A Youth-organized Film Festival

Stalin and I returned to India from six weeks in the States four days ago, to a great scene in Drishti's office. About a dozen young college students were singing one after the other folk songs from India and the West. They were auditioning for a place in a Peace Film Festival that VV's partner Drishti puts on. Drishti has been running a Peace Film Festival in Ahmedabad for two years now, the first film festival ever in the entire state of Gujarat with its 60 million people. They show films from around the world on the subject of peace, an important theme in Gujarat which witnessed terrible communal (ie, religiously-based) riots in 2002. The great thing about this festival is that it is entirely run by youth volunteers, who are part of Drishti's Nazariya program.  Nazariya runs film clubs in 15 colleges in Ahmedabad, which are really a vehicle to get the polarized youth of the city volunteering, and thinking about peace and identity and who they want to be when they grow up.  These young volunteers run the whole festival themselves, and even select the films. I'm excited to see what kinds of films these young people select--its safe to say don't know a whole lot about film festival curating! But that will make it much more interesting and authentically from the perspective of the youth. Written by Jessica Mayberry, Founding Director of Video Volunteers.

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