Harkat 16mm Film Festival Harkat 16mm Film Festival

Note on Programming

It happened about a decade ago, ‘film’ as a medium was discarded by the film industry, almost overnight. Decades worth of knowledge, equipment and processes were put aside and the craft of ‘making’ a film was sealed shut in boxes, forgotten in storage. The digital age brought on the beautiful democratisation of the moving image, but there was one casualty: its medium. 

An entire generation of makers slowly realized that along with the tools of the craft, they also lost a large trove of meticulous artistic processes, built with each successive maker. ‘Would a painter be able to make the same work without oils and canvas?’, quipped one young filmmaker. 

‘India on film’ investigates the relationship between the art and craft of making on ‘film’ through a series of film screenings, workshops and installations. The intent is to highlight the shift caused by the dismemberment of a medium through changes in narrative techniques by celebrating experiments on film from the Indian subcontinent.

The curatorial spreads its net wide and takes you through Films Division documentaries, narratives from art history and contemporary works from a multitude of conscious filmmakers working in the Indian context.

India on film celebrates Indian experiments on film, giving centerstage to a medium, still very much alive in the world. It seeks to highlight the deliberation in the ‘making’ of moving images. It seeks to intervene in the historical narratives in film studies and to bring the medium back in focus.

This programme acknowledges the work of the many artists and researchers who have consistently contributed to the discourse – the work of Experimenta India, Amrit Gangar, Films Division of India, the many independent film clubs across India and all the proponents of Cinema of Prayoga who have informed and guided us in presenting ‘India on Film’.

India on Film is a collaboration with Serendipity Arts Festival in Goa, from 15 to 22nd December, 2019.

Workshops

Ek Minute Film

Presenting a case for 16mm film is akin to presenting a case for cinema itself. Everything from experimental film to cinéma vérité documentaries to pornography was created with this medium. The digitalisation of cinema has led to celluloid film being pushed aside. Despite this, the medium still holds a special place for those interested in cinema. Now mostly outside mainstream institutional guidelines, working with 16mm allows for artistic freedom and experimentation. Engaging with film today represents more than just indulging in nostalgia. It allows the participant a chance to explore a visual language that is specific to the medium.

At this years Serendipity Arts Festival, Harkat Studios will enable an opportunity for filmmakers to engage with a now classical technique. We will be conducting a 16mm film workshop that will allow Goan filmmakers a chance to create their own 1 minute silent, short film. For any filmmaker wishing for a chance to grow and challenge themselves, the 16mm film workshop provides a unique opportunity to realise their ideas on 40 feet of film.

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Found Footage Workshop

The practice of using found objects to create a work of art finds its origins in dadaist art movements of the 20th century and was perfected by Marcel Duchamp with his ready-mades. Avant-garde filmmakers adopted the practice using found film footage. The process of assemblage became a means for filmmakers to critique the spirit of their time.

At the Serendipity Arts Festival, Harkat presents an opportunity for filmmakers to work with found footage and to reimagine and reconstruct it. This will be a complete ‘jugaad’ workshop without institutional rules allowing participants anarchy in form and concept; to open their minds to the medium and to the ideas it evokes. These films will be screened at the end of the festival.

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Installations

16mm Selfie

Film has always been exclusive. This year, Harkat attempts to challenge this with the 16mm Selfie booth. In this installation, we invite participants to experience a part of the film process by bringing the carnival-like environment of a selfie-booth into an artspace. Muqaddar ka Sikandar The act of working with celluloid film is not very different than any other craft. This installation positions the participant in the shoes of the maker, the manipulator and the master of this time based media. In a world saturated with moving image, this confronts the viewer with a question – what is the primal nature of time?

Sophia Ashraf: Space Interventions

Sophia Ashraf, a rap artist, will perform to experimental 16mm films projected live. These films were created for a selection of her songs The performances will occur as space interventions at multiple Serendipity venues across Goa, watch out for them!

Sophia Ashraf is an activist, digital content creator, rapper and writer with over 10 years of experience in the fields of advertising and communication. Her primary media of choice are music and comedy. Brought up in an extremely orthodox and muslim household, Sophia’s primary objective is to help girls like her fight years of social conditioning and moral policing to heed their true calling.

Screenings

India on Film | Schedule

‘India on film’ attempts to put together a selection of experiments by Indian filmmakers in the celluloid medium.

India on Film | Schedule

15 December 2019, Sunday

Syzygy
Akbar Padamsee
16 mm / 16 mins / 1970
Projection: Digital

The film opens with a line that stubbornly refuses to be fixed in a circle. The film is a stop-motion animation created out of nearly 1,000 drawings Padamsee made, advancing visually a mathematical theory for ‘programming forms’.

Events in a Cloud Chamber
Ashim Ahluwalia
16 mm, Super 8 mm / 23 mins / 2016
Projection: 35 mm

In 1969, Akbar Padamsee made a film called ‘Events in a Cloud Chamber’. He tried to ‘reproduce’ one of his own oil paintings using projected light, working with tinted filters and stencils to recreate the different coloured sections of the painting. After a handful of screenings, the sole print was lost. Ashim Ahluwalia’s film, which is a collaboration with the ageing painter, is a quest to retrieve Padamsee’s film, which exists now only as an indistinct and quickly fading memory.

16 December, Monday

A selection of Handmade Films | Pre-screening
Projection: 16 mm

A selection of handmade films made by artists, students, enthusiasts and filmmakers. These were created as part of two handmade filmmaking workshops; at the Experimenta-Labor Berlin in Bangalore and at the the Harkat workshop in Mumbai.

