Actress Judith Rodriguez in Goa IFFI, Addressing Media and Press

Actress, Judith Rodriguez, Actor, Hony Estrell and Representative of Production Company Edward Diaz of Spanish Film ‘Rafaela’ addressing the press conference at the 52nd International Film Festival of India (IFFI-2021), in Panaji, Goa on November 22, 2021.

Actress, Judith Rodriguez of Spanish Film ‘Rafaela’ addressing media

It is beautiful to have the liberty to create what we want to see: ‘Rafaela’ Actor Judith Rodriguez at IFFI-52

Women have the power to tell their stories in their own ways: Actor Judith Rodriguez

It was magical and inspiring to be at IFFI with my film: Judith Rodriguez

The Director, Nikhil Mahajan of Indian Panorama Feature Film ‘Godavari’ along with cast and crew being felicitated at the 52nd International Film Festival of India (IFFI-2021), in Panaji, Goa on November 22, 2021.

“Watching the world premiere of our movie with viewers yesterday was an awe inspiring experience which will remain etched in our hearts forever. It was our first time watching the film with an audience and it was amazing to see that they loved the movie.” ‘Rafaela’ film Actor Judith Rodriguez was thrilled as she shared her experience on her film that was premiered at the 52nd International Film Festival of India. She was addressing a press conference along with the crew – Actor Hony Estrella and a representative from the production company, Edward Diaz, in Goa today.

The 93 minute Spanish language film Rafaela, has been screened at IFFI in World Panorama category, yesterday. “Watching the movies here and participating in the opening ceremony felt like we were experiencing Indian culture. It was magical and inspiring,” said Judith Rodriguez. On the reception of her film at IFFI, and the festival arrangements, she said that it’s a testimony to the keen interest government is taking in enriching the film culture in India.

Judith explained how the idea of Rafaela sprouted 10 years ago and how a short film, finally evolved into a full length feature film. “The Journey of Rafaela started and grew with me,” she added.

Speaking about the message she wanted to convey to her audience, she said that, “It is just a story of a girl who is trying to find a better place for her as well as her family. I think women have the power to tell their stories in their own way, with their own unique sensibilities and sensitivities to see and experience the reality. We need more and more women to come out and tell stories from their own point of view.”

She encouraged women film makers and technicians to come forward and use this strong and effective platform of cinema to narrate their stories to the world. “It is beautiful to have the liberty to create how we want to see things in the world,” Judith spoke about the power of films and filmmaking and the immense possibility of changing the world for better, through art.

She also said how inspiring it is to see women playing different roles professionally in the changing world – be it a camera person, journalist and so on. “You people inspire us and in turn we inspire you with our films,” she remarked.

She also shared her experience of watching Slumdog Millionaire for the first time and how she could easily relate to the characters. She was talking about how every film speaks about the stories of not just one person or the character but every one watching it. It is a shared experience, says Judith.

While filming Rafaela, she could watch from close angles the misery of people who had to live in the margins of society: people picking garbage from the dumpsters for re-selling and thus to feed their family. “This scene was an eye opener in my life. It made me a better human being and even changed me as a person,” she said.

She also expressed concern about children who had to undergo such hardships at a very early age in their life and how it impacts them as a human being as they grow up. “People are not bad. They are the consequence of their circumstances,” she added.

On coming to India for the first time, Actor Hony Astrella said, “We are amazed to see how advanced you are in Cinema and your industry. We were so happy to watch our films on the huge screens with advanced technology in IFFI and the experience was incredible.” Indian culture is super inspiring and it motivates us to do similar things back in our countries. 

Speaking about the film industry back in Dominican Republic, Edward Diaz said, “Cinema in Dominic republic is still in nascent stage and we have to rely on government funding for our finances.”

 

About the film

Rafaela is a film from the Dominican Republic - based on a story of a young girl from the Caribbean slums. Circumstances make her a gang leader who seeks revenge against the thug that stole all her loot and left her pregnant.

Crew of the film

Director: Tito Rodriguez

Screenplay: Cristian Mojica

Director of Photography: Bejike Mota

Editor: Ramon Alfonso Peńa

Cast: Judith Rodriguez Perez, Hony Estrella, Gerardo Mercedes

UNESCO-ABU Peace Media Awards 2021 - Doordarshan and All India Radio Win Big

In yet another remarkable feat which has showcased the world Prasar Bharati’s excellence in quality content creation, TV and Radio shows produced by Doordarshan and All India Radio respectively got multiple awards at the recently held ABU - UNESCO Peace Media Awards 2021 at Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia.

Doordarshan’s program 'DEAFinitely Leading the Way' won an award under ‘Living Well with Super Diversity’ category, while All India Radio’s progra​m​​​ ‘Living on the edge – The coastal lives’​ ​​won another award in the category of ‘Ethical & Sustainable Relationship with Nature’.

The awards were given by UNESCO in collaboration with Asia Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) under ‘Together for Peace’ (T4P) initiative. The award giving ceremony was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on November 17, 2021. More than hundred inspiring stories of individuals and communities were received from 33 countries across 5 continents. The competition was open for Radio, TV, and digital platforms.

