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Thinking through the documentary form: Masterclasses and workshops at Open Frame 2018


A series of interactive sessions will be conducted by acclaimed filmmakers as part of PSBT's Open Frame Film Festival, being held from 10-18 September in New Delhi.

Sukhpreet Kahlon

The 18th Open Frame Film Festival, presented by the Public Service Broadcasting Trust (PSBT), brings a host of films, conversations, masterclasses and workshops with the aim of empowering filmmakers and championing the cause of the independent documentary.

The festival, which will be held at the India International Centre, New Delhi, from 10-18 September this year, will focus on training and enhancing filmmaking skills through its masterclasses and workshops.

PSBT is the single largest non-governmental producer of documentaries in the country and has supported and mentored an astounding 700 films by 500 filmmakers so far, each representing a unique point of view.

The films have contributed to the discourse around documentaries and associated socio-political debates while experimenting with the documentary form and speech.

The first professional-intensive workshop at the festival is aimed at mid-career filmmakers and those who are just starting out. Led by filmmaker-writer Paromita Vohra, whose work focuses on feminism, desire, urban life and popular culture, the workshop addresses crucial questions about the short documentary form.

The workshop is titled ‘The long and short of making a short documentary’. The question, how do we stop treating the short documentary as a poor imitation of the long documentary and start seeing it as a sparkling, vibrant form in its own right, will provide the framework for thinking through some concerns.

The workshop aims to trace the roots of the documentary form and cinematic language to discuss various approaches — conceptual, aesthetic and practical — to imagine and realize a short documentary. Examples of short documentaries will be offered for participants to draw on and discuss. Participants will also co-create a list of fundamental questions that become a guide to thinking about one’s own short documentary. 

The second professional workshop, titled ‘Crafting the documentary’, by filmmaker, writer, director and producer Deepa Dhanraj, aims to assist participants in thinking through the conceptual, practical and creative aspects of the craft of making documentaries. Working through film ideas proposed by the participants, it will focus on concept development; research, scripting and exploring narrative possibilities in their work. Apart from visualization, the workshop will look at sound design.

Aside from the professional workshops, a series of masterclasses with four senior filmmakers, each representing a distinct understanding and creative practice, will be conducted at the festival.

'You Talking to Me? The Documentary as a Form of Conversation' by Vohra; 'The Great and Small Expectations' by Avijit Mukul Kishore; 'Subjective Real' by RV Ramani and 'The Discourse of Things’ by Vipin Vijay will together offer a context for sharing and learning, and also for reflecting on the ways in which conventional definitions, meanings and practices have and can be challenged to create new meanings and possibilities with storytelling and their reception.

The Open Frame Film Festival will be held from 10-18 September 2018 at the India International Centre, New Delhi. The workshops and masterclasses require prior registration and will be held from 10-13 September.

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Open Frame Film Festival