Seven films from the North-east including four from Assam have been selected for the special North East segment of the 3rd Woodpecker International Film Festival this year.
Films which have been selected include ‘Lotkan’ (directed by Jivitesh Mazumder), ‘A River island tale’ (directed by Porag Jyoti Gogoi), ‘The Devil inside me’ (directed by Raja Narzary), ‘Sita‘ (directed by Kangkan Deka), ‘The Thin Red Ribbon’ (directed by Ishani K Dutta), ‘Khoh ki Bo’ (directed by Gautam Syiem) and ‘Nagaland is changing but…’ (directed by Gurmeet Sapal).
The festival will be held from September 17-20 at the Siri Fort Auditorium in New Delhi.
Known for its focus on issue-based cinema, the Woodpecker Film Festival and Forum promotes debate and discussion on critical social, ecological and development issues like environment and wildlife, health and sanitation, livelihoods, gender, children etc.
This year the four-day festival will screen 68 documentaries and short films from 21 cities spread across 15 States. According to founder director of the festival, Narender Yadav, the festival has always aimed to highlight the challenges and issues of the society reflected through the medium of films. “It’s quite encouraging to see that every year we get wonderful stories of change and hope in the form of hundreds of documentaries and short films. Our festival’s vision is to showcase films that promote discussions, expand expectations, challenge attitudes and change lives. We are constantly experimenting to promote issue-based cinema globally and explore the power of storytelling through films to create a better world.”
‘Lotkon’ is an animation film that tells the story of a clever Brahmin who earns money with his intelligence and make his family surprised, while ‘A River island tale’ relates the story of a kid whose life changes when his father brings home a little pig. Set in the backdrop of a river island, the idea is to tell a story which is essentially Assamese. A graphic poem of sorts, the texture and the overall look of the film is inspired from the great 90s Assamese movies. Style of animation is inspired from a little girl’s slate illustrations.
‘The Devil inside me’ is about a young man who after partying with friends feels stomach ache in the night and it makes him scared about death. ‘Sita’ is about Moina, a 9-year-old boy who lives with his mother, a widow. They are financially unstable and his mother runs the family by doing household chores at others’ houses. The only happiness in Moina’s life is his best friend, his goat, Sita. He finds solace when his goat is around him. Though his mother often thinks of selling it, but she can’t compromise with her son’s happiness. But destiny has some other plans, which turns the situation topsy-turvy for them.
‘The Thin Red Ribbon’ captures the life of a group of orphan kids at a home in Imphal. Through the means of a film production workshop the team members of this film tried to understand the world of these children.
‘Khoh Ki Bo’ speaks about the conservation of dying art of basket weaving in the North-east region, especially in Shella area in Meghalaya.
‘Nagaland is changing but…’ depicts the current environmental scenario of Nagaland where pollution has gripped the natural resources and forest life of the State.
It needs to be mentioned here that these selected films will now compete for the prestigious Woodpecker Award. The festival jury for this year’s edition is headed by acclaimed actor and theatre director Avijit Dutt. The jury also has Nigerian writer and filmmaker Onyeka Newuele. Other esteemed members of the jury include Oscar nominated director-producer, writer and actor Ajita Suchitra Veera, journalist Mihir Shrivastav and Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) member Ashieem Kaisthaa.