7/10/15 last day & awards of the AVFF ’15

IMG_8803And the winner is! Actually the AVFF has a different grading system, instead a first prize we have three awards that are sort of equal. One award is the Cinema Paradiso (one of Auroville’s theaters) award, another prize is the Jury award and the third is the Wisdom award. That is only part of the selection process… it’s not complicated…

S5A_2906We have two sets of judges, the first three judges are judging the three categories of: made by Aurovilians (or guests or someone from the bioregion), second category made about Auroville, and the third category is children/student films by students of Auroville (or the bioregion). For these awards we invited a jury (often Indian directors or people knowledgeable about film or some traveling director who will be in India during our festival.

The other category is films that promote the theme of Human Unity; these films are international. For this category we select three Aurovilians on the jury… but there is more to the HU films… We have volunteers that watch all the films that are entered into the HU category and if they think it has anything to do with human unity then they send the films on to our selection panel which is also made up of three Aurovilians. This panel individually watches the films and says yes or no to the films they are given. If two on the panel say yes then these films are passed onto the HU jury.

For this year Christine started to search for HU films in 2013 via other film festivals and as usual the AVFF website provided a submission form where people could register online and provide download links of their films. As noted above the category Human Unity had finally 55 selected films (43h 34m) and the selection panel watched more than 216 submitted films. We received 250 submissions directly from people visiting our website.

AVFF2015_awards_feature1Oh there is one more prize, the Mongbra award which is the peoples choice award (however since Aurovilians don’t like competition – or some don’t), we have a day when all the student films are shown together in one venue and then the audience votes for their favorite film and this movie gets the Mongbra award… However after two years the winner has to return the bronze trophy (which a local all rounder, Johnny made and donated to the AVFF, it depicts a mongoose fighting with a cobra) to AVFF and we give it to the next winner!

OK so now lets see who won this years competition. Oh and the winning films will all be aired in Cinema Paradiso soon so keep a watch on News & Notes (Auroville’s weekly newspaper) for times and dates.

Awards ceremony
The Awards Ceremony was MC by Marco and Tlaloc, the director came on stage to acknowledge several people/units who went above and beyond the call of duty. Tlaloc acknowledged the faithful and hard working Youth Centre crew, with Noe as coordinator. Then next in line was from La Ferme Cheese who gave 17 Kilos of cheese; I believe originally La Ferme had offered to give us 10Kgs of cheese. There is also a father son connection here. Bennie is the head of La Ferme and his son is Noe! So thanks father and son team! Next was PTDC who served up 36 meals for our cast of volunteers, staff, jury and film directors who were there on the day. Lastly four volunteers who went above and beyond the call of duty, Kaveri, Koteshwar, Shekhar, and Sanjay.

The one other thing that Tlaloc talked about was:
Synchronicity and divine intervention

IMG_8719The PTDC (one of our two general stores) supplied 36 dinners for all the staff, volunteers and jury and some film directors (36) one evening. When they brought the food Marie Ange (who organised the dinner) told me that they had just finished preparing all the food when it dawned on her she did not have a way of transporting the food??? Marie Ange was talking to one of the workers in PTDC ‘we need a car to transport the food but we don’t have one’ and this woman nearby said I have a car and presto the food transport was solved… the story reminded me of a similar story during the first AVFF ‘09. Marco had asked a couple of people to design a workshop on making movies. The pair were in over their heads (not sure how to proceed) and up steps Saguenail, from France who by chance had been teaching movie making to workers, students and others who had no voice (in Portugal) and had wandered into Auroville at the perfect moment. He had all the classic films and ran the first classes in film making… We had a void, we needed a teacher and since nature abhors a vacuum we received some divine intervention or synchronicity. These two examples are normal occurrences in Auroville…

S5A_2974The awards ceremony included a lot of entertainment from the local villages, the precession band was from Kottakorai, the song and dance and drama group (from Yatra Media) and Kuilapalayam, and we even had Wazo making a guest appearance while the director of the film festival made a cameo appearance.



OK without further fanfare here are the winners:

In the Category of films made about Auroville
Two Feet To Fly was awarded the Jury Award
Narratives… The Object of Art won the Cinema Paradiso Award
Auroville The City The Earth Needs won the Wisdom Award

In the Category of films made by Aurovilians
Switch Off was awarded the Jury Award
Sama Bhava (Empathy) won the Cinema Paradiso Award
India’s Disappearing Beaches – A wake up call was the winner for the Wisdom Award

The Student Awards:
Kottakarai Cycle Race won the prestigious MONGBRA Award
Behind The Scenes of AVFF 2013 was the winner for the Jury Award
The Art of Free Progress received the Cinema Paradiso Award
Kottakarai Cycle Race won the Wisdom Award

Then in the Human Unity films:
Girl Rising and Everyday Rebellion were both awarded the Jury Award.
L’Urgence de Ralentir (The Invisible (R)Evolutions) won the Cinema Paradiso Award
Himself He Cooks was awarded the Wisdom Award

After the awards ceremony it was back to food, conversation and movies.
Fine food was also served by the Youth Camp and Maduram café again. …
IMG_8879The crew from the film festival was all showing sleep depravation and lower energy levels. A small farewell party was held for the jury and to bid them thanks and goodbye

The best film of the night was EL Aubergue (The Shelter), a brilliant movie about a Mexican priest who wears normal clothes and has created an oasis for refugees trying to make it to the US. All the refugees were coming from Central America. But what have happened are the drug cartels and others (politicians, train drivers etc.) who are cashing in on the money generated by these poor refugees. The way this works is that refugees ride on the tops of trains for free a d the cartels stop them and kidnap them. They ask for their parent’s number back home. If they don’t give it to them they beat them with clubs until they do give them the numbers. Then the cartels tell the parents to raise $40,000 or more and send it to them or they will kill their sons and daughters. You might say where can the poor get so much money – all the relatives, villagers pitch in to save the person. In this dark context the priest offers free food, shelter, love and light. Many of the people stay for a little while before heading north. Others try to get Mexican citizenship, which the father helps them with; others will try to make their way home. A very moving film.

Well folks that’s a rap or a wrap for this film festival. See you in a couple of years…

photos by Koteshwar:

photos by Marcos: