6/10/15 DAY 5 of the AVFF ’15

S5A_2827The day starts with clear skies (for the past week its been overcast) and heats up quickly… is the sun trying to dry the wet roads and fields… it reaches 32C w/ 85% humidity and dips to 26C in the evening.

Movies: the crew of the film festival are starting to look like the Walking Dead… but that’ll change the day after tomorrow when the festival will be over.
Today the morning had three gems Walk Right In; Welcome; & Buy Buy St Pauli. The first took place at Harvard University, bastillian of old money, Eastern establishment and tradition…the year is 68’ and Amerika is looking divided…by the civil rights moment, by the Vietnam war, by the great divide between rich and poor… however alliances are being formed between student groups, labor, progressive church groups – a great time to be a part of…
In 64’ President Johnson declared the War on Poverty and passes many reforms. In this context the annual Harvard summer school is formed and invites smart but poor high schools students to be part of the Harvard summer school and to learn in these hallowed halls of academia.
Every year Harvard invites the poor, but the class of 68’ reflects the changing times. A new Dean is chosen to lead the team and he implements radical changes, he made it co-ed, he choose not only smart but community minded, challengers of society, etc and he builds around him a group of academics that try to do an engaging curriculum, one that is reflecting the chaotic times. The film follows a number of black and poor, but gifted students, many of whom never thought of themselves as smart, but start to learn the classics Kant, Hegel but to talk about them in the present context of blacks not being able to ride in the front of buses, of not going in public swimming pools, of only sitting in the black section of the theaters etc… and the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War and the resistance to them. Most of the students never had any resources but here they have it all and they took the challenge and gained knowledge about themselves and society. The movie does flashbacks via photographs but also has video shots of the 40th anniversary – and it shows what the Class of 68 did in the ensuing years, many joined the Black Panther Party. Contrary to what the media said about the Black Panther Party, the BPP was a community organisation which helped the black community.

The next film, Welcome is an enjoyable film about a small isolated village high in the Andes. The Government of Ecuador or Peru paid for these isolated villages to install satellite internet at their schools. So a transformation takes place in these isolated villages across the country. They now can find out many things about the outside world and the outside world can find out about them – they learn how to post video clips about their lives high in the Andes.

Buy Buy St Pauli is a documentary about this large block of flats/apts and shops where people live and shop. However their inexpensive rent and close to the city haven is threatened by a big developers who want to change the flats into high end condos or pats and turn the shops into smart cafes and bars instead of the low key shops now servicing the area. So the battle is on to develop or to have it for the community… Who is going to get their way? It looks like the developers…but wait…

IMG_3997Student Workshop
Shanki Mahendra, one of our jury organized a professional equipment and lighting workshop with Anand cine-service (who provides movie making equipment for the movie industry of Chennai). This was given to Claire and Sashi’s video classes. Each workshop was over 2 hours and there were two of them. The students got to use a lot of the equipment and to understand how it is used in the industry. We want to extend a big thank you for Shanki and Anand cine-service (who donated equipment and technicians  – AVFF only had to pay under RS 8000 for all this).

Round Table Discussion on Human Unity
Sasikant, Kavitha, Raman & Jill were on the panel today. The films we discussed today were We Refuse to be Enemies, Sacred Voices, and Black Ice. There was a technical hitch because the mikes weren’t working.

S5A_2828Food and conversation.
The pizza crew from Youth Centre and Maduram café were on tap again. Long lines at the pizza stall…
I have been volunteering for the film festival for the past 5 months, part of my work was fund raising – asking units (Auroville companies), asking Aurovillians in line at the Solar Kitchen, AV institutions, AV International, etc. We normally get funding from Stichting de Zaaier and SAIIER, But this year no funding from Stichting de Zaaier, so we are under budget… so when I stand in line and see very few people donating cash or signing the blue sheet I get a bit pissed off. We offer free movies, free entertainment… so when people see donation (pizza are by donation), what does donation mean?…  to give an honest appraisal of what it’s worth or to give Rs 0 or Rs 25 for a pizzas and return for more? Each day the Youth Centre crew makes about 70 pizzas. Today they made Rs 4000 so that comes to Rs57/ pizza – that doesn’t look like people are taking responsibility and giving a fair value.
Parents I also saw many kids who would get to the front of the line and ask for a half or whole without paying (many for every day of the festival). Where have your kids been eating and have they been living on free pizzas?…Our acct # is 251551

Movies In the evening:
Of all the films I saw on human unity I liked Everyday Rebellion the best. It was really well done and gave a cameo of all the people movements taking place around the world. The 99% against the 1%, yes they have all the guns, police, money and power, it’s a lopsided battle but the people are making headways all over the world…
The light forces against the dark…

S5A_2829Many movie goers today said the highlight of the day was the skype link up with the director Rodrigo Reyes, Purgatorio, Viaje Al Corazon De La Frontera (Purgatory, Journey Into The Heart of The Border) from Mexico. We are happy Rodrigo suggested the use of skype a free way for all directors to interact with audiences around the world. This has a great potential to bring more directors to our festival for free! We need to explore this much more in the future. There was a great exchange between Rodrigo and the audience.


photos by Marcos:


photos by Sanjay: