Change Chitra is 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. 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 reveal untold stories.
The filmmakers’ technical training was supported by the US Embassy New Delhi. ChangeChitra is being implemented by Video Volunteers, an international media and human rights organization. Video Volunteers promotes community media to enable citizens to take action on critical issues, and is one of the world’s largest alternative media platforms. VV’s training partner for the implementation of ChangeChitra is the MY HERO Project of California, which uses media, art and technology to celebrate the best of humanity, one story at a time.
ChangeChitra Film Festivals
ChangeChitra is organizing at least five film festivals in Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Chennai and Kolkata in Feburary – March 2020, where the films will premiere. Want to attend the festival? Watch this space for more details! We’re also looking for film societies, NGOs and student groups to collaborate with on the festivals. Be in touch if you’d like to promote independent documentary filmmaking in your area with Change Chitra.
Highlights from the Change Chitra film collection
‘2nd November’ | By – Indranee Kalita and Vikramjit Barua from Assam – 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’ | By – Shikha Kumari, Aishwarya Ashok & Mohit Arora from Tamil Nadu – 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’ | By – Ajeet Kumar, SM Zafar & Shah Faisal from Bihar – 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’ | By – Dewanshi Patil, Abhiraj Dethe & Rohini Pawar from Pune – Beyond the do’s and don’ts of hinterland India, a woman rebel fights back – one punch at a time.
‘Avalokanam’ | By – Dheeraj Aithal & Siddhartha Reddy from Bengaluru – 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’ | By – Abinash Padhan, Rajesh Gupta, Dasrathi Behera, Bideshini Patel & Pranay Manjari from Odisha – 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 to 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’ | By – Athmaja Biju & SahanRaj from Kerala – Karthyayani Amma of Cheppad village took up pen for the first time when she was 94 in 2017. 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’ | By – Debgopal Mondal, Ujjwal Mukherjee & Tanay from West Bengal – A survivor of trafficking turned activist who rescues young girls and women in the southern region of West Bengal, near India – Bangladesh border, saving more than 1200 children as of now.
‘Between Sky and Earth’ | By – Neha Nahata and Dibyajyoti Nath from Assam – 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’ | By – Karina Monteiro, Priyanka Jain, Priyanka Mangela, Sameeksha Jain and Pawan Soni – 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’ | By – Ryan Lobo, Deepti Vashishtha, Devidas Gaonkar and Joy from Goa – 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!
‘Nobody Knows!’ | By – Ananya Pandey, Parij Borgohain from Telangana – 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’ | By – Rana Prathap, Jogi Raju, Puli Sudheer and Jagdish Kumar from Andhra Pradesh – 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’ | By – Aatur Sharma, Vikas Yadav, Ashish Kumar, Alya Ekta, Mohd. Wazid and Ankita Menon from Delhi – 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’ | By – Arpita Singh, Mohd. Zeeshan, Mohd. Ragib and Madhuri Chauhan from UP – Guddi and Kanchi live in Uttar Pradesh & struggle to survive as Eunuchs in the society. In ancient times when Eunuchs were considered above men or women, they struggle for their basic human rights and acceptance in today’s world.
‘Kashmir Issue’ | By – Rayees Ahmed Sofi, Pir Azhar, Syed Shahriyar, Javaid Kazmi and Sharaz Sikander from Jammu & Kashmir – It’s the environment, stupid! – Srinagar’s Dal Lake has shrunk by 36% in the last 3 decades due to encroachment and poor waste management. The increased influx of tourists and Amarnath pilgrims has been contributing to environmental hazards.
‘She is married; not dead’ | Made By – Pranay Manjari and Abinash Padhan from Odisha – 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 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
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
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, worked in over 45 commercials with few of the better known Indian and foreign production houses.
Professionals he has work 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.