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Film Showcase | 2024
Film Screenings

at Palay House

Date and Time

Every Friday starting June 14th 2024 

4pm - 6:30pm

Location

Palay House. Phey, Ladakh

Films featured

Arthshila Film Collection

Curated films by Ashok Vish

Can't come on Friday? ​

 

We can make the film listings from previous Fridays available to you on either Saturday or Sunday, 2 -4 pm or 4:30 - 6:30 pm. All that we require, is that you sign up for a slot in advance using the form linked below. If we have a group of a minimum 5 people sign up for that slot, we will send you a message with a confirmation.  

This year we initiate our Film programming at Palay House, in Phey, Ladakh.

The films are curated at the intersection of design, architecture, visual arts, and ideas of ecology, culture, and social justice. They encompass themes such as the political economy and the political ecology of the production of textiles, the creation of spaces, architectural designs, the role of water in shaping identities, and the precarity of local communities in attaining livelihoods.

The films are drawn from the Arthshila Film Collection,

alongside films that are curated by Ashok Vish. 

Furthermore, we are collaborating with the All Living Things Environmental Film Festival and a special package on climate change by Film South Asia. 

All Living Things Environmental Film Festival 

All Living Things Environmental Film Festival is India’s premiere showcase of today’s climate stories. ALT EFF curates the world’s best environmental cinema, under-represented in the mainstream media, and manifests as a platform for filmmakers, community leaders, and changemakers to connect with citizens and each other on climate solutions, large and small.

 

ALT EFF takes a decentralised, community-based approach with diverse film screening events across India and the world. This model, made possible in collaboration with Screening Partners, prioritises accessibility and scale. Complimenting live events is the unlimited, free access to view our film catalogue online, from anywhere in the world, during the festival dates.

By curating impact storytelling and experiential learning that is accessible and relevant, ALT EFF works to increase climate awareness and scale and enable that awareness into action.

Film South Asia

Film Southasia is a biennial documentary festival that was started in 1997 to popularize non-fiction film so that it informs, educates, entertains, and helps transform lives and livelihoods. FSA is the first such festival by and for South Asians in the region and by far the premiere one even today. The festival believes that non-fiction film is a powerful medium that contributes immensely to introspection and initiatives to bring change at the local and national level besides representing the region internationally.

 

FSA takes place in Kathmandu every two years. The city as a venue offers the festival a unique geo-political advantage as it allows South Asians to gather and interact without inordinate visa processes and political barriers. 

 

The upcoming festival is being held in Kathmandu from November 21st to 24th, 2024.

In between festivals, FSA packages films – among the best and most representative of the festival – as Traveling Film Southasia (TFSA) and offers the set to universities, communities, cultural spaces, and interested organizations around the region and the globe as a mini festival. This allows the films to be shown to diverse audiences and serves as a way to network and promote the festival and documentary filmmaking at large. 

More information about FSA can be found at www.filmsouthasia.org.

Friday June 14th 2024

Our first ever offering of film screenings @ The Palay House sheds light on humanity behind mass production. Through four compelling films, the program weaves together the intricate threads of the textile industry and its profound impact on society. Together, these films provide a multifaceted exploration of the interconnectedness of trade, labor, and creativity, while exploring the lives of those who create, shape and sustain the world of textiles.

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Annaji, Sridhar, and Jaya are 3 tailors who operate in very different spaces of the city. Yet they share the same set of skills. They found ingenious ways to survive. This film traces those stories of self-respect and pride. The tailors are a tribe that contributes to the maintenance of the city and its people. They are omnipresent.

