1. DIFF 2012 - Day 4 highlights


  2. DIFF 2012 - Day 3 highlights!


  3. Gitanjali Rao on animation

    On the 4th afternoon, Gitanjali Rao lead a discussion on animation. The discussion was interspersed with three of Rao’s brilliant short films: Blue, Orange and Printed Rainbow. She has used a different technique for each of her films, and not having a ‘signature style’ has in a way become her signature.

    Rao graduated as a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Sir J. J. Institute of Applied Art, Mumbai. Interested in filmmaking, she found animation to be the perfect medium of expression. She spoke about the importance of storyboarding for animators, but also emphasized the need to avoid going overboard with details, which can lengthen production time.

    Her film Printed Rainbow is a 15 min short about a lonely old woman who escapes into the colourful and fantastical world of her matchbox cover art. The film premiered at Cannes 2006, Critic’s Week and went on to win the award for the Best Short film. When asked about the inspiration for the protagonist’s (old woman’s) matchbox collection, Rao said that she had been looking for something that would give a peek into the different art forms & places in India. Matchbox cover art provided the perfect solution. Since the release of the film, fans have been gifting her matchboxes from all over the country!

    Speaking about difficulty in raising funding for animation films in India, she mentioned that while things have improved since her first film in the mid 90’s, the long production time of the medium is still keeping most producers away. She had to stop work on Girgit as she ran out of funds for production. You can see extracts from Girgit here. She is now working on LoveStory2012 which is scheduled to release in 2014. The film is being produced by Shaan Vyas, who is also here at DIFF as producer of Kshay. LoveStory2012 deals with the impact and monstrosity of Bollywood.


  4. Final Panel Discussion Deep and Enriching

    Around 30 people gathered together for the final panel discussion of DIFF, “Films from the Frontline.”  Afghan artist Aman Mojadidi moderated the discussion with Cairo-based Karim el Hakin, Israeli Guy Davidi, American Jennifer Fox, and Malaysian Dain Said, all of whom have made intensely personal films based in conflict zones throughout the world.  All panelists expressed that their films occur where people have a deep sense of rootedness to physical and cultural spaces; often, it is this sense of attachment to space that serves as an impetus for conflict.  Said explained that a central theme in all of his films is the relationship between people and their landscape.  He spoke specifically of Bunohan (Return to Murder), screened the previous day at DIFF, set on the Malaya-Thai border and the conflict between the traditional, animistic, land-based worldview and the newer Islamic and Buddhist paradigms to influence the region.  Mojadidi suggested that the globalization of the past two decades has created an increasing sense of “rootlessness” that causes individuals to gravitate toward more traditional worldviews and potentially heightens conflict in a rapidly changing world.  ½ Revolution co-director Karim el Hakin explained that this fragmentation of worldviews is reflective of the “divide and conquer, us vs. them mentality,” present in all areas of conflict.  5 Broken Cameras co-director Guy Davidi affirmed the statement, saying this is a partial explanation for the increasing “collision of identities” in our world. 

    The conversation then moved to a discussion of the role of the filmmaker in documenting and representing conflict through their work.  While the panelists expressed the idea that one must have a certain distance from a subject in order to accurately represent it, they uniformly rejected the idea that a filmmaker should be completely “objective.”  “The point isn’t to be really objective; the point is to be engaged and subjective,” said el Hakin.  Fox added that she believed it was essential to embrace one’s subjective, emotional experience of a situation and represent it as faithfully as possible in the film. 

    The discussion lasted for two and a half hours and easily could have easily gone on late into the night, as audience members continued to engage the filmmakers with probing questions about their craft and perspectives.  The audience left feeling enriched from the discussion and continued their conversations as they filed into rickshaws waiting to drive them to screening of Miss Lovely. 


  5. Engaged Audience at Animation Workshop

    November 4, the final day of DIFF, corresponded with the screening of two short animated films followed by a discussion and class, “Baking Animation in an Artist’s Studio,”  lead by artist and animation filmmaker Aditi Chitre.   An international audience of more than 40 participants attended the screenings and ensuing class.  The first film screened was the 12-minute Japanese film Vestige of Life followed by Chitre’s 26-minute film Journey to Nagaland.  The two films were selected to illustrate the great diversity possible within the animation genre.  Chitre told how she was inspired to make her film following a holiday she made to Nagaland, when she first became exposed to the history of violence in the region, as well as the great geographical and cultural beauty.  While in Nagaland, she developed a discomfort with the camera and the documentation of the Naga people’s personal stories, feeling that the camera invaded private space.  Animation provided a valuable tool for representing the culture and geography of Nagaland while avoiding the violation of the Naga people’s privacy. 

    She further explained that animation allows filmmakers to create scenes that might not be feasible in live-action cinema.  For example, the blue hills and vibrant stars animated in her film would have required an excellent camera and cinematographer, neither of which she had access to during her time in Nagaland.  To the aspiring animation filmmakers in the audience, she recommended exploring the medium in a rudimentary way and conceiving of animation software only as a secondary tool.  She showed slides illustrating techniques she used in the creation of Journey to Nagaland, such as the use of cardboard boxes and the creation of shadows with candlelight.  She ended the class by explaining her personal love the genre: “[Animation] married all my interests: painting, sound and story-telling.”  She encouraged participants to experiment with the medium and recognize the possibilities afforded through animation.  


  6. TIPA gate, entrance to DIFF headquarters.


  7. Indian goodies in TIPA courtyard for DIFF participants.  


  8. Shahid director Hansal Mehta discusses DIFF in TIPA courtyard.


  9. Audience member engages a director during Q&A session.


  10. Tibetan performer entertaining DIFF participants between screenings.