XChange Film Festival: Full Line Up Revealed!
Over 50 independent films from countries far and wide – stories about the sherpas of Pakistan and Nepal and their death defying ascents of the world’s tallest mountains, a Romanian fantasy about a little homeless boy who learns about real life from his mentor Papa Rudi, psychological thrillers that push the boundaries of conventional cinema in the country, intimate portraits of remote communities like the people of Kongthong village in Meghalaya, rare documentaries sourced from India’s film archives – XChange’s film program has all that and more. The festival showcases some of India’s finest independent filmmakers, and gives audiences a chance to explore a very different perspective of both Indian and international cinema.
“K2 was one-month-long trekking, almost seven hours a day on a glacier, getting to the base camp about 5000m in elevation and carrying equipment,” begins filmmaker Iara Lee, recounting the making of her film K2 And The Invisible Footmen, “As the director, I was the only foreigner in the team. In the day, you have sunstroke, in the night it’s freezing cold. Then altitude sickness and vomiting – it’s almost comical. But the porters walk around in rubber sandals as if they are carrying feathers on their backs. Most touching is their humour, they just never complain. They know life is tough, but their resilience is amazing – and I became an admirer of their strength”.
In addition to Lee’s film, this year’s international selection features a vast collection of shorts, animations, documentaries, and features from countries including Lebanon, Myanmar, Monte Negro, Turkey, China, Bangladesh, Ireland, Costa Rica, and Egypt amongst others. By providing a space where experimental films and innovations within the medium of cinema can be showcased, the film program explores a variety of styles – from film noir to sci-fi, stop motion animation to video art. In addition, select filmmakers will be engaging with audiences through a series of post screening Q & A sessions and panel discussions, discussing their work and relevant issues pertaining to independent cinema and the arts.
Award winners this year include films like Olga Korotko’s An Ordinary Person (Kazakhstan) – a poetic masterpiece that tells the story of a girl with a burn on her face who is given the chance to integrate into society (winner of the Court Metrage Short Film Corner at Cannes). Experimental filmmaker Q’s critically acclaimed horror film Ludo has been screened at festivals around the world including the Chicago International Film Festival and Fantasia 2015, while Javier Cocuera’s Sigo Siendo (Peru) – a documentary that showcases the vast landscape of Peruvian music both traditional and contemporary – won the Best Documentary award (Lima Latin American Film Festival) and the award for Best Editing (Moscow International Documentary Film Festival).
“There’s a big audience for alternative cinema but reaching out to them is not easy in the current set up”, says director Amit Masurkar, whose acclaimed comedy Sulemani Kheeda will be screened on day 3 of the festival, “An IndiEarth XChange Film Festival clone in each town and city of India is not a distant dream. We’re also stoked that our film about film writers will get screened in a city like Chennai that truly celebrates storytelling”.