Film Bazaar 2017: Awards bring quiet edition to a close; Ivan Ayr’s Soni wins accolades
As the Film Bazaar closes, here's a look at highlights from the final day
2017 has been a quiet year at Film Bazaar. But the last evening of the Bazaar — when the Film Bazaar awards are announced in an energetic closing ceremony — marked quite the change in pace.
This year, Bazaar segments like the Viewing Room had an astounding 202 films, while Film Bazaar Recommends featured 24 films and Industry Screenings saw 28 films. The Viewing Room saw more than 100 people come to watch the films that were selected.
The Prasad Digital Intermediate (DI) awards were given to Ivan Ayr’s Soni (Film Bazaar Recommends 2017) and Kannada film Balekampa (The Bangle Seller) directed by Ere Gowda (Work-In-Progress Lab 2017). The award was given by Jayprakash Naidu, executive director of Prasad Labs.
The Prasad Lab DI award (Film Bazaar Recommends) jury comprised Paolo Bertolin, programmer, Venice Film Festival; Sergio Fant, programmer, Locarno Festival; and Laurence Kardish, artistic director, Film Columbia Festival.
The Prasad Lab DI award (Work-in-Progress Lab) jury comprised Marco Mueller, director of Pingyao International Film Festival; producer Philippa Campbell, producer; consultant Olivia Stewart, and film editor Jacques Comets.
The Facebook Awards were given to Ivan Ayr’s Soni (Work-In-Progress Lab 2017) and Sandeep Modi’s Chumbak(The Lottery) (Film Bazaar Recommends 2017). The winners will be given Facebook ad credits worth $10,000 that can be used to promote their films.
However, censorship and the fear of self-censorship formed a subtext of sorts to the event itself. While Film Bazaar is a key platform for realisation of films, barely 15 minutes away, at the International Film Festival of India (IFF), the question of screening S Durga (directed by Sanal Kumar Sasidharan) remained unresolved till the last day of the festival — despite a Kerala High Court order directing the organisers to screen the film. Finally, a letter from the Thiruvanthapuram office of the CBFC, dated 28 November 2017, made clear that the film would not be screened.
The letter stated categorically that no public screening of the Malayalam film Sexy Durga can be organised during IFFI 2017 or (at) any public place until the case is reviewed. The CBFC's contention is that the film was given a U/A certificate on the basis of making changes in its title (to S Durga) and the deletion of certain words. However, the officials contend that the film's title style — 'S' followed by four oblong marks that make clear the 'exy' are being masked, and then the 'Durga' — has a different implication than the registered title (S Durga) They further termed it a violation of the Cinematograph (Certification) Rules, 1983. The letter says the film can only be exhibited once it is reviewed by their office.
Ivan Ayr's Meel Patthar depicts a trope common to Indian art cinema: Bleak portrayals of working-class protagonists
Indian cinema has generally taken upon itself to treat its working-class protagonists as victims, and physical labour as drudgery. This is essentially because the films take up social conflict as their subject and conflict produces victims.
Meel Patthar movie review: Meditational musings on the circle of life and the fellow humans we fail to notice
Meel Patthar is teeming with reflections on the new order that will eventually replace the old, the people we ignore until their suffering disturbs our comfortable status quo, despair, fear and the possibilities that open up when we simply let go.
Chaitanya Tamhane's sophomore feature The Disciple has been selected for the Competition section. Ivan Ayr’s Milestone will be shown in the Horizons section at the Venice Film Festival 2020.