Date: January 2, 2020
Publication: Pune Mirror
Author: Navjyoti Dalal
Films, workshops, talks, trails, eco-warriors, and river clean-up activities are all a part of the Kirloskar Vasundhara Film Festival this week
Around the world, the process of climate change is now being identified as 'climate crisis', and this is driving the multi-pronged approach that Kirloskar Vasundhara Film Festival(KVIFF) is taking sensities people into action. This year, KVIFF is focussing on cleaning the city's Ramnadi river, and along with films on environment and ecology, extensive panel discussions and talk, the festival is also hosting eco-trails, workshops, talks, performances and more.
The 14th edition of the annual festival begins this week. The event puts a spotlight on environment, and its theme, 'No to plastic, Yes to Earth', is inspired by the United Nations Environment Programme's Beat Plastic Pollution movement. "Plastic pollution is a big monster to take on. We focused on awareness last year; this year is dedicated to action-oriented programmers against plastic, particularly single-use plastic," explain Virendra Chitrav, festival director of KVIFF.
Films are the backbone of KVIFF, because, as Chitrav explains, the medium is most effective in addressing the climate crisis and mobilising people. "Fourteen years ago, when we started KVIFF, headlines and discussions centred on global warming. Many 'experts' said that global warming was not an issue for India and Asia, owing to the rich biodiversity of the subcontinent," says Chitrav, adding that a decade-and-a-half later, anyone can spot the visible impressions of climate change. "From Himalayas to Deccan, the repercussions are everywhere to be seen," he adds. The films being screened at KVIFF highlight this, including Biju Pankaj's The Loss of Western Ghats, on effects of deforestation on the habitat of the lion-tailed macaque in Western Ghats, and Morgan Heim's End of Snow.
Other cinematic highlights at the five-day festival include the opening film, Vijay Bedi,s amusing and interesting documentary Policing Langur, which also won the Green Oscar; National Award winning Secret Life of Frogs by Ajay and Vijay Bedi; Kokota - The Islet of Hope by Craig Norris, featuring climate change heroes on an islet off Africa's east coast; Manas - Return of the Giants by Praveen Singh, on endangered animals in manas NAtional Park, Assam; Ruchi Shrivastava and Sumit Khanna's documentary on Chipko Movement's pioneer Chandi Prasad Bhatt, The Man Who Dwarfed the Mountain; and the festival's closing film, The Python Code by Andreas Ewels, a documentary on snake skin trade fuelled by the fashion industry. the 125 films being screened at KVIFF are curated by CMS Vatavaran, and they feature a variety of languages including English, Hindi, German, Marathi and Bangla.
A mini-film festival will be held at city colleges as part of KVIFF. The list includes short films such as Save the Dugong; The Guardian and the Deity; Sending Huro Home; Vikas Ka Adhar; The solar Insect Trap; and Valley of the Goats. Awarenessbuilding through the arts, lecture demonstrations and storytelling, has been a part of KVIFF's engagement with students in the city. At least 45 colleges and schools are part of its programme, which extends to initiatives such as walks in and around the city, and cleanup drives of water bodies, among others. At the festival, there will also be live painting sessions, photo walks and exhibition, competitions, an 'eco quiz', and an environmentfriendly literary meet.
This year, Vasundhara Honors, which recognises eco-warriors working across the spectrum, will felicitate environment journalist Arati Kumar Rao; ecologist and indigenous seed bank pioneer Dr Debal Deb; filmmaker Vijay Bedi; the wildlife conservationist trio from Ladakh, Khenrab Phuntsog, Tashi Tsering, and Smanla Tsering (known as Shan E Shan); and Solapur-based professor Shrinivas Vadagbalkar, who is batting river pollution. The Featured talks by Rao, Deb, Bedi and Vadagbalkar underline the importance of ideas and their ripple effects, says Chitrav.
KVIFF will be held over five days, across multiple venues. While the opening ceremony will be at Balgandharva Rangmandir, films will be screened at NFAI, Law College Road. A detailed schedule of the event is available online, on the festival website: www.kirloskarvasundharafest.in. Te festival is free and open to all, but registration online is mandatory.