A film festival just happened as students of film studies took up an assignment quite seriously. The first edition of Kinaara Student Film Festival (KSSF) 2019 was organised as part of the “Film Festivals: History, Economy and Curatorship" course offered by Dr. Monia Acciari at the English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad. It turned out to be a three-day exploration through stories that are swept under the rug by grander narratives.
The chosen films dealt with the themes of Territory, Gender, and Sexuality. Their screenings were held on 8, 9 & 10 November at Lamakaan, an open cultural space in the city.
The movies were curated by Arjo, Akshi, Sandhya, Aneena, Sreeja, Suparnna, Dan and Prerit who are students enrolled for the course.
"Kinaara is something that started off as a course requirement but ended up winning my heart and soul," Aneena, one of the student curators, noted.
The festival commenced with the screening of 'Turup' (Checkmate), a movie by the Ektara Collective. The film metaphorically brings in the pastime of a neighbourhood to push and challenge the boundaries of morality and religion.
The second day of screening began with the documentary 'Transindia' by Meera Darji. It narrates the story of a transgender community from Ahmedabad. 'Tales of the Night Fairies' by Shohini Ghosh, 'Daaravtha' (Threshold) by Nishant Roy Bombarde, 'She Should have Gone to the Moon' by Ulrike Kubatta, and 'Offside' by Jafar Panahi followed.
On the final day 'Something Like a War' by Deepa Dhanraj and 'Supermen of Malegaon' by Faiza Ahmad Khan were screened.
They were followed by discussions held by distinguished academics and film critics Dr. Padmaja Shaw, Prof. Madhumeeta Sinha and Dr. Satish Poduval.
“These stories from the fringes are those of the actual mainstream. What we call the margins of society form the major part of India", said Dr. Padmaja Shaw, mediating the discussion on the inaugural day.
Prof. Madhumeeta Sinha talked about the audacity of pleasure being depicted in 'Something Like a War' and how such conversations and gatherings of women hav the potential for immense growth, and the women create their own spaces even when control over their own bodies is denied to them. Dr. Satish Poduval situated the film 'Supermen of Malegaon' in it's political and historical context and shed light on how the director of the film came to know and be inspired by the filmmaking community in Malegoan.
The festival was facilitated by Annapurna International School of Film+ Media, Anveshi, Hyderabad Film Club and Our Sacred Space.
The students who picked the films for the fest are quite excited about the response to the festival.
"Kinaara attempts to take a step forward and disturb the calm of ignorant waters," Dan, her batchmate chipped in.
Prerit, another curator, termed the fest as "a safe space where nuanced and complex conversations can happen. A space where we can try to exist free of binaries, structures and thousands of invisible, small things that we do not acknowledge, but feel their presence