The workshop followed a specific pedagogy where basic film orientation went hand in hand with the landscape orientation. Kutch was chosen for several reasons — primarily for the fantastic landscape and the cultural ecology of the region, says AFI
Article Published in The Hindu by Dinesh Varma
A hands-on documentary film-making workshop hosted recently by Auroville Film Institute (AVFI) on the white desert terrain of Rann of Kutch has produced a remarkable 16 short films by 20 participants in a span of 35 days.
The film workshop formed a part of AVFI’s flagship programme of taking film-making training workshops to the midst of iridescent manifestations of nature, where film pedagogy meets deep ecology. “Usually film schools are stationary and attract students from all over. But films, especially documentary films, are located at various sites, among real people and places. So what if the film school travels to these real people and places and conducts film-making workshops that spring from these encounters with the real?” says Rrivu Laha, workshop co-director and cinematography mentor.
The objective was to engage with the image of Kutch; deconstruct it critically, as well as reconstruct it creatively, a “challenging but very fruitful process”. “To work collectively as well as individually on the various perspectives, perceptions and projections of Kutch” added Richa Hushing, the other co-director and curriculum designer of the workshop.
The winter workshop was planned at the Rann of Kutch, the venue of the famed Rann Utsav, with its base camp in Hodko village, next to the tent city. Dholavira, Lakhpat, Chari Dhand, Nirona, Nakthtrana, Mandvi and Bhuj with Pragmahal, Darbargarh were the additional sites of exploration.
According to AFI, Kutch was chosen for several reasons — primarily for the fantastic landscape and the cultural ecology of the region. The intention was to explore the tangible and the intangible cultural heritage. Moreover, Kutch held the added fascination of one of the last princely states of India. “We also have here the history of the Sindhu civilisation and the partition of it…. we have Mohenjo Daro on one side and Dholavira on the other. There are so many stories, the narratives of memories and imagination and mesmerising realities of the day-to-day life — the idea was to explore the cinematic wonder of it all” said Richa.
The workshop followed a specific pedagogy where basic film orientation went hand in hand with the landscape orientation. “We worked with ways of seeing,” said Sanket Ray, an associate facilitator. The participants hailed from all parts of India, including two locals from Bhuj, and four international delegates who came from Poland, France, Istanbul and Canada.
Among the films produced at the workshop were ‘Music of Kutch’ by Kabir Dave, ‘Mandvi ka Malam’ by Nakul Jain, ‘Ode to Marvi’ by Priyanshi Shukla, ‘Self Portrait in Kutch’ by Shreshtha Agnihotry, ‘Dholavira… the nest’ by Ricky Radzikowski and Kirtan, ‘The Move’ by Pinar Ekinci (Instanbul).
“The creation happens when some circumstances are present… the freedom to experiment, possibilities of action (place and time) and the support of mentors and peers,” said Ricky Radzikowski from Poland.
Omniverse Experience Design Company was collaborator for the event with support from Sahajeevan Trust, Ramble (Research and Monitoring in Banni Landscape) and Prag Mahal, Bhuj. According to Richa, the film tourism policy as framed by Gujarat, could enable the trans-mediation of the archaeological, anthropological, the ecological, the tangible and the intangible cultural heritage value of the region through the medium of cinema.