International Festival of Women Filmmakers – Gauhati, Assam

UPDATE: Photos of the event can be viewed here [photos]

Press coverage: [link]

Very pleased that WMF is spreading her wings far and wide. What started as a friendly conversation a few months ago, has materialised into an absolutely beautiful festival of films made by women! So heavily indebted to Gauhati Cine Club for making all the on ground arrangements – all this only on the merit of our conversation and my passion to take WMF to them – I couldn’t be happier. Thank you!

I am ecstatic to share the festival poster with all of you. There are going to 30 films screened in the prestigious Gauhati cine club. It is heartening to see this little pet project of mine growing so rapidly and it only makes me want to keep doing more. Thank you for all the support and good wishes – it is much appreciated!

POSTER

Here are the films and their synopsis:

No.   Name of film Duration    Filmmaker Synopsis  Country
1 Borders 6 Elizabeth Mizon In the 1970s women from the Indian subcontinent who migrated to the UK to join their spouses, were routinely subjected to virginity testing examinations. Initially, the Home Office denied this ever took place, but eventually admitted that this practice had been carried out on a ‘small number of women’ to verify if they were ‘a bonafide, virgin or fiance’ to confirm their immigration status. The exact number of women who were subjected to this procedure is unknown, however, it is estimated that over 80 women had experienced this invasive examination.

 

    UK
2 taram tarambola 30 María Castillejo Carmen Taram Tarambola is the story of disappointment and of hope. It’s a song that comforts, it’s a bereavement, a hidden pain, it’s the story of “if we believe in it with all our might… it works.”

 

 Belgium
3 different strokes 8 Nivedita Majumdar The boys have no proper football kit. The Captain is in shabby yellow spikes and jersey. Team members possessed all kinds of yellow coloured garments. But one boy could not enter the team because he didn’t have any yellow garment. He bumps in to a man who had a yellow shirt on. He picks it up and runs as fast as he could. The man chases him too. Finally, at the football ground, things take a funny turn.

 

 India
4 pava 10 Vaishnavi Sundar A metamorphosis of relationship between a young girl and a barber. It is a journey that reaches its pinnacle through a myriad set of emotions. Appealing to the sensibilities and memories of growing up, we see how certain moments mark the crescendo of a relationship – not as an end, but as a portrait that will remain etched in the memory.

 

  India
5 podhum ponnu 14 Juhi Sharma: cinematographer Podhum Ponnu, revolves around a girl of 13 who’s only dream is to become an athlete. Unstoppable among her peers, she’s sure to be the next big athlete from her town. But her family’s desperate want for a boy child, pushes her destiny in a different direction.

 

  India
6 in between 13 Kanchalee Wijakpaisarn A teenaged girl learns to live an afterlife with help from a young boy ghost. Together, they confront their past and consider their futures.

 

  USA
7 lonely sound 4 Sandhya Prabhat: animator A music video depicting the life of two people in love

 

  India
8 ‘the tiger wont come today 17 Suruchi Sharma Oorja is a nine year old girl who has caught on the habit of lying. She comes up with ever new interesting excuses on coming late to school. One day she is stuck with her next idea and is suffering from a mental block. On the other hand, a copywriter in his thirties is stuck on an idea for a plastic bottle, for which he has to create a TVC. He is proud to be the creative guy that he is but is still baffled by the thought of not being able to crack an idea for this product. Both the characters eventually help each other reach their solutions but how?

 

  India
9 (I am) Unhappy 5 María Castillejo Carmen The film opens with a recording of a Russian cosmonaut who will die in seconds. The tone is set . More cosmonaut can not speak in this film, but the anxiety is that of the little girl who asks about his situation, trying to make sense of her misfortune , by association of ideas … little girls ideas.

 

  Belgium
10 unfit 5 Srishti Jain Arun Kumar Dubey from Faizabad is one amongst the millions who come to Mumbai everyday with a billion dreams in their eyes. But does the journey from the lazy life of the hinterlands to the glitzy life of the city prove worthwhile? Or does he just remain, an Unfit?

 

  India
11 mimos 5 Srishti Jain Tarak Dutta, or Tarak Da as he is fondly called, is a mime artist. He is one of the most prolific exponents of his art in this country who performed in the 70s and 80s in Calcutta, Raipur and Cuttak with masters of theatre like Habib Tanvir. He arrived in Mumbai with big dreams, only to find that the city of dreams is disillusioned with his art form. He realized that Mime is not recognized, not talked about, not dreamt for, and certainly not a means to earn his daily bread in this city of opportunities. Consequently, he worked in tea stalls, earned a few pennies doing construction labor, slept on roads, struggled barefoot; as the artist in him fell apart each day, like plaster wears off an old, unkempt house. Today, he lives with his wife in a small 50 square feet apartment in Malvani. A paralytic attack in 2014 has compromised his movements, but he still dreams of the stage, for that is where he belongs.

 

  India
12 the wall 17 Andra Tévy One winter evening, on a snowy weather, a woman is going to her job. The surroundings are hostile, the labour, backbreaking. And a window doesn’t close anymore, it snows inside the work space. The place of chore becomes a land of adventures…

 

  France
13 jacob’s pond 12 Sasha John Jacob’s Pond is a film about loneliness in the big city and finding an unlikely friend within its people. The story is about 61 year old Jacob and 12 year old Iqbal, both whom despite having very dissimilar backgrounds have one very strong commonality, they are both alone.

 

  India
14 keli 7 Ranjitha Rajeevan Ponnu, is fascinated by the tale of Pottan Theyyam, an ancient rebel who stood for equality. She dreams to be like him, dance like him. But she is too young to realize how difficult it is for `her’ to be like `him’.

