The morning session featured the works of Jabeen Merchant, an acclaimed editor who recently won the ‘Best Editor’ award in the ‘International Category’ at the Mumbai International Film Festival, 2014. The conversation, titled ‘The Craft of Editing’, found Jabeen Merchant in dialogue with filmmakers Rahul Roy and Surabhi Sharma. The filmmakers engaged Jabeen and the audience in a lively and entertaining discussion about her preferred style of working and the unique personal self she brings to the films she edits.
Jabeen, whose intensely collaborative working style has added new dimensions to the films of many documentary filmmakers, stated that she finds it unproductive to abide by scripts. To her, the script is a restrictive element and stymies the creativity that emerges from pure discussion. A member of the audience remarked at her skill at ‘holding a mirror’ to the directors. On this note, Surabhi Sharma shared an anecdote from a decade ago. Surabhi had been explaining the value of a certain shot from ‘Jari Mari’ when Jabeen retorted saying ‘I just don’t see it!’ Rahul Roy ended the conversation by stating the importance of a shared vision and collaboration with editors. The morning session ended with a screening of Rahul Roy’s ‘Till We Meet Again’.
The afternoon session which featured the works of Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam, was an introspective guide which explored the filmmaking team’s search to find their ‘self’ through their films. Transporting the audience into the world of Indo-Tibet, the session began with a screening of ‘The Shadow Circus – The CIA in Tibet’.
The conversation titled ‘Memories of Tibet’ evoked in the audience a sense what it means to be exiled and that search for character. With Latika Gupta’s interrogative discours into the circumstances that brought together the filmmaking couple, the grounds for the team’s intensely collaborative and complementary practice emerged. Tenzing admitted that for a vast majority of Tibetan exiles, coming to terms with the realities of Tibet as opposed to the imagined homeland is often difficult and this has become a recurring theme in their work. Explaining their recent foray into feature films, Ritu Sarin said that the format allows the team to convey much more by way of narratives and emotions than through a standard documentary.
Expanding their vision to find character and the homeland, White Crane Films has instituted the Dharmshala International Film Festival. Brinin the audience back from the global entanglements, the final screening of the afternoon focused on the intimate personal life of Hari, a taxi driver and his family’s life in ‘When Hari Got Married’.
The evening session began with the screening of Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam’s ‘A Stranger in my Native Land’. The audience were privy to the WORLD PREMIERE of R. V. Ramani’s latest film – ‘Hindusthan Hamara (This Country is Ours)’, a film of the growing personal relationship between Ramani and veteran Indian filmmaker Anand Patwardhan. The evening ended with an impromptu conversation with R. V. Ramani and a huge round of applause.