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Award for film on kids’ plight

Imphal, Nov. 23: A short documentary directed by Haobam Paban Kumar, won the Best Documentary award at the 3rd Siliguri International Short and Documentary Film Festival held from October 12 to 14.

Ruptured Spring is an investigative journey to highlight the plight of children in conflict-plagued and HIV/AIDS-ridden Manipur.

The 17-minute film is directed by internationally acclaimed filmmaker Paban Kumar and produced by Wide Angle, an Imphal-based NGO working for women and child rights with the support of the European Union.

The award consisting of a citation, a trophy and a token cash honorarium was conferred on Paban Kumar during a colourful opening ceremony of the festival on November 19 at Dinabandhu Mancha Siliguri.

The festival was organised by the Siliguri Cine Society with active support from the department of the North Bengal Development Authorities, government of West Bengal, Siliguri Municipal Corporation, Dinabandhu Mancha Advisory Board and the Federation of Film Societies of India.

Out of more than 180 entries received from home and abroad, 42 films were selected for the festival. The jury was headed by film journalist Shoma A. Chatterjee.

A history of strife and high incidence of HIV/AIDS have affected many children’s lives in Manipur.

The plight of these victims of conflict and state apathy has been depicted in Ruptured Spring. Many children in Manipur have been either orphaned or are living with single parents because of violence or HIV/AIDS.

“The film has been made to create awareness on child rights in Manipur. We hope the film will make the authorities sit up and start thinking on the issue,” Paban Kumar said.

The findings of a survey by the NGO culminated in the documentary which seeks to draw attention of the NGOs, government authorities and National Commission for Child Rights to the condition of children in the state.

The film reveals that Manipur has the highest number of school dropouts in the country and 12 primary government schools have only one teacher.

Paban Kumar’s documentary AFSPA 1958 won the prestigious International Critics award at the 9th Mumbai International Film Festival, 2006.