and happiness.

11:00 Interaction with Aiswarya Rao, activist

11:20 Our Family
Dir: Anjali Monteiro and KP Jayasankar; 56 min; Tamil with English subtitles



What does it mean to cross that line which sharply divides us on the basis of gender? To free oneself of the socially constructed onus of being male? Is there life beyond a hetero-normative family? Set in Tamilnadu, India, ‘Our Family’ brings together excerpts from Nirvanam, a one person performance, by Pritham K. Chakravarthy and a family of three generations of trans-gendered female subjects.

12:20 Interaction with Ranjani Murthy, researcher / activist

12:45 Short films by Jeyachandra Hashmi

To Let (2:40 min): To-Let is a short film on house hunting which shows plight of people from different sorts of life, through which a long standing discrimination is explained.

Kalavu (1:47 min): A boy is accused by his friends for an act of theft. He denies it and ask the other two boys to come with him to the ground to prove his innocence. Parallely, a father brings his
daughter to a photo studio. The two parallel stories connect at one point revealing the shocking
social scenario. The connection between them forms the crux and climax of the film.

12:50 Interaction with Hashmi

1:00 Lunch break

2:00 Death of a River
Dir: RR Srinivasan; 60 min; Tamil with English subtitles



Death of a River is a documentary about the Manjolai massacre, which took place when Tamil Nadu police attacked a procession of striking tea estate workers, their families and supporters on July 23. The demonstrating workers were demanding that they be paid the half-day wages illegally deducted from their pay packets since February and the release of 652 fellow workers previously arrested by police. Seventeen people, including two women and a two-year-old boy, were killed and 500 injured in the police attack.

The documentary exposes the provocative nature of the police attack, which involved the Rapid Action Force, a special police unit, and shows police throwing bricks and stones at the demonstrators. It also includes footage of police firing tear gas, rubber bullets and rifles at the terror-stricken and unarmed men, women and children. The demonstrators were subjected to a baton-charge and forced into the river; a waiting column of police beat those able to make their way to the other side of the river.

3:00 Interaction with RR Srinivasan, filmmaker and Yazhan Aathi, poet

3:20 Kakkoos
Dir: Divya Bharathi; 108 min; Tamil with English subtitles



The documentary, shot in 25 districts for over a year, conveys the message that even though manual scavenging was banned in India in 2013 it continues to exist and conservancy workers are involved in removing human waste. The film is dedicated to those who maintain a “false silence on manual scavenging”.

5:10 Interaction with  Suseela Anand, activist

5:30 The Unbearable Being of Lightness
Dir: Ramachandra PN; 45 min; English
A documentary film on a suicide note, a few gazes and a shopping complex.



Interaction with Amshan Kumar, filmmaker

6:30 Closing Ceremony

Special lecture by Venkatesh Chakravarthy, Dean - Media Studies, SRM University

Celebrating Poramboke – music, films and talk
With Nityanand Jeyaraman, activist/researcher


             


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