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The fabric of the city emerged from the warp and weft of diverse threads, from the labour of migrant communities that made Bombay/Mumbai their own. The cotton mills and the proletariat that worked in them were central to the creation of the city. Through the poetry of Narayan Surve, the paintings of Sudhir Patwardhan, the music of the Shahir Amar Shaikh Cultural Troupe, and the filmmakers’ images of a precarious yet resilient space, Saacha chronicles the changing life and times of a city that was once the hub of the working-class movement in India. Weaving together poetry and paintings with memories of the city, the film explores the politics of representation, the relevance of art in the contemporary social milieu, the dilemmas of the left and the trade union movement, and the changing face of a huge metropolis. Saacha, filmed in 2000, when the cotton textile industry was in the final stages of its decline, brings to bear an intimate and perceptive gaze on the lifeworld of the mills and their workers, which has since been totally erased from the history and geography of the city.

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In the cast-off capital of Panipat in North India, the history of fabric is closely woven with that of its immigrants. A Winter’s Elegy traces the memory of clothes and the desires of its makers.

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A portrait of daily life of the workers in an Indian textile factory, revealing its beauty as well as its shameful working conditions

Friday June 21st 2024

Friday Films Showcase @ Palay House on June 21, 2024 takes on the topic of 'Housing & Architecture'. This curated selection features four films that explore the built environment through unconventional lenses, challenging traditional perspectives and opening new dialogues about how we inhabit our world. Each film presents a unique view on how architecture influences social dynamics, cultural expression and personal well-being. You'll witness architecture not just as a backdrop but as a central character that influences and is influenced by human experience. 

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A Film directed by Sanjiv Shah was commissioned as part of the State of Housing - Aspirations, Imaginaries, and Realities in India exhibition held from 02 February to 18 March 2018 at Gallery MMB/Goethe Institut in Mumbai. The exhibition is curated by Rahul Mehrotra, Ranjit Hoskote, and Kaiwan Mehta, produced by the Urban Design Research Institute and the Architecture Foundation, and supported by the Tata Trusts.

 

The Film articulates a Pan-Indian reality of the housing crisis in the voices of ordinary people across the country. The intent of the film was to complement the otherwise objective and historic as well as statistical reading of the State of Housing in the exhibition.

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A visual essay on the architecture of a dystopia. In the far suburbs of Bombay residents from slums are given free houses in high-rise building complexes with the promise of a better life. The State imagined these constructions as the realisation of an urban utopia. But the project is seen as a move to free prime slum land for commercial development. The complexes soon degenerate into places worse than slums. The film lets the viewer experience the living conditions of places hidden away in a 21st-century metropolis.

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A group of nomads migrate through different seasons, adapting to the environment through their multifunctional skin, that serves as their portable home. Set in the far future, the nomads' journey is via various landscapes where the boundaries between technology and nature have blurred, and a new era has dawned. Welcome to 'VIA'- a story that follows this group of nomads that are bound by a shared ritual. As they journey through the seasons, they become one with nature, adapting and evolving, guided by the wisdom of their ancestors and the teachings of their land witnessing the boundless potential of a future where we walk, via the beauty of our world and the adventure of the unknown.

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Khandakar Ohida possesses a sensibility informed by the sociopolitical hierarchies that shape vernacular identities. In DREAM YOUR MUSEUM (2022), she inquires into the conditions of capital, class privilege, and the persistence of colonial frameworks that exclude certain bodies from participating in official archival spaces. The artist draws on the story of her uncle, Khandakar Selim, a compulsive hoarder who has amassed a vast number of items in his home over forty-seven years. The artist’s installation is a condensed recreation of his collection, which proposes a museum of memorabilia. However, a few questions arise: Can a book of stamps coexist with vintage alcohol bottles? Do jars of nails or ordinary plastic bags count as permissible artifacts for a museum? What does the cohabitation of holy books in a precarious space of care say about a country reeling under sectarian angst?

Friday June 28th 2024

This program of four films delves into the profound interplay between spaces and the stories they generate. This collection of films examines how environments are not just settings but active agents in the creation and transformation of narratives. We invite our viewers to reflect on how spaces influence and are influenced by the stories we tell, highlighting the dynamic and reciprocal relationship between place and narrative.

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In transience is film about workers' fantastical stories through labour and leisure set against shifting landscapes of a city. With residues of romance and realism, the film attempts to meander through the disparate metamorphosis of a city.

