Persistence Resistance, a festival of short films and documentaries, returns to Delhi’s cultural calendar after an absence in 2013 with a changed perspective. Unlike the hundred films — many playing on the loop — that made up its line-up in previous years, the festival is now focusing on conversations with directors, with the number of screenings restricted to 24. Over the next four days, Persistence Resistance will host eight sessions with filmmakers, with three films by each filmmaker being screened daily.
“We decided to shift from screening-based to a conversation-based festival after observing that, in most festivals, sessions with filmmakers are relegated to the sidelines. There is a need for filmmakers and viewers to interact on practice, methodology and technological changes in filmmaking, circulation and viewing among others,” says Gargi Sen of Magic Lantern, the organisation behind Persistence Resistance.
Started in 2008 to showcase non-mainstream cinema revolving around issues such as human rights, displacement and gender politics from India and abroad, Persistence Resistance has kept its curatorial stress on thought-provoking films unchanged. The screenings this year include A Stranger in my Native Land, Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam’s film on the latter’s first-ever visit to Tibet, the homeland which his parents fled 40 years ago, and Naata, about two activists whose work involves conflict resolution in areas such as Dharavi, Mumbai’s and Asia’s largest slum. Some of the other highlights:
The inaugural film Kya Hua Iss Sheher Ko? is an important part of the political canon in India. It revolves around the 1984 communal violence in Hyderabad and unravels layers of power play and politics of economics and marginalisation, among others. The film was restored and digitised by the Living Archive Project of the Arsenal Institute for Film and Video Art in Berlin and re-released in June last year.
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On Monday, veterans Deepa Dhamija, whose films focus on strong female stories, and Navroze Contractor, cinematographer of many award-winning films, will discuss “Subject and Power” while Surabhi Sharma, who has made Bidesia in Bambai, about migrant labourers from UP and Bihar in Mumbai, will share her perspectives on subaltern realities. Among other speakers will be Jabeen Merchant, who won an award for Best Editor at MIFF and will discuss the “Craft of Editing”.
Not just Films
The festival opens with the Delhi launch of Project Cinema City, a book that explores Mumbai through its cinema. Delhi-based theatre group Tadpole Repertory will present Vicky, a performance piece on cinema.
Persistence Resistance will be held at Max Mueller Bhavan, India International Centre and Khoj Studios till February 20.