Of Sense and Nonsense
Anuj Kumar | The Hindu | 12 June 2015
Recently in a landmark judgment Delhi High Court allowed the release of noted documentary filmmaker Pankaj Butalia’s “Textures of Loss”. Focussing on violence in Kashmir, it is part of the trilogy of the director on border conflicts, the other states being Manipur and Assam. “Unanimity of thought and views is not the test to be employed by censuring authorities in such situations…The response cannot be to ban, mutilate or destroy the work of another, with whom one stridently disagrees,” noted the court of Justice Rajiv Shakdher. Earlier, the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) and the Film Certificate Appellate Tribunal (FCAT) had refused to allow screening of this documentary suggesting some major cuts. And in January newspapers reported that Supreme Court judge Vikramjit Sen has called Butalia’s film ‘one-sided’, raising the issue of balance in creative art.
Victory for Kashmir Documentary
Prashant Reddy Thikkavarapu | The Hoot | 8 June 2015
Of the various forms of media which run into trouble with censorship, either through formal or informal power centres, documentary films and biographies, which lie at the intersection of serious journalism and entertainment, suffer the most.
As quasi-journalist ventures, both biographies and documentary films are expected to report the truth and adhere to the highest values of journalism but at the same time they can expect only a fraction of the profits earned by mainstream entertainment.
In the case of Indian documentary film makers, they have to deal with the added problem of a whimsical Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), better known as the Censor Board. Pankaj Butalia’s latest victory before the Delhi High Court against four specific cuts ordered by the Censor Board is especially interesting because it demonstrates just how arbitrary the Censor Board can be in its functioning.
Lives in the Metro
Sankhayan Ghosh | The Indian Express | 15 April 2015
Filmmaker Gautam Sonti remembers being told about a new machine by an engineer while filming the demolition of Bangalore’s Plaza theatre. The man, albeit in a light-hearted tone, made the machine sound like a monster, one with immense power and ferocity that could gobble things up. Our Metropolis opens with the shot of the same scene where the frame and the lighting make the crane look almost like a mechanical dinosaur, demolishing one of Bangalore’s iconic landmarks. This sets the tone for Sonti’s film, co-directed by Usha Rao, which shows history being crushed by the State’s bull-headed ambitions of “development”.
How Bengaluru was remade and unmade by the Metro: a new documentary has the story
Nandini Ramnath | Scroll.in | 7 April 2015
‘Our Metropolis’ provides a vivid snapshot of how a so-called pensioners’ paradise is being transformed into a ‘global city’
Our Metropolis, a documentary about Bengaluru’s recent transformations, is packed with striking images, but one is especially telling – a Godzilla-like wrecking crane gobbling up a building, one wall at a time.
Directed by Gautam Sonti and Usha Rao, the engrossing 95- minute film follows Bengaluru’s planners and civic officials in their quest to replace a well-worn label with a new one. The rapid changes in the Karnataka capital have left very few traces of the city that was once known as a “pensioner’s paradise”. In its place is being constructed a shiny “global city”.
Film-maker challenges film certification rules
Saurav Datta | The Hoot | 2 February 2015
‘Documentary film-maker Pankaj Butalia’s The Textures of Loss provokes an SC judge to comment on balanced portrayal. Is there no place for ‘cinema verite’ in documentaries, asks SAURAV DATTA.’
In their line of work, it is de rigeur for documentary film-makers to be accused of creating “propaganda”, “agitprop”, or indulging in “negative portrayal”. These accusations are hurled most often by the censoring authorities, or by disgruntled elements determined to block the screening. But the Supreme Court’s charge of bias and contention that a documentary must narrate the story of ‘both sides’ must be examined more closely.
SC asks Kashmir documentary filmmaker: Is it ‘fashionable’ to make one-sided movies?
Utkarsh Anand | The Indian Express | 13 January 2015
The Supreme Court on Monday asked a filmmaker who shot a documentary on Kashmir whether it had become “fashionable” to depict only one side of the story in movies.
The bench was hearing a petition by filmmaker Pankaj Butalia, who complained about the Censor Board’s refusal to clear his documentary, Textures of Loss. The documentary features interviews of people who lost their kin because of the conflict and violence in Kashmir. Some of them condemned the country and the Army, while others spoke about jihad. The Censor Board sought some cuts in the documentary, but Butalia maintained he was merely depicting opinions. He challenged the board’s decision before the appellate body but when that did not work, he moved the apex court.
DocWok 2 to commence on 8 December 2014
The first workshop of DocWok 2 will be held in New Delhi between 8 and 12 December 2014 at the India International Centre Annexe. The DocWok team welcomes all the filmmakers, tutors and observers for an intense experience of sharing and working with the documentary.