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NOT JUST ROADS is an ethnographic documentary film that narrates the story of a massive urban transformation underway in India. Highways are being constructed at an unprecedented rate of 23 kilometers per day under the Indian government's Bharatmala (‘Garland of Limitless Roads’) program. The program aims to open new territories for the emerging Indian middle class. Currently, the territory is inhabited by villages, working-class neighborhoods, and nomadic herders. It is criss-crossed by native trails and vital ecological commons. This film captures the story of one such highway outside Delhi, from the perspective of human and non-human actors.

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Shot on deserted film sets, this work takes us on a tour of a city that is both ancient and futuristic. With time suspended on its surface and left in limbo, the sites we see are like allegories to the future of our ancestors. The Film City with its constructed hospitals, hotels, and neighborhoods resemble a deserted post-apocalyptic city, whose inhabitants have disappeared. The tour bus, loaded with visitors, navigates this seeming abandonment of this city. Along the tour, the guide re-imagines Film City’s desertion and narrates fictions that originate from this site.

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Described as “a beautification exercise”, the Bangalore Beautification Project is a city-sponsored effort to prevent posters and advertisements from being pasted on public walls. In 2009 the Bangalore Bruhat Mahanagra Palike (BBMP) hired sign painters to produce a number of prescribed murals on public walls across the city alongside concerted efforts to criminalize street vending. Familiar symbols of myths, heroes, and nature—cursory tales of national identity and pride—were chosen to greet Bangalore’s residents and guests. However there are several gaps between instruction and realization in this beautification exercise. The resulting images complicate the official narratives that they try to portray. Fantastical images, fearful images, duplicitous images, and incomplete images all stand together in trying to keep the walls clean. Different Colourful Designs takes a closer look at these images and the city that etches over them. Footage was shot over several years, adding to the film over the years, observing the decay of these murals. It was completed at a time when the BBMP voiced intent to repaint the walls in the spirit of a new national campaign for cleanliness.

Friday July 5th 2024

This week's program features curations from ALT EFF - All Living Things Environmental Film Festival. ALT EFF is the world’s largest decentralized film festival and India’s premiere showcase of climate stories and environmental narratives. Their mission states: Through the emotive power of cinema, ALT EFF increases climate awareness at scale. We curate impact storytelling and experiential learning that is accessible, relevant, and inspires awareness into action.

For ALTEFF, building an environmental consciousness and catalysing people for climate action is a critical necessity of our times. To make this massive convergence of cinema and community happen, ALTEFF is held at diverse venues across India and the rest of the world. 

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As the Indian state of Uttarakhand is increasingly facing water scarcity with the change in rainfall patterns, youngsters Heera and Chandan are leading efforts to improve spring discharge in their village. They're ensuring that rainwater percolates into the ground and recharges the catchment area of springs by digging recharge pits.

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Mandakini ki Awaaz, a community radio station in the Indian state of Uttarakhand, focuses on building community awareness about disaster risk reduction and response, along with relaying timely government advisories. They frequently broadcast several public service announcements on forest fires, landslides, flash floods etc.

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‘No Water, No Village’, the India episode for the series 'Voices from the Roof of the World', traces the water challenges faced by the agricultural villages of Spiti, Himachal Pradesh, and Zanskar, Ladakh. The film also highlights how scientists and activists work for local solutions when governments fail to protect their culture and interests. It is an ode to life in the frozen deserts and the resilience of the communities that rely on glaciers and snow to survive.

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In the Himalayan foothills, an 80-year-old woman and a 19-year-old girl are two of the seven remaining inhabitants of an abandoned village. The two women struggle with the choice to leave for alienating city life or continue living in a lonely village.

Friday July 12th 2024

This week's program features curations from ALT EFF - All Living Things Environmental Film Festival. ALT EFF is the world’s largest decentralized film festival and India’s premiere showcase of climate stories and environmental narratives. Their mission states: Through the emotive power of cinema, ALT EFF increases climate awareness at scale. We curate impact storytelling and experiential learning that is accessible, relevant, and inspires awareness into action.

