To harness the power of cinema in sensitizing young students about issues related to human equality, Pearl Academy’s School of Contemporary Media (SoCM), led by Viveck Vaswani, has joined hands with Engendered- a transnational arts and human rights organization based in New Delhi and New York City, as the education partner for I-View World 2020, a human rights film festival with 50+ shorts, documentaries and feature films from around the world showcased virtually on www.plexigo.com. A physical round table discussion on ‘independent cinema and politics of representation’ was also organized by I-View, in partnership with Peal Academy, with changemakers Deepa Mehta (Director, Funny Boy); Onir (Director, My Brother Nikhil); Swara Bhaskar (Actor, Sheer Qorma); Faraz Arif Ansari (Director, Sheer Qorma); Vivek Gomber (Actor, Sir) and Shiladitya Bora (Founder, Platoon One Films). The discussion was moderated by Myna Mukherjee, Founder, Engendered & Director, I-View Film Festival and Viveck Vaswani.
To introduce the discussion, Sharad Mehra, President, Creative Arts Education Society (Pearl Academy) said, “The world of art has been a leader in dealing with difficult, sensitive issues. It is the responsibility of the artists to initiate conversations about topics that are considered uncomfortable but need to be understood, accepted and addressed.”
“Every artist is a ‘zaria’ (medium) and cinema has the power and authority to drive change,” added Faraz Arif Ansari.
During the discussion, Swara Bhaskar shared that the stories and who they represent matters to her immensely. “If what I want to see as an audience is not offered to me as an actor then I will perhaps write those stories or support them to the best of my abilities,” she remarked.
Encouraging the students to follow their creative instincts and dreams, Deepa Mehta offered advice to them and said, “Don’t be scared of embracing how fearful you are because fear makes you find different paths.”
While talking about the rare feat of a Pearl Academy media student, whose film has been selected for a virtual screening at the I-View World 2020 film festival, Nandita Abraham, President, Pearl Academy, commented, “We are proud of the young, independent film makers at School of Contemporary Media who are using their education to initiate change. We endeavor to mentor and engage the students in such a way that they adapt to the shifting landscapes of media and storytelling and stay relevant.”
The students at the School of Contemporary Media found their participation at the film festival enriching and fulfilling. They not only got the opportunity to gain practical experience and learn on the ground, but also meet and interact with their idols from the world of cinema.