 

  India
15 the catalyst 27 Vaishnavi Sundar ‘The Catalyst’ is a story traversing moral dilemmas that create an incongruence between good and bad. It is inspired by a short story written by Kartar Singh Duggal, which was set in pre independent India. Though cinema has showcased films with the undercurrent of moral dilemma time and again, it is fascinating how the topic is still just as relevant today, as it was in the pre independence era. This film tackles the perennial and perturbing financial inadequacy that blights the people at the bottom of the pyramid. A man’s attempt to find a bit of black or white in this interminably greying society! In short, this is a tale that concerns all of us – it just depends which side we see it from.

 

  India
SHORT DOCUMENTARIES
16 the Bhils 12 Ajita Banerjie A documentary shot on the Bhil community in a village called Dhodhiya, in Rajasthan. The movie brings out common place practices of the people and provide a glimpse into the beautiful Dhodhiya gaon.

 

  India
17 mariyamma 3 Tejasvi Dantuluri Mariyamma, has been working for the last four years in University of Hyderabad’s students’ canteen. With a gentle smile on her face, she masks her hardships and fights against the odds to earn a livelihood by cleaning waste. She is one among many other passive personalities in the University who strive to make the campus a better place.

 

  India
18 radio woman of patara 3 Tejasvi Dantuluri Ramvati, a tribal woman in Madhya Pradesh, made community radio a tool of empowerment.

 

  India
19 i am yet to see delhi 19 Humaira Bilkis Maine Dilli Nahin Dekha is a journey of exploration a new city. The filmmaker discovers the soul of the city not in its museums, mausoleums and architecture but in her relationship with its people. The process of looking at the new urban space offers the filmmaker a chance to relook at her own space, identity and cultural moorings.

 

      Bangladesh
20 unearthing the treasures of ariyalur 26 Vaishnavi Sundar How would one travel time, traverse a chasm spanning millions of years to stare into the past? In the little town of Ariyalur, you can do the impossible. Standing in the midst of a mass grave of prehistoric ocean life, one gets a glimpse of mother earth in her Cretaceous prime and comes face to face with a physical incarnation of time and life of the planet.

 

  India
21 koi dekhna wala hai 19 Shilpi Saluja This film explores the sense of touch and music in the lives of children in a residential school, looking at the way they connect to each other and the world around them. It invites us to listen to the gentle rhythms of their everyday life.

 

   India
22 goonj 18 Madhuri Ravishankar ‘Goonj’ (Echo) is an intimate portrait that follows the life of Zuvaria, a 5 year old, as she attempts to understand the world that unfolds around her. Zuvaria is the only person in her family who is hearing impaired. The film journeys through her daily routines, making an attempt to catch a glimpse of how she understands what being deaf means and how she responds to it.

 

   India
23 madhuri usha 17 Suruchi Sharma The film looks into the life of Usha Malji, a yesteryear freedom fighter, theatre artist, social worker, and a current day writer who is brimming with energy to create and share her experiences even at the age of 92, yet is confined within the four walls of her decrepit abode.

 

   India
24 My sacred glass bowl 27 Priya Thuvassery The very first is often considered larger than life on many fronts; and so is a woman’s sexual experience. ‘My Sacred Glass Bowl’ looks at the concept of virginity as it is perceived by contrasting communities, from the vantage point of a filmmaker, sandwiched between two mothers bringing up their daughters in contemporary times.

 

  India
LONG DOCUMENTARIES
25 world before her 152 Nisha Pahuja The World Before Her is a Canadian documentary film, released in 2012. Written and directed by Nisha Pahuja, the film explores the complex and conflicting environment for young girls in India by profiling two young women participating in two very different types of training camp — Ruhi Singh , who aspires to become Miss India, and Prachi Trivedi, a Hindu nationalist with the Durga Vahini.

 

  India
26 unclaimed 62 Debalina In a remote village in India,two girls Swapna and Sucheta loved each other so much that they had to kill themselves, the village hated them so much that they had to be burnt as unclaimed bodies.

 

  India
27 play no matter what 54 Kim van Haaster Rachitoasa is the hilly hometown of Alexandra and Noni, two Romanian teenagers at the age of fourteen. There is not much else to do in Rachitoasa but to go school, work the land, help out in the household, or hang out on the streets. But one glorious day a bunch of funny looking, foreign people come to live in their village and stay a while. They turn the abandoned, and rundown school building down the road into a colorful place for them to play! Ash and Jolien and the two teenagers become friends and hand-in-hand they play and figure out what they are good at and what is valuable in life. And because play transcends language- and cultural barriers it is universal, and it turns out to be the ultimate learning tool, and the perfect escape from the reality of everyday life in Romania. The documentary “Play no matter what!” shows the joy and happiness of life, how something is made out of nothing, and how great things can be done in a very simple way.

 

  Romania
28 my baby not mine 53 Rakhee Sandilya Is being a surrogate mother a scientific miracle or emotional wreckage. Is renting womb as simple as renting car?

 

  India
29 Fragments from the past 55 Uma Chakravarti The Film locates the life and work of a woman political activist in her everyday existence, the relationships she lives out at home and in her work and the political affiliations she tries to hold together, even as they are subjected to multiple stresses. Through her journey of recovering her grandmother’s history for a different generation of women, in a poignant reminder of the ephemeral nature of memory, and the loss of remembrance itself, she cannot often recall the very event that led to her own political transformation, even as it is etched in the memories of so many others who outlived the tragedy of that event, or heard about it then, and over the many decades thereafter.

 

  India
30 Morality, TV and Jehad 30 Paromita Vohra The Film looks outside the frames that weave the frenetic tapestry of Breaking News on India’s news channels, to uncover a town’s complex dynamics – the fear of love, the constant scrutiny and control of women’s mobility and sexuality, a history of communal violence, caste brutalisation and feudal mindsets.    India