'DEAFinitely Leading the Way' talks about the inspiring journey of a specially-abled child. The purpose of the documentary is to motivate specially-abled persons to live their life with dignity. The documentary was produced and directed by Mr. Pradeep Agnihotri, Program Executive, Doordarshan, Delhi.

All India Radio series '​Living on the edge – The coastal lives​'​ ​​explores life for fishing communities living on the edge in Visakhapatnam, a coastal town on the shores of the Bay of Bengal. This programme was devised and produced by Ms. Monika Gulati, Programme Executive, All India Radio, Delhi.

The ABU-UNESCO T4P Media Awards highlight and promote crucial role of independent, ethical journalism and citizens’ media literacy for building positive peace in human minds. Positive peace is not just the absence of conflicts and war, but striving for equitable and fair societies having respectful and sustainable relations with the environment. The Awards honour innovative and creative content, which informs and educates audiences on best practices of building positive peace that have increasing urgency in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and building back better from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Veerangana: story of valour and courage of women protecting women, Assamese Documentary Veerangana screened at IFFI 52

“Veerangana means a brave female, someone who can fight for their rights. A strong woman not only protects herself, but protects others too”, said Kishore Kalita, Director and Producer of the Assamese documentary film Veerangana, while addressing a press conference today at the 52nd International Film Festival of India being held in Goa.

Veerangana has been selected for the Indian Panorama section in the Non-feature film category. It deals with a first-of-its-kind initiative in the country; Assam Police’s first female commando force ‘Veerangana’ which was launched in the year 2012.

“Nowadays, we talk about women rising in tandem with men in every field, but when the night comes, woman are afraid to go out alone due to the fear of eve-teasers and harassers. The fact that women can protect women, is what I wanted to show through this documentary”, added Kishore Kalita, who is an advocate by profession and describes filmmaking as his passion.

Brain child of the present Director General of Police, Assam,Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta, who was the then AGP (Training and Armed Police), Veerangana is a strong female police unit to fight the rising crimes against women in the state of Assam. These women were trained in motorbike riding, martial arts and handling lethal and non-lethal weapons to effectively deal with any crime. They were also trained in ‘Silent Drill’, a unique silent precision exhibition drill in handling a rifle, made famous by the US Marines.

In the 21 minute documentary, the Directors shows us how the female commando unit of Assam Police carries out various activities and how they deal with the increasing trends of criminality in society with confidence and strength.

Dedicating the film to the valour of the female warriors of the Assam Police, Shri Kalita said, “I hope people will get encouraged after watching this film, especially young girls, who aspire to be brave and courageous facets of the society one day.”

“The concept of Veerangana is such that if a woman comes out at night and sees the Veeranganas, the brave ladies in uniform patrolling the streets, they will feel secure and safe”, the Director further added.

“It took almost one year, shooting and re-shooting, writing and re-writing the script, but in the end, the outcome was better than what we expected”, noted Film Critic & writer of the documentary, Utpal Dutta said. Describing it as a social organisation more than Government organisation, Dutta said, “Usually Government organisations have some particular order, guidelines and philosophy. This initiative is almost like an NGO, the effort for social transformation is embedded within the department and that is what attracted me to write the screenplay of this documentary.”

Talking about his motivation behind doing the film, Kalita said that “We all have responsibility to make the society better. Films are the finest medium of storytelling and sending message to society. This is why I decided to document the journey of the Veerangana through this film.”

The documentary shows the other side of these brave ladies in khaki too. “Some of them are good in writing, some are good in singing and dancing etc., they pursue these interests in their free time”, the Director remarked. The documentary shows the women officials sharing how the Veerangana unit brought out the strength inside them - which they never knew they had within them - to the forefront. They also talked about the various opportunities which opened up after this endeavor.

The documentary has also been screened at various national and international film festivals and was declared the Best Documentary at the Cochin International Short Film Awards, 2021.

Utpal Dutta, Film critic and the screenplay writer of Veerangana also released his new book titled “Film Appreciation” after the media interaction. The book was received by Prachee Bajania, Director of The Spell of Purple, another Non-feature film selected for Indian Panorama section at IFFI 52.

The Spell of Purple celebrates courage of women: Director Prachee Bajania

The spell of Purple celebrates courage of women however it also speaks about fatigue that sets in after having to constantly struggle with patriarchy. Thousands of women are labelled witches with ulterior motives to grab property or to trouble them and this movie tells the story of fight of these women against forces of patriarchy in a small field in tribal Gujarat, said director of movie Prachee Bajania. She was speaking at a press interaction at IFFI 52 in Goa today and was joined by Director of Photography Rajesh Amara Rajan.

The idea of this film flashed to the director when she was travelling through the forests of Ambi Dumala. Search for a source of 10 seconds folk song that Prachee heard in forests of Ambi Dumala ended with the movie, The Spell of Purple.

While speaking about the inspiration behind the title of the film, the Director said that purple colour is associated with magic and mysticism. Prachee wanted to use this colour to talk about theme of the subject as well as to show that women are still blooming despite odds against them.

