August 15 - 20, 2006

"One Billion Eyes 2006", annual Indian documentary film festival

Theme for 2006 - Our Cities: the Real and the Imagined

The 'One Billion Eyes' annual Indian documentary film festival was launched in August 2005 by the Prakriti Foundation, Chennai. The aim of this festival is to promote documentary films and the filmmakers who push intellectual, political and cultural boundaries and explore issues that are relevant to the Indian context today.

This year's theme is "Our Cities: the Real and the Imagined" - the festival will be looking at cities as locations, the chosen cities being Bombay, Benares, Bhopal and Bangalore. The idea behind this kind of a theme is to look at the kinds of spaces created within these four cities, literal/ideological/imagined spaces. The city, with its specificities, its history, its local dynamics, its cultural politics - these are the kinds of explorations the festival will be hoping to make.The films screened will therefore dwell on these cities in their own ways, not restricting themselves to one idea of what the city 'is' but recognising the billion ways in which a city can be imagined.


Festival Schedule:

15th August (6-9 pm)
At Chamiers/Anokhi:

Inauguration of a photo exhibition on the Bhopal gas tragedy
Screening of Anand Patwardhan's film "Bombay: Our City" and an interactive session with the director


16th (3 pm - 9pm)
Venue: South Indian Film Chamber theatre:

Annapurna - 3:00-3:30 pm
Paromita Vohra
25 mins/Documentary/colour/Betacam/Hindi-Marathi English subtitles

The film is a portrait of a women's group named Annapurna. Started in 1975 by 14 khanawalis - women who prepare meals for migrant workers, thus earning the name food-lady. An exploration of the politics and economics of women's work, the film is a tribute to the fearless women who started Annapurna, and the feisty women who carry it on.

Dandyat Ram Nahi - 3:30-3:55 pm
Sunil Shanbag

Closer to Reality - 4:00-4:30
Produced by 'We for Bhopal'
Directors: Sumit, Shubham, Kadambari
2005/India/English and Hindi/24 mins 7 secs

In October, 2004, 14 students from Delhi University visited Bhopal on a fact-finding mission. Four members of the team carried a handy cam with which they videotaped the trip; this was then shaped into the film. The film reaches out to youth with the important message that "many more Bhopals" are waiting to happen, unless and until we do our bit to prevent them.

Is Another World Possible? - 4:30-4:45
Dr. Pervez Imam

Break: 4:45-5:15 pm

Above the Din of Sewing Machines - 5:20-6:00
Surabhi Sharma
38min/mini DV/2004/Kannada/Subtitle in English

This film documents the exploitative working conditions of women workers in the garment industry in Bangalore. The amount of foreign exchange earned from garment export, in Bangalore, was more than that of the IT industry until 2001. And yet, the workers toil with extremely low wages and an atmosphere of fear and intimidation.

Fun @ Sun - 6:00-6:35
Gautam Sonti
32 mins/English

Fun@Sun is an inside look at work and work culture in the software development centre of a large American multinational company, Sun Microsystems, located in Bangalore (Indian Engineering Centre, or IEC). The film highlights the multiple ways in which 'culture' operates as a management tool in the new global economy.

Venue: Anokhi/Chamiers

Quawali performance by Laique Quawal and group - 7:00-9:00 pm


17th (3 pm - 9pm)
Venue: South Indian Film Chamber theatre

The Dark I Must Not Name - 3:00-4:10
Shaan Khattau
Duration: 66 Min
Produced by: Highlight Films
Format: DV

'The dark I must not name' is a personal exploration of the Indian city of Bhopal and its people 15 years after the worlds worst industrial accident ravaged the city. The attempt is to explore the filmmaker's relationship to the pain and daily rituals of suffering the city lives with.

Jari Mari - 4:15 - 5:30
Director, Producer: Surabhi Sharma
INDIA / 2001 / Hindi / Color / Video / 74 min

Jari Mari is a sprawling slum colony next to Mumbai's airport. More and more textile mills, formerly the economic foundation of the city, have been shut down in recent years, while Jari Mari's narrow lanes are increasingly full of small sweatshops where women and men work for a pittance, leading an unsteady existence.

Ordinary Lives - 5:30-6:10
Sheetal S Agarwal
2005/38 mins

Ordinary Lives uncovers the living conditions of residents in a slum in Mumbai, focusing closely on the daily struggles of one joint family with ten members of three generations crammed in a 180-square-foot shack. Through a poised juxtaposition of voices from both inside and outside the slums, the film re-examines issues such as poverty, human rights, and gender equality that have been troubling India and other developing countries.

Break: 6:10-6:45

Cosmopolis - 6:45-7:00
Paromita Vohra
13 mins/English, Hindi, Marati with English subtitles

In two discrete but associated shorts, this film looks at divisions of language, class, memory and food and queries the myths of Bombay as a great cosmopolitanism city.

Siva Kalyanam part 1 - 7:00-7:15

July Boys - 7:15-7:45
Gautam Sonti
30 mins/English

July Boys focuses on a small 'startup' company in Bangalore that designs and produces software products for cellular service providers in Europe and the U.S. The film explores the creation of a Silicon Valley-style work culture within this 'cross-border' company that has one leg in Bangalore and the other in Santa Clara, California. It also highlights the emergence of new kinds of identities (global, transnational, cosmopolitan) that incorporate and transcend pre-existing identities such as the national (Indian) and the regional (Tamil).

