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Two days before the 10th edition of the Kolkata People’s Film Festival (KPFF) began, India roiled in a frenzy of celebration. All the agencies of command and control announced the January 22 consecration of the Ram Mandir—the enthronement of the Hindu deity Rama in his alleged birthplace, Ayodhya—as a day for pomp and self-congratulation. Many states declared it a public holiday. The building of the Ram Mandir in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh on the devastated powder of a 16th-century mosque, the Babri Masjid, which was dismantled brick by brick by Hindutva mobs in 1992—a friend once called this destruction one of the most fissiparous acts in the history of independent India—marked the psychic normalization of a supposedly secular democracy into a so-called Hindu Rashtra, a nation for and of Hindus.
Political statements are hardly foreign to a film festival’s red carpet, especially during such politically unsettled times. Yet there are statements that hold particularly immense power and urgency, in light of the inconceivable suffering and loss of civilian life in some parts of the world. Such were the ones calling for “Ceasefire Now [in Gaza],” stitched onto the back of the black dresses of Danish film producer Katrin Pors and American director Eliza Hittman, who trod the red carpet ahead of the 74th Berlin International Film Festival’s opening gala.
SECTION 1: Julian When I began the lengthy process of reporting and directing my feature documentary, The Holly (2022), there were plenty of
The question of how to build a more open and equitable film festival is an old and still pressing concern. Ideally, there will be a plurality of answers and the Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival may be one of them. Its 2024 edition, which ran 7–10 March, felt like a festival whose program was not only deeply engaged with larger political struggles, but also open and malleable in a way that many festivals claim but rarely enact in the relations underpinning the screenings.
What would life be like in America? By the time we fled Uganda, there had been two attempted kidnappings of my wife, Nulu. I had been shot in the face at close range while filming, arrested, thrown in a crammed police cell, and denied access to a lawyer.
Imagine the hallways of Cornell University, a quiet, comfortable campus in upstate New York, in the mid-1970s. Now imagine, in one of the Ivy League rooms, a Marxist reading group that brings together students and professors from different generations, ethnicities, and countries. They are united by an urgency to make revolutionary art and contribute to the dismantling of imperialist capitalism. This is the origin story of the Victor Jara Collective, a coalition of artists and activists named after the revolutionary Chilean musician assassinated during the Pinochet regime.
In these first couple of months as IDA’s executive director, a few lines by the cultural thinker Paul Gilroy have been on my mind. They indicate, for me, something of the purpose of documentary filmmaking.
This print issue of Documentary comes right before IDA’s biennial industry conference, Getting Real. In the tradition of past magazine issues that immediately precede the conference, this issue previews the conference’s themes of “Strategy, Networks, Access” through interviews with speakers whose work will be featured at the conference.
Dear Readers, Last month, if you were an IDA member who opted into receiving print issues of Documentary , you received a copy of our redesigned print
In 2018, like many others in India, filmmaker Vinay Shukla stopped watching the news. Since the right-leaning Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came into