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DocWok: A Pioneering Initiative to Support Indian Documentaries

This pioneering initiative is the brain child of two institutions that work for documentary promotion: DOK Leipzig (the oldest and one of the leading documentary festival in the world) and...

art and culture Updated: Nov 29, 2012 18:32 IST

This pioneering initiative is the brain child of two institutions that work for documentary promotion: DOK Leipzig (the oldest and one of the leading documentary festival in the world) and Magic Lantern Movies LLP (an imprint of Magic Lantern Foundation - that works to create public access to documentaries via archive and curation) to support and mentor Indian documentaries. DocWok has been initiated by Gargi Sen, partner, Magic Lantern Movies, and Claas Danielsen, director of DOK Leipzig, and will be supported by a team of professionals: tutors, editors and distributors, from Germany, India and UK. DocWok is supported by the 'Germany in India 2011-12: Infinite Opportunities' and the British Council.

The event opened with a small introductory speech by Christine Bardsley, Film Advisor, Arts Group, British Council London, wherein she said that the British Council is always encouraging exchange between UK and people of other countries through all cultural media whether film, art, music, education, etc.

Then there was a comprehensive introduction of the two main brains behind DocWok, Indian documentary filmmaker Gargi Sen and Claas Danielsman, German Documentary Filmmaker and Director DOK Leipzig.

Gargi sen had the following to say about DocWok, "The documentary practice faces many challenges in India - of funding, distribution, exhibition and training. Nevertheless, the documentary is a growing sector in India and earning a name for itself. In India there are no dedicated training courses available for documentaries. Most cinema schools and courses offer a short course on documentaries, often in addition to other mass media courses. Further, though the community is ever-expanding, it continues to be mostly self-reliant for resources, guidance and feedback as well as exhibition. Often dwarfed by popular mass entertainment industries, documentaries are finally finding determined and committed voices in practitioners who are experimenting with the form as well as subjects and redefining the contours of the practice. The journey of this change however has been long and arduous and continues to need sustained efforts and support."

She introduced DocWok as a year-long documentary training and mentoring programme to support the documentary practice in India. Conceptualised as a college without campus, DocWok will bring tutors and filmmakers together to guide and support documentary projects under production in India.

DocWok will provide hands-on training, mentoring as well as support in marketing, distribution, screening and international exhibition. There will be three workshops spread across the year, starting from New Delhi, India and ending at Leipzig, Germany. Projects will be guided and mentored in between the encounters.

The first workshop of the series, the Rough-cut workshop, is a five day residential workshop that will involve a rigorous session of tutoring, and development of the Rough cut with a dedicated team of tutors who would work with the director and editor of the project. The second workshop in June 2013 will be dedicated to marketing and distribution strategy and networks would be sought with international distributors. Finally, in October 2013, the film will be screened at the DOK Leipzig Film festival. These three workshop events seek to provide individual support at the finishing stage of the film. International and Indian tutors will guide the filmmakers to find fresh ways of thinking about editing, international film release, distribution, sophisticated marketing and exhibitions.

Claas Danielsen focussed on the importance of training programs like DocWok. He spoke about how young directors need to go back to their original passion and find where the heart of their movie lies amongst the immense rough-cut footage. He believes that programs such as DocWok enable an exceptional cultural encounter and are great starting points for bringing about a change in how documentaries are viewed by the general audience. He also said that documentary practice is one art medium that helps you understand how the real world affects the real people and the entire emotional context associated with them.

The other mentors and participants of DocWok were then introduced by Claas Danielsen and Gargi Sen. The list included such eminent directors, editors and producers such as Ilo Seckendorff, initiator of Dok Incubator, the well known editor Stephan Krumbiegel, producer and distributor Stefan Kloos from Germany, Peter Symes, the initiator of Sheffield Doc Fest, and Oliver Huddleston, the well known editor from UK, along with filmmakers and editors Sameera Jain and Sanjiv Shah from India.

In September 2012, the tutors had selected six projects from 34 applications. Filmmakers with rough cuts applied from across the country. The filmmakers of the six selected projects are from Bangalore, Bombay, Pune, and New Delhi. There was a small intordcution of the young filmmakers and their respective projects.

The first workshop of DocWok begins in New Delhi on November 26, 2012 at Zorba the Buddha 7, tropical drive Mehrauli Gurgaon Road, Ghitorni. The residential workshop would bring the directors and editors of six selected projects face-to-face with tutors for in-depth interaction and development.

The press conference was followed by the screening of a film TZVETANKA directed by Youlian Tabakov and coproduced by Sweden and Bulgaria. The film was in competition at DOK Leipzig and was introduced by Claas Danielsen.

Details of the film which was screened at the Media launch on 26th November 2012 at Max Mueller Bhawan, New Delhi:

Time: 69 min.
Language: Bulgarian
Subtitle: English
Executive Producer: Mårten Nilsson, GNUFILM; Martichka Bozhilova, AGITPROP
Director: Youlian Tabakov
Music/Composer: Rikard Borggård
Camera/DoP: Adam Nilsson
Editor: Nina Altaparmakova, Adam Nilsson,Youlian Tabakov, Johan Söderberg
Script: Youlian Tabakov
Country: Sweden, Bulgaria
Year: 2012