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Tribute to Gauri Lankesh

26 October 2017 ;
Venue: SIEDS, No.33/1-9, IVth Cross, Thyagaraju Layout, Jaibharath Nagar, M.S. Nagar P.O Bangalore -560033. Land Mark: Bharath petrol pump, Jaibharath Nagar
Gauri Lankesh Social Justice Film Festival

Day 1, 26 October Thursday

10 am Inauguration

11:00 am Our Gauri (opening film)

Dir: Deepu; 67 min; English (subtitles); 2017

  Gauri Lankesh was one of the Karnataka’s most prominent and fearless journalists. She was shot dead outside her house in Bengaluru on the night of 5th September 2017. Gauri spoke out against communal forces in the country and represented dissent and freedom of speech.

The film is more than a personal tribute and follows her political journey, envisaging what she stood for and her struggle for communal harmony until her last breath. And her life story has become the history of Karnataka’s fight against right-wing communal forces.

12:20 Interaction

1:00   Lunch break

2:00 Introduction to the film

2:15 Beerappa’s Angst

Produced by: Amrit Mahal Kaval Hitarakshana Horata Samithi with inputs from Leo F. Saldanha and Bhargavi S. Rao, 39min; English

Beerappa’s Angst depicts the struggle of the people of Amrit Mahal to keep 10, 000 acres of pastoral land for grazing their live stocks. The Governments of Karnataka and India secretively diverted about 10,000 acres of pristine grassland ecosystems in Challakere Taluk, Chitradurga district during 2007-13 for a massive military-industrial-nuclear complex. Local communities were rudely awakened to the diversion when they saw massive double containment high security walls came up all over the grasslands, thus completely blocking their access to their ancient grazing pastures. These grasslands have been protected and conserved by local communities for hundreds of years as grazing pastures for an indigenous breed of cattle called Amrit Mahal; thus the name Amrit Mahal Kavals (Kaval=grazing pasture). Beerappa is considered the God of the Kavals and is revered everywhere as the protector of pastoralists.

3:00 Interaction

3:15 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.

4:15 Interaction

4:30 18 Feet

Dir: Renjit Kuzhur; 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.

6:00 Interaction

6:15 Guest lecture, poetry and songs

Day 227 October; Friday

10 am Our Metropolis

Dir: Gautam Sonti & Usha Rao; 87 min; Documentary; Kannada, Hindi, English; 2014

Bangalore is being refashioned as a ‘world-class’ metropolis. Livelihoods and homes make way for flyovers, glitzy malls and a shiny Metro. Threatened with violent transformation of their city, residents confront the authorities. Beneath the State’s ideal of a ‘global city’ lurks the intent to clear a pasture for big business.

11:30   Interaction

12:00   Framing Democracy 32’

Encountering Injustice: The Case of Meena Khalko

Dir: Maheen Mirza; 14 min; Chattishgarhi, Hindi with English subtitles 

 The film looks into an alleged encounter of a 15 year old adivasi girl, Meena Khalkho who lived in Village Karcha of Balrampur district of North Chhattisharh. She was killed by the police who alleged that she was a naxalite. Moving between the electronic news coverage of the incident and testimonies of her parents and other people from her village, the film investigates the claims of the police. Sexual violence, the attempt to suppress the truth of meena’s murder and the impunity of the culprits gradually comes to light. We also get a glimpse into how difficult and long the struggle for justice is in the conflict zones of the country. This film is part of a series of films called Loktantra Hazir Ho produced by the Women against Sexual Violence and State Repression (WSS).

Meanwhile the killings continue: The Encounter at Rewali

Dir: Maheen Mirza; 18 min; Godhi, Hindu with English subtitles

In a combing operation in the Dantewara region of Chattisgarh an adivasi was encountered and killed by security forces. He and his wife had gone to a stream to bathe and collect material to make a baadi and were catching crabs when the security forces opened fire. Budhri, the woman hid behind a tree but Bhima Nuppo was shot and killed. The people from rewali village of which Budhri and Bhima were residents called the local leaders and media to investigate this incident and bring out the unprecedented violence that adivasis living in the area have to face regularly. A rally of about 7000 people set out to seek justice for Budhri and her 5 children. They were stopped and not allowed to go to the Collector office. Negotiations ensued between the people and the administration. The film documents the entire process.

12:35   Interaction

1:00 pm 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

2:05 Interaction

2:30 I am Bonnie

Dir: Farha Katun, Satarupa Santra, Saurabh Kanti Dutta; 45 min; Bengali with English subtitles

 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.

3:15     Interaction

3:45   Mod (70 min)

Dir: Pushpa Rawat; 69 min; India; Documentary

 ‘Mod’ is an attempt by the filmmaker at communicating with the young men who hang out at the ‘notorious’ water tank in her neighbourhood in Pratap Vihar, Ghaziabad. The water tank is a space that is frequented by the so-called ‘no-gooders’ of the locality, a place where they play cricket, play cards, drink and smoke up. When she enters the space with her camera, the boys are curious and at the same time wary of it and her. They sometimes resist, sometimes protest, and at times, open up. As the film unfolds we get a hint of the lives the boys lead and the fragile world they create for themselves at the water tank.

4:55     Interaction

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

 7:15 Guest lecture, poetry and songs

Day 3: 28 October; 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

11:30 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.

12:30 Interaction

 1:00 Lunch break

2:00 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”.

3:50 Interaction

4:20 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.

5:40 Interaction

6:10 Closing Ceremony

 Guest lecture, songs and poetry

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