As an educational and cultural SAIIER sub-unit, Aurofilm provides film screenings for the community and gives tools to create and understand Cinema in its higher forms. Our aspiration and aim is to use the 7th Art to help the viewers develop discernment and understanding towards our planet and the human relations. The ultimate goal is working towards human unity – through this complete and universal art form.
Activities of the year:
We continued our research and presentation work. The Aurofilm team offered 46 films out of a total program of 52 films to be screened. These programs were held at the MultiMedia Centre (MMC, Town Hall). In this amount of film screenings, we include the 2nd Pondicherry International Film Festival (PIFF) with 5 films, the invitation of 3 film directors (Stanzin Dorjai Gia from Ladakh, Vasanth Sai from Chennai and Umesh Kulkarni from Maharashtra/Pune) with master class/interaction with the audience and screenings in 3 schools.
Together with the Cinema Paradiso team, we presented the 2nd PIFF. It was a 7 day event (23-29 September) for which both teams selected their own programs of Cinema from the World, documentaries and short films. In January, we also worked on the organisation of a Mini Film Festival of Indian Cinema (with 5 films, to be held at Bharat Nivas) and one Cine-Master Class to be held at Aurofilm/Kalabhoomi – both planned for mid and end of March but unfortunately cancelled due to the Covid19 lockdown.
Also, for our work along the year, we consider it very important to attend the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) at Goa in November. So, even with no funding from SAIIER or Auroville this year, we decided to go there for 6 out of 8 days. This was possible mostly with our own funds and with some reserve balance in our regular monthly budget for transportation and part of the accommodation bill.
We were very happy that this financial year saw the official opening of the Auroville Film Institute (AFI): an old dream of Aurofilm’s founder, Gerard Carabin, that took shape thanks to a collaboration between Aurofilm and Richa Hushing and Rrivu Laha (“Auroville Timelines” under Auroville Art Service) in partnership with the Film & Television Institute of India (FTII, Pune). So far three film courses have taken place under this AFI activity while the fourth had started to be organised during this financial year – scheduled for May 2020 – ultimately postponed due to the prevalent situation with Covid19. Faculty members from FTII and independent instructors were chosen to lead the courses. Students from India, abroad, and Auroville & the region have registered and will participate.
We had many discussion with SAIIER and the Auroville Foundation regarding the proper way to establish this higher education service and it is still going on.
During this year, we could finalise translations and subtitling of our documentary film on Auroville “Auroville – From Seed To Sapling”. We have finally received green light to distribute it at the Visitor’s Centre but the lock-down postponed our plans!
We also translated from French to English a 12-minute interview on a small nunnery in Zanskar (Ladakh/India) in order to present it along with the main 52 min. documentary, which is in English.
Our invitation to film makers to present their film and the related interactions, at the Multi Media Center (MMC) or in different Auroville schools (Udavi, Last School and Future School), was a success. We surely want to repeat these next year and later on. We can see the benefit of extending the screening to open the public to new vistas, be they on the cultural or technical aspects of the production.
The Film Appreciation and other courses organised by the Auroville Film Institute (AFI for which we are partners) are the ultimate events that make one fully grasp the completeness of the 7th Art that is Cinema! And of course its impact on our consciousness. This is what has always driven us – in the unique environment of Auroville.
Our new programs in the Aurofilm studio in Kalabhoomi/Cultural Zone could not really start this year due to the Covid19 pandemic. However, thanks to our dynamic partners of Auroville Timelines with the AFI, 3 film courses could take place in our studio. They were well organised and well attended. And it is only the beginning of a new life for our film institute. We are already prepared for the new activities when the lockdown is finally over.