ChangeChitra was a year-long mentoring program in which 60 young novice filmmakers produced 15 high-quality documentary films on social issues.
Participants in this immersive programme were provided professional equipment and learnt filmmaking and editing techniques at three residential workshops of six days each, all led by leading filmmakers. In between the workshops, participants worked in teams of three to five to research, ideate and produce compelling short documentaries, that explored India’s myriad challenges and successes from new angles and revealed untold stories. MyHero Project of California was VV’s training partner, and the filmmakers’ technical training was supported by the US Embassy New Delhi.
ChangeChitra Film Festival
In Feb and March 2020, a successful traveling festival brought the films to audiences in Mumbai, Hyderabad, Calcutta and Chennai. More than 700 people attended the screenings, that took place in 14 venues, including US Embassy venues, villages and slums connected to films, colleges and popular arts spaces across each city. The final leg of the tour, scheduled for late March in New Delhi, unfortunately, had to be cancelled due to the Covid19 pandemic.
In August 2020 the films will premiere online on Video Volunteers YouTube channel during a three day online film festival.
The ChangeChitra Film Collection
‘1st November’ | In the midst of a political turmoil and communal riot, a mother mourns the killing of her two sons, a daughter weeps for her father, and a wife describes the shootout of her husband.
‘Made In Madras’ | An 18 year old girl from the streets of Chennai, India, faces gender and caste barriers and transforms from being a child labourer to playing international football events
‘Open Defecation Failure’ | The current government claims that India will be completely Open Defecation Free by 2019, meaning toilets in every house, school and office. We peep into the harsh reality of what actually “Swachh Bharat” (Clean India) looks like. Is constructing toilets alone the solution?
‘VarshaRanga’ | Beyond the dos and don’ts of hinterland India, a woman rebel fights back – one punch at a time.
‘Avalokanam’ | An exploratory journey into the life of an organic farmer living in solitude contrasts with the chemical-fuelled agricultural society around him.
‘They call me Bideshini’ | Bideshini, a girl who begged to feed herself while she was a child, now stands up for thousands of her fellow tribals and demands they get their due rights. This film is about courage. Despite being a victim of domestic violence and substance abuse in her childhood, this inspiring young woman never gave up on life.
‘Never Too Old’ | Karthyayani Amma of Kerala’s Cheppad village held a pen for the first time in 2017 when she was 94. Soon, she became the oldest topper of Kerala’s Aksharalaksham literary exam and is celebrated as the ultimate success story from the state.
‘Manikar Manasriti’ | A survivor of trafficking turned activist who rescues young girls and women in the southern region of West Bengal, (near India – Bangladesh border), has saved more than 1200 children as of now.
‘Between Sky and Earth’ | Assam is the first state in India going through an increasing identity and citizenship crisis. Memories and songs from one of the worst pogroms since World War II, the ‘Nellie massacre’, are shared by a musician activist. Firsthand accounts from people who hover, stateless yet with hope, between sky and earth.
‘Kinaarpatti’ | In the face of rapid development, two disparate characters at the extreme ends of the luxury spectrum, and a third in between, highlight the tale of two cities of forced eviction, with the need for inclusive development for Maharashtra’s Koli Community.
‘Unnesse-caesarian’ | After an unnecessary C-section is carried out on the wife, a couple is left feeling angry and betrayed by the doctor they had put their complete trust in. The husband goes on a search to find out the truth behind why it is almost impossible to have a natural birth in hospitals these days!
‘Woman’ | The filmmaking team goes in search of the elusive Government agency responsible for reporting and developing a strategy to combat the rising crimes against women in Telangana, India.
‘Another brick in the wall’ | A young migrant worker and an underpaid graduate are just two other bricks in the wall of the system that might fall any minute. It is the quality of bricks, their arrangement and the system that holds them together that determine the nature and strength of the wall.
‘Atah Nashedi’ | This documentary takes you along to understand journey of drug addicts coming from myriad socio-economic classes. From someone living in streets to someone born in well to do families, this film shows the reality of the drugged world of Delhi. To the viewers, the underlying message is to see ones undergoing addiction empathetically in order to understand their lives and choices. People running deaddiction centres, while being into drugs once, tell their tales and share testimonies to show how transformation and getting back to life looks like.