New Empire - 7:45-8:25
Kurush Canteenwala
35 min/BW&Colour/2002

New Empire is a visually impressionistic, non-fiction film that attempts to chronicle a personal encounter with neo-colonialism and the accompanying loss of a way of urban being. The encounter is set around the memory of an Irani restaurant in Bombay, "New Empire Restaurant and Bakery." The restaurant is now a McDonald's outlet.


18th (3 pm - 9 pm)
Venue: South Indian Film Chamber theatre

Journeys - 3:00-3:45
Vinayan Kodoth
40 mins

A reflective piece on the nightmare that urban journeys can become. The daily journeys become a metaphor for life in cities fast disintegrating.

Twenty years without Justice - 3:45-4:05
Sanford Lewis
2004/17 mins

An excellent documentary and campaign video which explores the consequences of the disaster, its causes, and the 20-year campaign which seeks justice for those who survived it.

Break - 4:05-4:25

Hunting Warren Anderson - 4:30-5:30

Talk on Bhopal, conducted by a survivor of the tragedy and an activist - 5:30-6:45

Break - 6:45-7:00

Where's Sandra? - 7:00-7:20
Paromita Vohra
Digital Video/17.5 mins/English

The film is a playful look at the figure of "Sandra from Bandra" - part covetous fantasy of the racy Christian girl from Bombay who works as a secretary, wears a dress and likes to dance; part condescending stereotype of a dowdy, religious girl from a minority community.

Seven Islands and a Metro - 7:25-9:05
Madhusree Dutta
2006/100 mnts/Format DVcam / DG Beta
Language: English, Hindi, Urdu, Marathi & Bombayia

The multilingual Bombay, the Bombay of intolerance, the Bombay of closed mills, of popular culture, sprawling slums and real estate onslaughts, the metropolis of numerous ghettos, the El Dorado. This film is a tale of the cities of Bom Bahia / Bombay / Mumbai, through a tapestry of fiction, cinema vérité, art objects, found footage, sound installation and literary texts.


19th (3 pm - 9 pm)
Venue: South Indian Film Chamber theatre

45 ways around it - 3:00-3:15

The M Way - 3:15-3:45
Gautam Sonti

The 'M' Way was shot inside MphasiS Limited, a medium-sized Indian IT software services company that typifies this highly competitive business, in which the provision of high quality and low-cost service is the key to attracting and retaining customers. The film focuses on two teams (one for software development and one for testing, or quality control) that work on a single project for a U.S.-based customer, depicting the high-pressure work atmosphere that prevails in this industry.

SAA - 3:45-4:15
RV Ramani
25 minutes, 1991

Local trains form the basic pulse and rhythm of Bombay. This rhythm has been established, by the various activities of people living in the city over a period of time.

Siva Kalyanam part 2 - 4:15-4:30

Break - 4:30-5:00

Jaane Janki - 5:00-5:05
Sushma Veerappa
Kannada/1 min 12 secs/2006
Produced by Rainwater Club

Jaane Janki attempts to instigate the urban middle class housewife to take the initiative to harvest rainwater from her rooftop.

Q2P - 5:05-6:00 pm
Paromita Vohra
53 mins/English-Hindi

A film about toilets and the city. The toilet becomes a riddle with many answers and some of those answers are questions - about gender, about class, about caste and most of all about space, urban development and the twisted myth of the global metropolis.

John and Jane - 6:00-6:45
Ashim Ahluwalia
India/2005/English/83 mins/Colour/35mm

John & Jane is an astonishing look at the souls of the outsourced. Shot on 35mm and
composed with unsettling grace, this documentary finds an entirely original and fitting
language to express the eerie dislocation of virtual work.

Many People Many Desires - 6:45-7:30
T Jayashree
Various languages with English subtitles/45 mins/2004
Produced by Sangama, Bangalore

Cutting across class, gender, language and caste, the film tells the stories of gay/bisexual/lesbian persons living in the city of Bangalore. Through them it brings forth the debate on the basic right to one's sexual/gender expression, and it aims to mobilize debate and discussion and generate support from within and outside the sexual minority communities.


20th August
The Museum Theatre - 6 pm
Presentation of the award for Best Film

The Museum Theatre - 7 pm
ARPANA presents COTTON 56, POLYESTER 84
A city that was Mumbai ...
Two Acts, 125 mins.)

Directed by Sunil Shanbag , Written by Ramu Ramnathan , Translated by Chetan Datar
Cast: NAGESH BHONSLE, KUMUD MISHRA, CHARUSHEEL SABLE-VACHHANI, PRAMOD PATHAK, NIMESH MEHTA, HRIDAYNATH JADHAV, AANCHAL NANDRAJOG
MUSIC: DEVDATTA SABLE

Passes will be available at the following outlets:
Levis Signature
Odyssey
Landmark
Amethyst
Anokhi
One pass is valid for the entire festival. Student passes are priced at Rs.100/- and the rest at Rs.300/-
The complete schedule of our screenings will soon be available on our web site www.abillioneyes.in

For further details, please contact us at:
Email: abillioneyes@gmail.com
Ph: (0) 9342414112

Venue Addresses:
Anokhi - Chamiers, 85 Chamiers Road
South Indian Film Chamber theatre - C4/5, 606, Anna Salai, Chennai 6
Museum Theatre - Pantheon Road, Egmore, Chennai 8.