Call for observers
An opportunity to participate in DocWok 2 as an Observer!
DocWok is a tutoring and mentoring programme for documentaries which are in production in South Asia. DocWok aims to support the documentary practice by bringing in expert guidance for editing, completion, publicity and presentation of the film. DocWok mentors rough cuts, from editing to international exhibition.
DocWok is presented by DOK Leipzig, the International Leipzig Festival for Documentary and Animated Film (the oldest and one of the leading documentary festivals in the world) and Magic Lantern Movies (that works to create public access to documentaries via archive and curation) to support and mentor documentary practice in South Asia.
Docwok 2 will take place in Delhi, India in the 2nd week of December, 2015. To participate as an obsever, apply by the 18th of November, 2015 with the following details:
- Your Name
- Your profile
- Why you’d like to apply
- Your filmography
Mail us at: email@example.com
Announcing DocWok 2 results
The DocWok 2 selection process is complete and we are happy to announce the results.
Click here for the details of the 8 selected projects for DocWok 2.
Selected filmmakers have been informed by emails. However, do get in touch if you have applied, and haven’t heard from us yet.
Submissions for DocWok 2 closes
DocWok thanks all the filmmakers who have submitted their film projects for selection in DocWok 2. We have acknowledged each applicant through email. If we need any further information, we will get in touch with you. In case you have have made a submission and not heard from us, do write to us.
Eligible entries are being forwarded to the International Selection Committee. Watch this space to find out the projects that are selected for tutoring and mentoring under DocWok 2.
Calling filmmakers from South Asia
Filmmakers from South Asia, please note that submissions to Doc Wok will close on midnight, 22 August, 2014, India Standard Time. As the application process has to be completed online please be careful about time when the DocWok system will stop accepting submissions.
An international selection committee will finalise and select the 7 projects that DocWok will take up for mentoring. The decision of the selectors will be final.
The selected projects will be announced during the DOK Leipzig 2014.
Submissions are open for DocWok 2
After a brief set back and postponement, DocWok is once again accepting submissions from 15 July 2014.
8 film projects under production will be mentored and tutored under DocWok – 7 film projects from South Asia selected from submissions and 1 film project nominated by the Asian Network of the Documentary, Busan International Film Festival.
Filmmakers from South Asia, please send in your applications at the earliest. The last date for submission is 22 August 2014.
Dok Leipzig recognised by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
DocWok congratulates DOK Leipzig at being recognised by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Los Angeles, as an Academy Qualifying Festival for the Documentary Short Subject Award. ‘Distance’ by Yashashwini Raghunandan and Ekta Mittal, which won the International Short Documentary Competition at DOK Leipzig in 2013, may be eligible to enter the Documentary Short Subject competition of the upcoming Academy Awards without having to prove a theatrical release in the US if the film meets all other requirements. ‘Distance’ was part of the DocWok 1 tutoring and mentoring programme. Congratulations Yashashwini Raghunandan and Ekta Mittal!
DocWok 1 film selected for IDFA Bertha Grant
‘I Never left’ by Shazia Khan, which was part of DocWok1, has been selected for the prestigious IDFA Bertha Grant. Congratulations Shazia. To be part of the DocWok tutoring and mentoring experience, read the Rules and Regulations and fill up the online Application Form. Submission to DocWok2 closes on 22 August 2014.
Claas Danielsen on DocWok 1
DocWok, a tutoring and mentoring programme for documentaries which are in production in South Asia, is presented by DOK Leipzig (the oldest and one of the leading documentary festivals in the world) and Magic Lantern Movies (that works to create public access to documentaries via archive and curation) to support and mentor documentary practice in South Asia. Here, Claas Danielsen, the Festival Director of DOK Leipzig, explains the concept and working of DocWok 1 during the first workshop in New Delhi.
Calling Documentary Filmmakers in South Asia
After successful completion of DocWok1 in November 2013, we are delighted to announce that submission for DocWok 2 is now open. While DocWok 1 was restricted to India, DocWok 2 has extended to South Asia.
9 film projects under production will be mentored and tutored under DocWok – 8 film projects from South Asia selected from submissions and 1 film project nominated by the Asian Network of the Documentary, Busan International Film Festival.
Are you working on a documentary?
Do you have a rough cut ready?
Are you interested to receive support from tutors and international editors?
Do you want to extend your international network?
Who can apply
Resident, citizens of South Asia with film project are eligible to apply.
Your film must be in post-production stage with a rough cut or an assembly.
DocWok is highly competitive and intense. You will need to attend all 6 workshops, and many of them with your editor. Apply ONLY if you have the time and inclination for an intense experience.
Student film projects are not eligible.