‘MangalaMukhi’ | Guddi and Kanchi live in Uttar Pradesh & struggle to survive as eunuchs in the society. Eunuchs were considered above men or women in ancient times. However, they struggle for basic human rights and acceptance in today’s world.
‘She is married; not dead’ | Struggling to choose between the two families, married women in India are generally expected to prioritize her husband’s family over her. But what is a ‘family’ for a woman in society and how it changes with her marital status – nobody cares to ask her!
Seven leading documentary filmmakers worked with the filmmakers to teach them all aspects of documentary filmmaking.
MARC OSTRICK – LEAD TRAINER
Marc Ostrick is an Emmy-Nominated filmmaker – producing, directing and writing pioneering works for over 25 years since graduating from New York University in 1995. Marc’s recent environmental TV documentary work is part of Discovery Channel’s international SHARK WEEK franchise and has been seen by millions of people. Marc also works with the famed IMAX production company, MacGillivray Freeman Films, where he recently produced and directed all of the marketing and educational material for the award-winning STEM-themed film, DREAM BIG, which is now being distributed to every public school in the United States. Marc Ostrick’s pioneering highlights include being one of the first content creators for online videos in 1999, the first producer/director to create content for 3G mobile phones in 2005 for the hit TV show 24 (nominated for an Emmy Award). Marc’s has worked with studios, networks, and brands such as 20th Century Fox, Warner Brothers, New Line Cinema, Discovery, National Geographic, Travel Channel, Roku, Nokia and many more. Ostrick continues to focus on social good issues, with an emphasis on environment, science, technology, education and human interest stories. Learn more about Marc at Ostrick Productions. You can follow him on Instagram and Twitter at @Ostrick.
RV RAMANI – TRAINER
R V.Ramani worked as a photojournalist in Mumbai and later graduated from the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune, in 1985, with a specialization in Motion Picture Photography. In 1989, he moved to Chennai working as a cinematographer/filmmaker. Today he is one of the leading documentary filmmakers in India, who has established a unique style of his own, making independent impressionistic documentaries, which has found recognition both in India and abroad. He has traveled widely with his films, his films and Retrospectives have been presented in many International Film Festivals.
SAMARTH MAHAJAN – TRAINER
Samarth Mahajan is a non-fiction Filmmaker based in Mumbai. Self-taught in the art of filmmaking, he is passionate about telling stories from India that remain invisible to the mainstream. His documentary projects have received critical and mass attention in media. “The Unreserved”, his national award-winning debut feature documentary, premiered at Film Southasia 2017 and has been screened in more than 50 national and international forums. He is currently busy working on his upcoming film “The Borderlands”, a documentary about capturing the human side of life in the Indian borderlands, beyond our understanding of military and political relationships.
LEENA MANIMEKALAI – TRAINER
Leena Manimekalai is an independent filmmaker, poet, and an actor. Her works include five published poetry anthologies and a dozen films in genres, documentary, fiction, and experimental poem films. She has been recognised with participation, mentions and best film awards in many international and national film festivals. Her specialisation is on “Media and Conflict Resolution” and she had been a European Union Scholar in art practice. She has Commonwealth Fellowship to her credits for “Woman in Cinema” and been a Charles Wallace Scholar with School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.
AARTI SRIVASTAVA – TRAINER
Aarti Srivastava is a National award-winning environmental documentary filmmaker
Currently producing documentaries on climate change, conservation, and wildlife protection. She believes environmental films for activism helps in sensitising people of the rich environmental heritage, humanising people to conserve it for the future and at the same time act as a tool and catalyst to bring about meaningful impact.
SAURABH VISHWAKARMA – TRAINER
Saurabh Vishwakarma is a graduate of the prestigious Film and Television Institute of India, the national film studies institute of India. He started working in the industry as a Chief Assistant Cameraman or Operative Cameraman and has worked in over 45 commercials with some of the better known Indian and foreign production houses.
Some of the professionals he has worked with include International Directors of Photography like Emmanuel Lubezky (Children of Men) and Ellen Kuras (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) and Anil Mehta, Anoop Jotwani, Rafey Mahmood, Attar Singh Saini etc.
As a DP, he has shot 4 feature films, over 45 TV commercials/ Promos and 3 International Documentaries across formats.
He likes to experiment and keep the excitement on for himself and his team members, break away from the comforts of the ‘tried and tested’ while staying with and not compromising with the loyalty towards the soul and demands of the script and the subject.