From politics around tea to the rising need for wildlife conservation, concern against rise in migration of men from Punjab and education of Muslim women, a wide range of subjects have been documented by filmmakers from the world over. These films collectively make for an exhaustive list of issue-based cinema that will be screened during two festivals – 16th PSBT Open Frame Film Festival and 4th Woodpecker International Film Festival (WIFF) – in New Delhi.
Scheduled simultaneously this weekend, these festivals explore social issues. “We encourage and support films that reflect the passion of filmmakers,” says Rajiv Mehrotra, managing trustee, Public Service Broadcasting Trust. He adds that the films are made on a “paltry budget” and unlike mainstream Hindi cinema, there isn’t any limitation to choose the subject.
“Since we fund for the films, the filmmakers choose the money productively and select the subject of their interest... something that motivates them and not something that they have been asked to make a film on,” says Mehrotra, adding, “This cinema is all about passion and not money-making.”
The Open Frame will have screenings of 35 films whereas 94 films will be screened as part of WIFF. “We screen films that people can relate to,” says Narender Yadav, founder director, WIFF. He too emphasises the fact that people relate to mainstream cinema, but most of the social issues aren’t being addressed by it. “The diversity of issues that the shortlisted films explore cater to the demands of the modern-day cinema-goers. Infact, over the years, youngsters have become increasingly involved in social issues and cinema based on it. Last year, on the opening day of the festival, there was a queue of youngsters outside the auditorium,” adds Yadav.
Some of the must-watch films at the Open Frame include Steeped and Stirred – explore the multiple meanings of tea and through those finds out how we function as a nation; Sent Away Boys – weaves together testaments of individual ambitions and family biographies from Punjab, through the ongoing transnational migration; Holy Matrimony – story on aspirations of two young women who choose not to marry.
At WIFF, there are International and Indian categories in which Soul of the Elephant (Austria) – touches the upon emotional aspect of elephants, Mind/Game (USA) – based on a basketball player’s battle with mental illness; The Man Who Dwarfed The Mountain (India) – based on the Chipko movement and Iqra (India) – a story on how Muslim women are getting educated in large numbers are a must-watch.
Catch it live
PSBT Open Frame
Where: India International Centre, Lodhi Road
When: September 16 to 20
Timings: 10.30am to 7.30pm
Nearest Metro Station: Jor bagh on Yellow Line
Woodpecker International Film Festival
Where: Siri Fort Auditorium, Asian Games Village Complex
When: September 15 to 18
Timings: 9.30am to 7.30pm
Nearest Metro Station: Green Park on Yellow Line