20th Madurai International Documentary and Short Film Festival 2018
6-10 Dec; multiple venues; Madurai
Retrospective : Lalit Vachani
List of films
Lalit Vachani is a documentary filmmaker, producer and video editor. He is director of the New Delhi based Wide Eye Film. He studied at St. Stephen’s College, Delhi University and at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania in the US.
Lalit Vachani’s documentaries include The Starmaker (74 min; 1997 - about the business of ‘starmaking’ in the Hindi film industry); The Boy in the Branch (27 min; 1993) and its sequel, The Men in the Tree (98 min; 2002), are about the politics of the Hindu nationalist organization, the RSS; The Play Goes On - Natak Jari Hai (84 min; 2005) is about the Delhi based Left street theatre group, Jana Natya Manch; The Salt Stories (84 min; 2008), is a film that follows the trail of Mahatma Gandhi’s salt march in India after seventy years; Tales from Napa (26 min; 2010), is about a village that resisted Hindu fundamentalist forces during the 2002 riots in Gujarat, India; and An Ordinary Election (125 min; 2015), is an in-depth study of an Indian election campaign for a new political party - the AAP.
In 2007, he directed In Search of Gandhi as one of ten international filmmakers commissioned to make 52 min. films for the 'Why Democracy?' global television series which was broadcast across 35 international television channels, including ZDF/Arte in Germany, BBC and BBC World (UK), Arte (France), Canal + (Spain), SBS (Australia), NHK (Japan) and SABC (South Africa).
Vachani’s films have received grant awards from the Soros and Sundance Documentary Foundations, the Jan Vrijman Fund, and the India Foundation for the Arts.
Some of the venues and film festivals where his work has been shown are: Kino Arsenal, Berlin; Oberhausen International Short Film Festival and DOK-Leipzig in Germany; International Documentary Film Association (IDFA), Amsterdam; Festival International du Documentaire, Marseille; One World Human Rights Film Festival, Prague; Film South Asia, Kathmandu; Zanzibar International Film Festival in Tanzania; the Asian Social Forum, Hyderabad; the World Social Forum, Mumbai; MIAAC and the Queens Museum of Art, New York.
Vachani has taught on topics related to film analysis, media, politics and the documentary film at the Mass Communication Research Centre in Delhi, India; at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and at Amherst College in the USA.
He was a visiting scholar at the Center for Media, Culture and History at New York University in 1999, and Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Religious Diversity and at the Lichtenberg-Kolleg in Göttingen in 2011 and 2012.
Lalit Vachani now lives in Göttingen, Germany where he teaches courses on media and politics, the political documentary film and documentary theory and production at the Centre for Modern Indian Studies (CeMIS) at the University of Göttingen.
Recently, Vachani completed his first documentary set in Germany.
The Last Days - Die letzten Tage (81 min; 2018; in German and English, with English subtitles) is a film about the last days of an emergency refugee centre in Sankt Andreasberg - a small town in the Harz mountains of Germany.