One of the positive sides of the ongoing global lockdown has been the wealth of films, in all formats, that have been coming home to us through the streaming world, some with complimentary treats attached.
So this Friday, May 1, you don’t just get the opportunity to watch Mark Achbar and Peter Wintonik’s Manufacturing Consent, but can also put forward your questions to Mr. Achbar and to the towering intellectual, linguist, philosopher and political commentator Noam Chomsky, on whose seminal book of the same name the film is based.
The film will kick off a new online initiative of Vikalp@Prithvi.
Starting this Friday noon, it will provide a 48-hour YouTube or Vimeo link, valid till Sunday noon (or longer, depending on the discretion of the filmmaker), to a documentary film of acclaim on its Facebook page.
‘Vikalp: Films for Freedom’ has been bringing a monthly series of documentaries and short films, followed by a discussion, at Prithvi House, at 7 pm on the last Friday of every month.
“We can’t do that anymore during the lockdown… we are going online with our interactive documentary film screenings on a weekly basis till the lockdown ends,” said filmmaker Anand Patwardhan, the driving force behind the initiative.
Viewers can send in any questions they have for the filmmaker by leaving a comment on the Facebook post about the film by Saturday 5 pm.
The filmmaker will reply to any or all of the questions and the answers will be posted on the same comments thread by Sunday night or latest by Monday.
Vikalp: Films for Freedom was born as a parallel film festival in Mumbai in 2004 in the face of the censorship imposed on documentary filmmakers during the Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF).
A collective of a large number of filmmakers was formed and the “rejected” films were screened right across from the MIFF venue. Several filmmakers withdrew their films from MIFF and screened them at Vikalp, drawing packed houses everyday. Since then it has transformed itself from a parallel festival into a movement.
Relevant to the times
Curation is the all-important factor and Vikalp@Prithvi’s idea is to showcase films, old or new, that are passionate and relevant to the times we live in and address the socio-political and economic issues of the day.
In that sense, Chomsky’s analysis of mass media and his critique of the political forces at work behind the daily news couldn’t have come at a better time.
Vikalp@Prithvi is also inviting suggestions for films and is asking filmmakers who already have their work on YouTube or Vimeo to submit their preview links to firstname.lastname@example.org if they’d like it to show the film online.