Many of the attempts to label women as witches are with the intention of grabbing their property or sexually harassing them, said Prachi.

“The movie celebrates the courage but also speaks about weariness faced by them due to constant harassment”, it gives the message that freedom lies in loving.

The original title of the movie in Gujarati is Khilshe Toh Khara (They will bloom) signifying that women will bloom despite all the odds and evil forces against them in the society.

The director said that Gujarati cinema which was mostly being screened only in rural centers earlier have now started getting released in urban centers after 2012-13 and is slowly getting popular there too.

Director of Photography Rajesh Amara Rajan spoke about his attempt to capture through his lens the male instinct for voyeuristic gaze as portrayed in the film.

Srujana Adusumalli (Editor), Jikku Joshi (Sound Designer) and Shikha Bisht (Production Designer) also interacted with the media.

The film which was shown at Indian Panorama Non-Feature Film section at IFFI 52 was the graduation film made as part of their training at FTII, Pune.

About the Movie

Inaas, the sole owner of a small field in tribal Gujarat, is the target of envious neighbours who brand her a ‘witch’. Enveloped in fear, she looks for strength in other women – a new mother dealing with loneliness and a young married woman forced to reckon with turmoil of her own. The Mahua forest bears silent witness to their secret conversations, sometimes reaching out through ancient folk songs. The film captures the bone-deep weariness that often lies behind such women’s daily courage.

Director : Prachee Bajania
Producer : FTII/Bhupendra Kainthola
Screenplay : Prachee Bajania
DOP : Rajesh Amara Rajan
Editor : Srujana
Cast : Swati Das, Shraddha Kaul, Vidisha Purohit

Ray’s films are a must-watch, he has never stopped to inspire filmmakers: FTII Professor at IFFI 52 Masterclass

“Satyajit Ray broke all stereotypes, making his films unique, with a language of their own”: Prof. Ganga Mukhi

“Satyajit Ray believed that our cinema must have a language of its own. Through his self-study, he created his own style of filmmaking.  Ray’s films are a must-watch for all film lovers, students and film makers. His films connect with everyone in spite of geographical and language barriers.” Associate Professor, Department of Direction and Screenplay Writing, Film and Television Institute of India, Ms. Ganga Mukhi said during a master class on ‘Directorial Practices on Satyajit Ray’, held today, November 22, 2021, at the 52nd International Film Festival of India. The masterclass was streamlined virtually on https://virtual.iffigoa.org/.

She spoke how Ray films stand unique till today even after decades the film was made. “He came without any formal training in filmmaking but he has never stopped to inspire film makers.”

She spoke in depth about his mastery of filmmaking. She explained Ray’s organic style used in The Apu Trilogy. While explaining every scene of the film shot by shot, she threw light on how Ray has conveyed every emotion with little or no dialogues. “He has given a unique language to filmmaking.”

Ganga spoke about how Ray starts telling the film right when the title of the film appears. “The title appears on a handmade paper – the writings almost smudge but the calligraphy is so beautiful. This is how the film announces itself, symbolizing that we are going to see a beautiful story in this rough world”.

She highlighted how the introductory scene of Pather Panjali is shown very beautifully with only his eyes shown first in the frame; this subtly reminds the viewers that he is one who likes to see the world outside. “The whole character has been portrayed in just one shot.”

Ray’s characters are mostly framed through doorways, through windows – just to show how the characters both belong and not belong at the same time.

What does poverty do to us? What does it do to our self-esteem? How can a human being become victim of the economic gap in the society? How can a filmmaker show all these on camera? Ganga questioned. She explained how Satyajit Ray portrayed poverty on the screen very subtly with just one dialogue, where a character asks: “Are you not feeding the cow? They are bearing only a half a pot of milk.”

“Ray was a master in creating a scene where nothing is shown directly, but still the audience are able to sense the emotion behind it,” she added.

Ganga also said how Satyajit Ray’s brave decisions in breaking all stereotypes used in filmmaking has made his film unique. “As a filmmaker he took decisions which were not taken before.”

Year-long celebrations Birth Centenary of Satyajit Ray

Paying homage to the legendary filmmaker, the Government of India is organizing year-long centenary celebrations of the master director in India and abroad.

Satyajit Ray was ray in the world of cinema which lights up a million minds and a billion cinematic ideas even today. As we celebrate 75 years of India’s independence and 100 years of the legendary filmmaker, it has been decided that IFFI’s Lifetime Achievement Award will henceforth be called the Satyajit Ray Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Cinema from this year.

Hollywood filmmaker Martin Scorsese and Hungarian Filmmaker Istvan Szabo have been conferred with Satyajit Ray Lifetime Achievement award at IFFI 52 Inaugural Ceremony, held in Goa on November 20, 2021.

Satyajit Ray is considered as one of the pioneers of the modern cinema and he is revered by cine-buffs across the world. His works like The Apu Trilogy, The Music Room etc. cemented his footing in the history of Indian cinema and remain classics till date.