Bridging boundaries through cinema


In recent years, the College of Journalism and Mass Communications (CJMC) has launched several initiatives to promote journalism and media exchange in the country, including a new international journalism university currently in the pipeline. Joining this list of projects

is the annual Nepal Africa Film Festival, co-organised with the Journalists’ Forum Nepal, and now in its third year.

On June 18, the Russian Centre for Culture and Science witnessed a substantial crowd comprised of students, journalists, dignitaries and foreign ambassadors, all present for the opening of the festival. Dr Manju Mishra, the principal of CJMC and director of the festival, elaborated that the event was held for four key reasons: to explore Africa and Nepal through cultural activities, to promote tourism, to encourage people to go to Africa and to eventually organise a parallel film festival in Africa.

Narratives on the African continent often sweep its many histories into a single one, assuming a hegemonic, one-dimensional way of life. The selection of films in the festival, claimed the speakers, was an attempt to re-visit these perceptions. Africa would be shown through the African lens, essential in understanding the lives of people who are often forgotten.

In this very spirit of multiculturalism, the festival began with a short music video called Earth Anthem, written by Abhay Kumar, the head of the public information office at the Indian Embassy of Nepal, in six different languages.

Despite the difficulty in collecting material for the festival, which Mishra attributed to the lack of partners in the field, the festival showcased documentaries and films on a range of topics and perspectives. Day one began with The White Masai, the autobiography-turned-film of a Swiss woman who, during her vacation in Kenya, falls in love with a Masai warrior and ends up marrying him. Their relationship is torn with cultural differences and language barriers. This was followed by Windows of

Hope, one man’s survival journey after being abandoned by his family; Yesarinai Aaru Phulchha, one of the two Nepali films at the festival, and finally, Bag Blixens Maske, an occult-mystery film from Denmark.

Day two began with the famous Hotel Rwanda, a look at the Tutsi genocide through its effect on one family, while A Screaming Man illustrated life in violence-torn Chad. Burma on My Mind, next, was a Nepali film documenting the lives of Nepalis living in Burma and Yesterday’s Slaves explored the complexity of social life in West Africa.

Films to be shown today, the last day of the festival, include Sarafina!, Kazan/Kremlin of Kazan/Economic of Kazan, The Kamre and Kare Kare Zuako

Posted on: 2013-06-20 08:43