For ALTEFF, building an environmental consciousness and catalysing people for climate action is a critical necessity of our times. To make this massive convergence of cinema and community happen, ALTEFF is held at diverse venues across India and the rest of the world. 

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This is a story about the Bhoti tribe and their traditions and lifestyle. In a village called Langza, we learned from its people how the snowfall is now increasingly erratic and ​​lighter. The snow lines of its mountains are retreating, and so is the grass, making it difficult for the villagers to search for it ​to feed their livestock.

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Among the tall buildings of the city, the lonely guard hides a beautiful field that no one knows, and meets an egret there; but the expansion of the city never stops, one day the field is destroyed, the egret escapes without a trace, he begins to see mysterious illusions.

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83-year-old Vidyadutt Sharma holds the record for growing the heaviest radish in India weighing 23 kgs. He now aims to beat the world record of 31 kgs.

Over the last five decades, he has built up Moti Bagh, his 5-acre farm in a small Himalayan village in northern India. Around him lie 7000 ghost villages, left to die, with no one to till the land – a chilling testimony to large-scale migration by locals in search of employment in the cities. With no manpower at their disposal, the few locals are employing Nepali labour. But there is unease because of this dependence and the growing influence of the Nepalis. As market forces exert pressure, family dynamics are also changing. Vidyadutt's journalist son, Tribhuvan, lives and works in Pauri, a large town 35 kms from Moti Bagh. His two children wish to chase their own dreams in the metros.

Friday July 19th 2024

This week we bid ALT EFF farewell and thank them for curating for us, and for joining us here at Palay House. It  - All Living Things Environmental Film Festival. ALT EFF is the world’s largest decentralized film festival and India’s premiere showcase of climate stories and environmental narratives. Their mission states: Through the emotive power of cinema, ALT EFF increases climate awareness at scale. We curate impact storytelling and experiential learning that is accessible, relevant, and inspires awareness into action.

For ALTEFF, building an environmental consciousness and catalysing people for climate action is a critical necessity of our times. To make this massive convergence of cinema and community happen, ALTEFF is held at diverse venues across India and the rest of the world. 

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The spirit dreams of Cheraw, is a performance documentary film through Cheraw (Bamboo dance)and ritual folklore, reveals the forgotten memory of the mother who dies at childbirth. The film shows a re-imagined dance of the mother spirit. Bamboo Dance was performed as a way to pacify the soul of the mother who died in childbirth. Bamboo is part of the geo-political history of Mizoram and the many other states in the North-east. Hence the loss of this intergenerational maternal memory is the crisis of culture, the climate of a place.

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‘Mulsotan’ is a documentary on the non-violent struggle of the Vasava tribal community in south Gujarat and their non-violent struggle for their land and forest rights spanning three decades. The film delves into the 32-year-old struggle of the community, in which they initially faced severe hardships and threats from the Forest Department to evict them from their lands where they have been living for generations. The story will find parallels in the condition of several tribals and indigenous populations across the globe. But this film is unique, as it captures the journey of this south Gujarat tribal community meticulously navigating their paths, littered with bureaucratic and legislative obstacles and creatively combining the force of non-violent protests and technology to obtain their rightful land titles and transform their lives and of the community around them. Gujarat is the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi and this film shows how the Mahatma’s principles, in this modern day and age, still find relevance in the day-to-day struggles of even the most vulnerable of communities.

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Rala (Foxtail millet) is integral in the lives of the natives of central India, evident by its presence in their rituals, myths, legends and ballads; it’s fascinating that these stories even hint at the disappearance of Rala from the farm fields, diet and the people’s psyche. Oscillating between the ballads and the present times, The Bird, the Priest and The Sixteen Millet Thieves tells the story of grains and farm fields, rains and pests, market and diet, following the life cycle of Rala and the dwindling cultivation practice of this indigenous crop.

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