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Borderland Narratives film festival gets on the roll in RGU

GUWAHATI: Borderland Narratives, the three-day Festival of Films from Contemporary Northeast India was inaugurated here on Saturday at the Rajiv Gandhi University (RGU) campus by lamas of the Thuntan Gatselling Gonpa, Itanagar who performed invocation chants as a way of blessing.

Nineteen filmmakers representing the eight States in the region have arrived at the festival to share their films and to have extended interactions with the audience.

Speaking on the occasion, Chief Patron of the Festival and RGU Vice-Chancellor, Prof Saket Kushwaha while expressing happiness to be a part of the programme, commended the partnering organizations for the initiative. Elaborating on the role that cinema has on society, he said that films have the real potential for bringing out the ‘post-truth’. “On the one hand, they bring out the practices and the truth from the past and from the existing cultures, and on the other, they also bring out trends to the people and we learn a lot from that”, Prof. Kushwaha said.

Citing the example of the cartoon character ‘Popeye the Sailor’, he narrated how a film can be convincing just like the cartoon convinced and encouraged children to eat spinach instead of fast food.

Sometimes, when we compare the impact that filmmakers have on audiences, we realize that films reach out as a very powerful medium. So we really need to salute the work that filmmakers do in the pursuit of their art, the VC said, adding that the University to the fullest would support this initiative of the film festival.

Richa Negi, Regional Director, Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts, NERC, Guwahati expressed pleasure and gratitude to be a part of the important event, saying “it is a landmark in itself”. INGCA has established several regional centres all over the country like the one in Guwahati, she said, adding that it concentrates on the tradition and cultural practices in the region by which the centre can conduct research, surveys and publications of films and also documentation.

“At the moment IGNCA is in the process of signing MoUs with various Universities all over the country to conduct study in areas of mutual interest”, she said adding that the IGNCA was looking forward for a long term collaboration with Rajiv Gandhi University.

Prof Simon John, Director AITS and Festival Director, while welcoming the filmmakers and other dignitaries said the aim of this festival is to bring the filmmakers from the region together on one platform.

Introducing Borderland Narratives 2019, Festival Director Moji Riba saluted the filmmakers who are attending the festival and said that art has a responsibility to shape the way society evolves. He elaborated that the main idea of having the festival has to see how stories of our cultural heritage and of our lives in the present are narrated in new forms and innovative idioms.

On the opening day, films that were screened included Those Songs and Lullabies I Used To Sing by Kombong Darang (CFEL, RGU), Loktak Lairembee by Haobam Paban Kumar (Manipur), Nana by Tiemsumuk Aier (Nagaland), Songs of the Blue Hills by Utpal Borpujari (Assam) and Ralang Road by Karma Takapa (Sikkim).

The festival is organized by the Arunachal Institute of Tribal Studies (AITS) RGU in collaboration with Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, NERC, Guwahati with CCRD, Mishmi Takin, Centre for Endangered Languages and the Department of Mass Communication RGU are festival partners.

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