From a Correspondent
Guwahati, March 26:
Borderland Narratives, the three-day Festival of Films from Contemporary Northeast India was inaugurated here today at the RGU campus by lamas of the ThuntanGatsellingGonpa, Itanagar who performed invocation chants as a way of blessing. 19 filmmakers representing the 8 States in the region have arrived at the festival to share their films and to have extended interactions with the audience.
Speaking on the occasion, Chief Patron of the Festival and RGU Vice-Chancellor Prof Saket Kushwaha while expressing happiness to be a part of the programme, commended the partnering organizations for the initiative. Elaborating on the role that cinema has on society, he said that films have the real potential for bringing out the ‘post-truth’. “On the one hand, they bring out the practices and the truth from the past and from the existing cultures, and on the other, they also bring out trends to the people and we learn a lot from that”, Prof. Kushwaha said. Citing the example of the cartoon character ‘Popeye the Sailor’, he narrated how a film can be convincing just like the cartoon convinced and encouraged children to eat spinach instead of fast food.
Sometimes, when we compare the impact that filmmakers have on audiences, we realize that films reach out as a very powerful medium. So we really need to salute the work that filmmakers do in the pursuit of their art, the VC said, adding that the University to the fullest would support this initiative of the film festival.
Richa Negi, Regional Director, Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts, NERC, Guwahati expressed pleasure and gratitude to be a part of the important event, saying “it is a landmark in itself”. INGCA has established several regional centres all over the country like the one in Guwahati, she said, adding that it concentrates on the tradition and cultural practices in the regionby which the centre can conduct research, surveys and publications of films and also documentation. “At the moment IGNCA is in the process of signing MoUs with various Universities all over the country to conduct study in areas of mutual interest”, she said adding that the IGNCA was looking forward for a long term collaboration with Rajiv Gandhi University.
Prof Simon John, Director AITS and Festival Director, while welcoming the filmmakers and other dignitaries said the aim of this festival is to bring the filmmakers from the region together on one platform. ‘We are currently focusing on the film makers and directors of North-East India who are making films of different communities and in engaging new ways.” Prof. Simon added that while “scholars are not filmmakers but we are very interested in audio-visual documentation because we need audio visual document as a supplement for our research.”
Introducing Borderland Narratives 2019, Festival Director Moji Riba saluted the filmmakers who are attending the festival and said that art has a responsibility to shape the way society evolves. He elaborated that the main idea of having the festival has to see how stories of our cultural heritage and of our lives in the present are narrated in new forms and innovative idioms.
Prof. Jumyir Basar of the AITS in her closing notes said that the Institute, which was set up by Prof. Mibang with a clear vision for engaging in research and outreach amongst the communities in the State, is constantly exploring new and inter-disciplinary ways of how this can be achieved.
As part of the programme, Vice-Chancellor Kushwaha and founding Director of the AITS Prof. Tamo Mibang released the newsletter of the Centre For Endangered Languages as well as the Festival Booklet.
On the opening day, films that were screened included Those Songs and Lullabies I Used To Sing by Kombong Darang (CFEL, RGU), Loktak Lairembee by Haobam Paban Kumar (Manipur), Nana by TiemsumukAier (Nagaland), Songs of the Blue Hills by Utpal Borpujari (Assam) and Ralang Road by Karma Takapa (Sikkim).
The festival is organized by the Arunachal Institute of Tribal Studies (AITS) RGU in collaboration with Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, NERC, Guwahati with CCRD, Mishmi Takin, Centre for Endangered Languages and the Department of Mass Communication RGU are festival partners.