Sunday, June 13, 2010

Annie Zaidi's account of the WAVE showcase in Bombay on June 5

The evening began with eating! Sapna and other WAVE people were setting up the screen, while Angana and a friend of theirs laid out food and drink on a table. Those of us who'd shown up early began to tuck in.
Then Sapna introduced WAVE and ran us all through a presentation on what it was all about. Several short films were screened - I believe, there was one each to represent each of the girls had participated in the training program and become a video blogger in their own state.
After the screening, there was a discussion. There were several people present - at least thirty or forty, I think - and each one gave his/her own input. Most people just reacted to the films - some praised the effort and some named specific films that stood out in their view. Some people wondered why there wasn't more of the blogger (videographer?) and her persona in the films we saw.
I (Annie) raised the point of blogging itself - as a continuous process and not just uploading a short film now and then - and that the women could be trained to turn into bloggers, apart from just thinking of filming ideas and events.
There was a lot of discussion about the importance of documentation - of cultures and the way our society is changing. There were suggestions about the archival value of such footage and how it could be sold to universities, particularly the schools abroad since they do include video in their libraries. There was also some talk of how news wire services or TV channels could be approached to establish links between the women and a 'distributor' of sorts. However, it was pointed out that most of the women were not really professionals and had day jobs that kept them fairly busy. Nor are their primary concerns necessarily 'newsy'.
An artist suggested that the videos be turned into an art installation. Some of the films' editors were present and they also commented on how the process of editing had been for them. Mostly positive comments, but there was concern that the training seemed to have equipped the women only up to a point and creative skills were not much in evidence.
There was a lot of animated discussion about creativity and story-telling and how the participants needed additional workshopping to come up with fresh ideas and new ways of tackling their subjects, even within the non-fiction format.

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