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Sundance Film Forward, India


5-8 October 2015

The first edition of the Sundance Film Forward in collaboration with Documentary Resource Initiative opened in Kolkata today. Sundance Film Forward is a touring program designed for 18 to 24 year olds, students and artists that offers film screenings and discussions to excite and cultivate new audiences for independent film. It uses the power of cinema to promote broader cultural understanding, inspire curiosity and enhance awareness of shared stories and values across generations, religions, ethnicities and borders.

This edition brings two films to Kolkata: Difret,along with its Producer MehretMandefro and Little White Lie, with its Director Lacey Schwartz. These are two of the eight films that were selected and mentored through Sundance Institute’s annual program. The Director of the Film Forward Initiative, Ms. Meredith Lavitt and Bethany Clarke, Manager of the Film Forward Initiative also will accompany the SFF team.

Little White Lie documents the personal story of director Lacey Schwartz as she confronts a family secret that ultimately leads her on a journey of re-discovery, grappling with her dual identity of being Black and Jewish. The power of tradition is challenged by modern law inDifret. The film tells the story of a 14-year old Ethiopian girl facing the death penalty after killing her would-be husband and a tenacious young lawyer brought to the small rural village to represent her.

Programme

All events are free and open to the public.

Monday, October 5

7:15pm Difret

Discussion with producer MehretMandefro following the film.

RabindraTirtha, New Town

Tuesday, October 6

5:30pm Little White Lie

Discussion with director Lacey Schwartz following the film.

RabindraTirtha, New Town
 

5:30pm Difret

Discussion with producer MehretMandefro following the film.

Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute 

Wednesday, October 7 

3:30pm Little White Lie

Discussion with director Lacey Schwartz following the film.

American Center

5:30pm Difret

Discussion with producer MehretMandefro following the film.

RabindraTirtha, New Town


6:30pm Little White Lie

Discussion with director Lacey Schwartz following the film.

Goethe-Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan Kolkata 

Thursday, October 8

5:30pm Filmmaker Roundtable

Film Forward Filmmakers and Sundance Alumni discuss independent cinema in India and global support.

Goethe-Institut/Max Mueller BhavanKolkata 

6:30pm Difret

Goethe-Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan Kolkata




Day 1 - October 5

Inaugural Programme, Screening of Difret, followed by conversation with producer MehretMandefro

Press Interview



Day 2 - October 6

Screening of Little White Lie Q & A at the Department of Mass Communication, St. Xavier’s College, Park Street, Kolkata

Little White Lie, directed by Lacey Schwartz, was screened at the Department of Mass Communication at St.Xavier’s College, Kolkata, and was attended by the students and the faculty. Following the screening, Ms. Meredith Lavitt, Director of the Film Forward Initiative of Sundance Institute introduced the program and briefed the students about the new genre of independent films that it supports, which has included many from India such as The Lunchbox and Amrita.


Sundance Institute Film Forward Initiative Director Ms. Meredith Lavitt introduces the program.

Director Lacey Schwartz spoke about the film as the product of her quest for identity, which was a prolonged internal struggle after years of living in denial. Responding to questions from students about the film making process, Lacey admits that having conversations on uncomfortable issues with her family, and that too being filmed, did come with its share of difficulties. She also spoke about the relationship between the director and editor, which is a give and take- which on one hand should give power to the editor, while also providing sufficient direction to the editor in order to end up with the narrative that was envisaged.


Director of Little White Lie, Lacey Schwartz talks about the film making process.

Screening of Difret with Q & A at iLead (Institute of Leadership, Entrepreneurship and Development, Kolkata)
Difret, produced by MehretMandefro, was screened at iLead, Tangra, Kolkata, and was attended by the students and the faculty.


Briefing about the program at iLEAD.


The Q &A session at iLEAD


A student asks a question during the interaction with MehretMandefro
Screening of Little White Lie at RabindraTirtha, New Town, Kolkata


Director Lacey Schwartz talks to the audience on her film at RabindraTirtha, New Town

Day 3 - October 7


Satyajit Ray Film & Television Institute, Kolkata.

Screening of Little White Lie followed by the Masterclass

The screening was followed by a Masterclasson creative producing. Present at the screening were Ms. Lacey Schwartz, Director of Little White Lie, Ms.Meredith Lavitt, Director of the Sundance Film Forward and Ms.MehretMandefro, producer, Difret and moderated by Prof AmareshChakrabourtty

The student audience also had questions about why each of them chose the narrative format they did- whether fiction or documentary. The engrossing master class was thrown open for Q/A .

Screening of Little White Lie at the American Centre, Middleton Street, Kolkata

While the screening was in progress for a mostly student audience, Lacey Schwatz and Meredith Lavitt separately had a ‘meet the press’ session.

This was followed by a general Q&A session with the audience about Little White Lie.

6.30 pm: Screening of Little White Lie at Max Mueller Bhavan, Kolkata

Ms. Meredith Lavitt spoke about the power of storytelling to bring audiences together.

Following the screening, Ms. Lacey Schwartz responded to queries from the audience, particularly about making a personal film and getting the family to talk on camera, when they weren’t otherwise talking to each other in the first place. She also spoke about her decision not to turn it into a larger socio-political issue, and of rather keeping it at the level of a personal search for belonging and identity.

Day 4 - October 8


Filmmaker’s Roundtableand Screening of Difret, Max Mueller Bhavan, Kolkata

ShriNilotpalMajumdar, DRI, introduced the Sundance FF initiative as an effort to engage with young audiences around the world, and the filmmakers’ roundtable as means by which eminent local film makers could interact with the Sundance team and the Director/Producer of the films that are touring Kolkata.

Ms. Meredith Lavitt, Director of the Sundance Film Forward initiative explained that the objective of this programme is to discuss the realities of creative producing, and to provide a support system for film makers that would make such creative endeavours sustainable. Its purpose is to keep aside local anguishes for a while and understand the international market and gain wisdom from it. Sundance Institute is interested in understanding local realities, while at the same time, is looking for new modes of working together. Meredith Lavitt then introduced Lacey Schwatz and MehretMandefro, adding that they had worked on each other’s films, which makes their combination unique.


Meredith Lavitt, Director of the Sundance Film Forward, gives a background about the program.

Bethany Clarke, Manager of the FF initiative explained the various kinds of support available under the Sundance program.
Bethany Clarke, Manager of the FF initiative, explains the kinds of support available under the program

This was followed by an introduction of the participants at the filmmaker’s roundtable.


Filmmaker' roundtable : Putting local anguishes aside and gaining understanding of the international creative producing



The Roundtable was followed by the screening of Difret.







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