KATHMANDU, Nov 15: Filmmakers from across South Asia who have arrived in Kathmandu to take part in the Film South Asia (FSA) 2019 have said that the festival has not just created a platform to showcase their views in creative ways but also helped them to understand the ongoing life stories of people from different parts of the world.
As the alternative narratives are increasingly restricted in the mainstream media, dissenting voices are brutally crushed and intolerance toward the differences is on the rise across the sub-continent, the film makers from South Asia said that the FSA had given them the opportunity to present the otherwise hidden narratives and help people understand society better.
Director of Indus Blues Jawad Sharif said a film festival like this has a great significance as it gives a space to showcase events reflecting counter narratives rather than the mainstream narratives. “It has also worked as a platform to connect with people from different parts of the world and get to see and understand the society of the place they represent” he said.
As the theme for this year's festival is 'Where the mind is free' which is inspired by Rabindranath Tagore's popular Poem 'Where the mind is without fear,' the filmmakers state that this theme has helped them express their ideas through their creation. Director of 'Our Gauri Pradip KP said his documentary showcases the story of Gauri Lankesh's murder that reflects the politics of hatred and violence in Bangalore.
“Our Gauri” is a documentary of his friend Gauri Lankesh, who was killed in 2017 for calling out communal forces in India. “The theme 'where the mind is without fear' is very allied to my documentary as my documentary portrays the dirty reality of right wing Hinduism in most oparts of India,” he said.
Another filmmaker Sunil Kumar said FSA has been creating an environment for important discussions about the ongoing social issues and has been helping creating awareness among the participants and audiences. Kumar's documentary 'Ammi' shows the story of a continuous struggle for seeking justice for a boy who disappeared from the Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi.
The organizers said the film festival has been prioritizing the portrayal of extant social issues like fight for justice, human rights, animal rights, LGBTQ and Gender issues. “It carries a great significance for independent film makers like us. It is through platforms like this we get to share powerful messages to people through our work” Sharif told Republica.
FSA, also known as Festival of South Asian Documentaries that initially started from 1997, has been showcasing various non-fictional films from its initial years. The 12th edition of FSA started from Thursday and ran till November 14 at Yalamaya Kendra, Lalitpur.
A total of 63 different films and documentaries were showcased in the four-day long film festival. Of them, 51 of them were categorized as 'main selection' films, while 12 others were categorized as 'student film' made and directed by students.
Assistant Director of FSA, Alok Adhikari said the film festival that started 22 years ago has successfully helped to bring filmmakers from various parts of the world together. “Our main objective is to give a proper and recognized space to the filmmakers to share their creative ideas through documentaries and films” he said.
The FSA was initially started to popularize documentaries in order to entertain and possibly help in transforming the people's lives. Since then, it has successfully been serving as a platform to present films or documentaries focusing on South Asian themes or subjects which reflect various aspects like lifestyle, culture, adventure, history, environment, economy, people and other backgrounds.