The Public Service Broadcasting Trust’s annual documentary film festival, Open Frame, will be held in New Delhi’s India International Centre from September 10-18. The event is being organised in partnership with Doordarshan, India International Centre, Goethe-Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan and International Public Television or INPUT.
The 18th edition of the festival will open with workshops on documentary filmmaking by Paromita Vohra and Deepa Dhanraj on September 10 and 11. Documentary Masterclasses, a lecture series by four filmmakers, will be held on September 12 and 13. Avijit Mukul Kishore’s illustrated lecture “The Great and Small Expectations” will shed light on key moments in mainstream fiction, documentary and alternative cinema in India. “Subjective Real” by RV Ramani will focus on subjectivity and self-reflection in films. Vohra will host “You Talking to Me? The Documentary as A Form of Conversation” and Vipin Vijay’s lecture is titled “The Discourse of Things”.
Registrations for these workshops are open till August 28 and are on a first-come-first-serve basis.
Also on the cards is a conversation between award-winning filmmakers and PSBT trustees Adoor Gopalakrishnan and Shyam Benegal, mediated by Managing Trustee Rajiv Mehrotra, on September 15. On September 13, Iris Yudai of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and Deniz Sertkol of Germany’s Goethe-Institut, will hold a discussion on the role of public broadcasters in uncovering and telling stories.
A number of Indian and international documentary screenings will be held September 13 onward. These include “Asinnajaq” Isabella-Rose Weetaluktuk’s Three Thousand, which examines the representation of the Inuit people in cinema and Human Smugglers by Poul-Erik Heilbuth and Georg Larsen, which interviews people who have smuggled migrants into Europe about their trade.
Denial: The Dad that Wanted to Save The World tells the story of Dave Hallquist, the CEO of an American electricity utility company who struggles with the impact of electricity on climate change while also negotiating a personal crisis.The film’s director is Hallquist’s son, Derek. Itzik Lerner’s Megiddo focuses on a thousand Palestinians held at the titular prison in northern Israel.
Andrew MacCormack’s Sick Boy centres on a 29-year-old yoga instructor who lives with cystic fibrosis. In Ole Junker’s The Truth About Our Au Pair, three wealthy mothers from a Western country are sent to the rural Philippines to experience the life of their children’s caretakers. Tomas Lindh’s Breaking the Cycle follows a warden from Halden Prison in Norway, considered one of the world’s most humane maximum security prisons, on his quest to reform the notorious Attica Correctional Facility in New York State.
The international showcase section on September 15 will feature Feras Fayyad’s Oscar-nominated Last Men in Aleppo (2017), which documents the rescue efforts of volunteer organisation White Helmets during the Syrian Civil War. The film won the Sundance World Cinema Grand Jury Prize last year. Another section on the same date on inclusion and visibility will feature two Japanese films – With Ayumi by Yuya Sakagawa and Shinji Suzuki’s Give us a Break! 100 People with Disabilities Speak Out – which explore the challenges and misconceptions about living with disability. A segment on visual storytelling will feature Thorsten Klauschke’s Sleeping with the Enemy, Asghar Safar and Abbas Jalali Yekta’s One Thousand Myths and Orzumurod Sharipov’s The Shell.
A section dedicated to PSBT-Doordarshan films will showcase documentaries examining topics ranging from Adivasi cultures to the tussle between development and environment conservation and the preservation of oral traditions.
The section will open on September 15 with Vipin Vijay’s video essay Anthropocene Reeloked, about the environmental impact of human activity. The line-up also includes Ajay TG’s Koi Chaand Bhi Nahi, which highlights the neglect of environmental and human rights in Chhattisgarh and Tarun Kumar Mishra’s The Call of Kandahar Hills, which spotlights the Paudi Bhuinyas community. Maheen Mirza’s Agar Who Ek Desh Banatee looks at how rural Adivasi working women from Chhattisgarh define and envision development while mines and power plants grow in their midst.
Aparna Sanyal’s One Mustard Seed focuses on the relationship of humans with death, while Shabnam Sukhdev’s Peacock Plume narrates the story of Indian classical dancer and cancer survivor Shubhada Varadkar. Sumita Khanna’s Mere Desh ki Dharti investigates the impact of pesticides as they enter the food chain, while Nitin Das’s India’s Healing Forests explores how nature affects our body, mind and spirit.
Pearl Sandhu’s Banaras Pink centres on the Gulabi Meenakari craft of Varanasi, while Sridhar Sudhir’s Kaithi-Ek Ithihaar explores the lost Kaithi alphabet, which was once widely used in Bihar and other parts of North India. Sandhya Kumar’s Koothu centres on the living theatre tradition of Tamil Nadu, which is struggling to find place and patronage in urban art circles because of its low-caste associations.
Anupama Srinivasan’s Aaj School Javanu Che Tamare? (Are You Going To School Today) travels to rural schools in the predominantly tribal district of Dungarpur in southern Rajasthan. Yasmin Kidwai and Fazal Kidwai’s A Sticky Wicket looks at how sport has emancipated a group of girls in a slum on the outskirts of Delhi.
Jainendra Dost and Shilpi Gulati’s Naach Bhikari Naach captures the lives of four male dancers from Bihar who had worked with the legendary Bhikari Thakur. Lubdhak Chatterjee’s Vaikhari focuses on padhant, the art reciting of mnemonic syllables in Indian classical percussion and dance, through the journey of artist Parwati Dutta.
Nooryaab Nakhat’s Waning Moons focuses on two siblings discussing their history as descendants of Nawabs, while Priyanka Chhabra’s Pichla Varka centres on a group of female Partition refugees. Avijit Mukul Kishore’s Squeeze Lime In Your Eyes focuses on the work of visual artist Kausik Mukhopadhyay. Vani Subramanian’s The Death of Us traces the history of capital punishment in India. A section on PSBT’s short documentaries will feature films exploring gender and sexuality.