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Little cinema festival comes to town

(From right) Uma Ray and Aditi Kulkarni of Unbound Studio, Bruce Allan and Madhuja Mukherjee discuss experimental films and their projects with the audience at the inauguration of the second edition of Little Cinema: International Festival for Experimental Films and Media Art at Studio 21 on Thursday. Picture by Arnab Mondal

He lives in a forest on the Wales border and inaugurated his project on experimental films in an old iron mine, which soon became a successful platform for artistes to connect with the audience.

A year later, Bruce Allan, visual artist and co-curator of Difference Screen along with Ben Eastop, is in Calcutta with his collection of 17 shorts for the second edition of Little Cinema: An International Festival for Experimental Films and Media Art, organised by TENT (Theatre for Experiments in New Technologies) in association with Studio21, Max Mueller Bhavan, Calcutta, India Foundation for the Arts, Unbound Studio and Difference Screen.

"Initially I had planned to screen our collection of films only in England. We had started out with a collection of 25. But as our treasure trove grew and we started getting requests from more and more filmmakers, we decided to travel with our project," Allan said at the opening of Little Cinema at Studio21 last Thursday. He hopes Calcutta will appreciate his offering this time.

The audience are being treated to a collection of experimental videos, shorts, features and new media art from all over the world at three venues - Studio21, the TENT office on Bipin Pal Road and Max Mueller Bhavan - till December 9.

The festival opened with the screening of shorts from Berlinale Expanded. The collection explored avant-garde works and essays.

The first film Escape From My Eyes was a 34-minute narration of tales of three persons from Mali, Ghana, and Burkina Faso in documentary style.

On December 4 and 5, Difference Screen and Aditi Kulkarni and Uma Ray of Unbound Studio presented their collection.

Visitors at TENT on Day II got to see some experimental shorts, including Memory of North East curated by Shaheen Ahmed of Jawaharlal Nehru University. Some artists also introduced their installations to the audience that day.

There is also a section for city filmmakers. Curated by inter-media artist and filmmaker Madhuja Mukherjee, the collection includes Madhabilata by Paramita Das and Phul Choranor Pala by Anirban Sarkar. Several films will be screened simultaneously at Studio21 and TENT. Max Mueller Bhavan is screening some from December 7 to 9.

On the final day, Subrata Acharya's Choushatti Gharer Khela will premiere at Max Mueller Bhavan. The film is a take on a father-son relationship and mind games.

"We needed a platform where contemporary filmmakers could present their rushes to peers, get a feedback and exchange notes. TENT - an informal set-up run from a heritage house - attempts to provide just that. Calcutta has a vibrant culture of little magazines. So we thought why not have a little cinema movement (of films that are not part of mainstream) on similar lines," Mukherjee said.


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