Arrival 
Mani Kaul
16mm / 20 mins / 1979
Projection: Digital

The film explores the product-commodity-exchange value relationship and looks at the continuous, relentless migration of people, labour and things into the city.

17 December, Tuesday

Kalighat Athikatha
Ashish Avikuntak
16 mm / 22 mins / 1999
Projection: 16 mm

This film attempts to negotiate with the duality that is associated with the ceremonial veneration of the mother goddess Kali – the presiding deity of Calcutta. It delves into subliminal layers of consciousness, underlying the ritual of Kali worship.

Brihnnlala Ki Khelkali
Ashish Avikuntak
16 mm / 18 mins / 2002
Projection: 16 mm

Shakespearean theatricality meets the subtlety of Kathakali subverted in the dramatic space of street theatre to give birth to performative ‘Caliban-Khelkali’ – a hybrid act of articulating the post-colonial irony of contemporary India.

18 December, Wednesday

Films Division Pre- screening
A selection of short films by the Films Division of India from 1948- 1975.

Nostalgia for the Future
Avijit Mukul Kishore and Rohan Shivkumar
16mm, Digital / 54 mins / 2017

Projection: Digital
A film on Indian modernity, the making of a citizen and the architecture of a home. The film explores these spaces and imagines the bodies that were meant to inhabit them through the evocation of the cinematic and aural collective memory of a nation.

This Bit of That India
S.N.S Sastry
16 mm / 19 mins 54 secs / 1972
Projection: Digital

A layered reflection on youth culture, diversity, progress, education, technology and sexuality. The film juxtaposes documentary moments that celebrate individual freedom with a theatrical performance of Federico Garcia Lorca’s The House of Bernarda Alba, as a metaphor for repression and conformity.

I Am Twenty
S.N.S Sastry
16 mm / 20 mins / 1967
Projection: Digital

Twenty years after India’s independence, the film maker travels all over the country and interviews the youth that were born on Independence day in 1947.

19 December, Thursday

Films Division Pre- screening
A selection of short films by the Films Division of India from 1948- 1975.

18 (+2) Blinks of an eye
Anuradha Chandra
16 mm / 23 mins / 2004
Projection: 16 mm

The film is a process-based work that sets out to explore the nature of time – real time, mechanical time and filmic time. The film takes the form of a journey from the everyday outside to a dark interiority towards discovery and freedom.

Kaal Abhirati
Amitabh Chakroborty
35 mm / 120 mins / 1989
Projection: Digital
A film about the physical experience of time.

20 December, Friday

Yet In Him We Trust 
S.N.S Sastry
16 mm / 1 min / 1966
Projection: Digital
Experimental film on the theme—Man and His World.

Devi stuffed goat & pink cloth 
Panchal Mansaram
16 mm / 16 mins / 1967
Projection: Digital

An assortment of impressionistic vignettes from the city of Bombay – a place he calls “collage in motion” – strung together by the pervading presence of the beautiful lady of the title, her stuffed goat and a piece of pink cloth, this project tries to comprehend a city partly through its extraordinary human specimen, decrepit objects and familiar images.

The Voice of God
Bernd Lützeler
35 mm / 9 mins 35 secs / 2011
Projection: 35 mm

If God came down to earth and tried to earn a living in Bombay, he would probably become a successful voice over artiste very soon, lending his voice to thousands of hindi movies, documentaries and public service films in India. A melo-dramatic docu-drama stop-motion and long-time exposure.

21 December, Saturday

Afternoon Clouds 
Payal Kapadia
35 mm / 13 mins / 2016
Projection: Digital

Kaki is a 60 year old widow who lives with her Nepali maid, Malti. The film takes place one afternoon in their house where a flower blossoms in the balcony. Malti meets a boy (a sailor) from her hometown unexpectedly.

I Am Micro
Shai Heredia and Shumona Goel
35mm, Digital / 14 mins / 2011
Projection: Digital

The camera finds its way through corridors of deserted film laboratories, dilapidated cinemas and a low-budget film crew set. Digital technology is replacing conventional film techniques and equipment at an amazing rate in India, resulting in a substantial part of the cinematic heritage being lost.

Ek-Minute Film | Handmade Films
Projection: 16 mm
Films made as part of the Handmade Film — Ek-Minute Film workshop at the Serendipity Arts Festival.

22 December, Sunday

An Old Dog’s Diary
Shai Heredia and Shumona Goel
16mm, Super 8, HD / 11 mins / 2015

Projection: Digital
An Old Dog’s Diary assembles, in puzzle-piece evocations, a portrait of Indian avant-garde painter Francis Newton Souza. The film links fragments of his writings, letters and drawings that are charged with memories of an unsettled life.

Nainsukh
Amit Dutta
35 mm / 75 mins / 2010
Projection: Digital
Depicts in a very delicate manner the spirit of the art of a great miniature painter Nainsukh. Inspired by the amazing work of the 18th century Indian painter from a small hill state and his biography, the story revolves around the master’s passions and devotions.

Hip-Hop/ Rap with found footage: Sofia Ashraf
Projection: 16 mm
A selection of five 16mm experimental films, performed live by rap artist Sofia Ashraf.

Ek-Minute Film | Handmade Films
Projection: 16 mm
Films made as part of the Handmade Film — Ek-Minute Film workshop at the Serendipity Arts Festival.