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SMILE Festival Concludes

The three day SMILE film festival concluded in with some new steps to taken forward in the future. The audience and Ex- SMILErs formed ‘Smile Movie Club’ which will be screening documentary movies to generate social awareness through films. Students Mobilization Initiative for Learning through Exposure (SMILE) is a youth programme under Indo Global social Service Society. The film festival was inaugurated on 24th April at Darwin School of Business by the state Coordinator of IGSSS, Mr. Ritupon Gogoi. Mr. Gogoi spoke how IGSSS is working with the young people and the aim of organizing such a festival for the people. Speaking on the inauguration ceremony Anirban Choudhury, Director of Darwin School has spoken how documentaries can be tolls for social change. Documentaries reflecting different social issues were screened and there were healthy debates amongst the audience after the screenings.

The documentaries which were screened in the festival are as follows

Soldiers in Sarong:

Director: Lokendra Arambam

This movie is about the archaic army rules prevailing in North East Part of India. It is a portrayal of Peoples resistance Movement for Human Rights.

Lakshmi and Me
(Lakshmi and Me / English, Tamil, Marathi & Hindi / 0:59:00 / Nov. 2007 / Mumbai / Nishtha Jain)

Hollow Cylinder
(Hollow Cylinder / English / 0:23:50 /9th July 2007 / North East India
/ Nandan Saxena / Kavita Bahl)

The making of the Hollow Cylinder was partly triggered by the controversy amongst India's Foresters and Policy-makers on whether Bamboo was a tree or a grass.
This confusion led to a muddled up policy - bracketing a grass with the trees and shackling it for fifty years or more. Little wonder then if the livelihood potential of Bamboo has largely been unutilised in India.

When we place this policy-lapse in the context of the lack of employment opportunities in the rural non-farm sector in India, we realise how policies impact lives. Bamboo grows easily in most parts of India, barring the arid regions like Rajasthan and Ladakh. There are pockets with abundant Bamboo forests. The irony is that these are the pockets that are known for extreme poverty. The Bamboo map and poverty map of India look the same. Our country has a strong tradition and legacy of skill and craft. The resource is there, so is the skill... and yet, the poor remain poor.

Bamboo is not a material that transports well because it traps air and moisture.
This challenge is also an opportunity to create avenues of employment in farflung areas, where it is otherwise difficult to create sustainable livelihoods. This hollow cylinder could have transformed millions of lives. However, the potential of this hollow cylinder remains locked up somewhere in the corridors of power.( Livelihood Category)

Chilika Banks-Stories from India’s Largest Coastal Lake –1970-2007
(Chilika Bank$ / Hindi / 1:65:00 / 2008 / Orissa / Akanksha Joshi)

In a canvass spread over four decades, a banyan tree on the banks of the Lake Chilika, silently whispers tales of the lake and her fisher folk. From the times when there was no export bazaar to the time when there may be no lake. (Livelihood category)

Assassination: This documentary is based on Right to food and produced for Human Rights Law Network, an organisation of legal activist who works for the rights of the people. This was screened to generate awareness elated to right to food and how this type of campaign is important in state like Assam or in North East India.

No Body’s Man: This movie is based on Indo Bangladesh Border. This has been directed by Mrinal Talukdar.

Zindagi: This documentary has shown how innocent girls are bought to Mumbai and they are compelled to work as prostitutes. This was screened to generate awareness related to trafficking and negative impacts of out migration without proper migration.

Vanishing Vulture: The documentary has shown the decline of the vulture population in India. There was impact after the movie was made as government took some of the positive steps regarding conservation of vulture in India.

Pictures Don’t Lie: This documentary has shown the ill effects of tobacco products on human health and how smoking and consumption of other tobacco products is affecting the young population of India.

Documentaries by KABIR on some of the successful case studies and happenings related to Right to Information are as follows--

Road to Chandrapura—An award wining film on remarkable RTI success form a village named chandrapura in Uttar Pradesh.

PDS:- the RTI Experience—An award wining film on RTI impact on Public Distribution System.

Professors of RTI—story of Aligarh Muslim University Professors using and spreading RTI.

Jankari Call centre—A film on RTI Call Centre by Government of Bihar.

SMILE would like to thank Centre for Civil society, New Delhi, North East Network, Guwahati, Human Rights Law Network, Guwahati Chapter, Voluntary health association of India, Image North East and others who have provided the movies for screening.

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