Under Construction: A distribution centre for independent films
Even though hundreds of independent films are produced in India every year on important social themes, India lacks a viable mechanism for non-broadcast, non-theatrical distribution of such films and videos. Consequently, the lack of organised distribution is a serious handicap for viewers for whom these films are primarily made. In an effort to bridge this gap between documentaries and their users, Magic Lantern Foundation has launched a distribution centre for independent films that can reach films to audiences in India and South Asia.
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Persistence Resistance on the Road
Since 2008, we are organising the Persistence Resistance: A festival of contemporary political films as an annual event in Delhi. The third edition, Persistence Resistance 2010, was held in February 2010 at the India International Centre. This is a festival that is curated primarily from the films that are distributed by our distribution initiative Under Construction. Selected films from each edition has travelled to cities and institutions all over the country. Viewers, mainly students, academics and film lovers, have shown a great deal of interest in viewing the films and hosting the festival in their regions. We plan to take Persistence Resistance to many more places in the near future.
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Researching IPR in Education, Arts and Culture
As an organisation that deals with cultural narratives and cinema, we constantly engage with issues of copyrights theoretically as well as in practice. In an era where production, dissemination and exhibition of culture have increasingly come to be regulated by Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), we find ourselves caught in the fray. Our project on IPR delves into the various debates around copyrights to locate its development, future and impact on cultural expressions and practice.The project would examine how fixed notions of ‘private’, ‘public’, ‘ownership’, ‘author’, ‘piracy’, and ‘rights’ bind the open flow of culture production in a restrictive, linear frame. The proposed film and publication would provide an ‘IPR handbook’ that critically examines the existing body of work to further an understanding of the complexities therein. It would also explore newer ways of imagining a future based on the rights of citizens to freely access cultural expressions without the fear of restrictive laws.
Encouraging the use of films in civil society
Closely related to the effort on distribution of documentaries, Magic Lantern has been working closely with grassroots groups in India, encouraging them to organise local film screenings and film festivals that can enable common people to watch documentaries. In this regard, Magic Lantern has been assisting a number of groups all over the country with information on films, their sources and in the organisation of the festivals.
Other Worlds Are Breathing 2005 – On the road …
After the encouraging response and enthusiasm generated by Other Worlds are Breathing, a global film festival that we had organised during the WSF 2004 in Mumbai, Magic Lantern Foundation, as part of @Culture, a coalition of organisations and artists from India, organised another Film Festival at the WSF 2005. We called it Other Worlds Are Breathing 2005. The Film Festival was held at Porto Alegre, Brazil, between January 26 and 31, 2005.To be able to show these films far more widely and extensively, the travelling package of Other Worlds are Breathing 2005 is now available to those who are interested to screen these films in their organisations, cultural institutions, media centres, colleges, etc.The package contains 21 films, and hopefully another 3 for which negotiations are still on with the films’ producers. The full package is on DVD.