Filmmaker uploads documentary on Niyamgiri tribes on You Tube

Panaji, Jan 24 (PTI) After winning hearts at filmfestivals, tribals from Orissa''s Niyamgiri Hills are ready tomake a splash in the cyberspace through a documentary film,which highlights their struggle to save their land againstmining in the area.

Suma Josson, an award-winning documentary maker hasuploaded her film about the local tribes in the hills ofKalahandi district, on a social networking site so that itreaches the masses and triggers a discussion on public forums.

Josson, who won the first prize for ''Niyamgiri, You areStill Alive'' at IFFI 2010 in Short Film Centre (SFC) category,has filmed a 15-minute-long-documentary on the tribals inNiyamgiri hills who were up in arms against UK-based companyVedanta, which was given mining rights for bauxite in thisproposed area of Orrisa.

"Modes of communication are changing with technologyconstantly being updated. I felt that this film should reachas many people as possible which is why I decided to upload iton You Tube," the filmmaker said.

"Once on a social networking site, people share it ontheir circuits and thus the issue gets highlighted," she saidadding that such websites are very important tools as thereare people who want to screen the film and have discussions onit.

Talking to PTI, the Mumbai-based documentary maker saidraising awareness is one of the main intentions of makingsuch films.

"Mainstream media will not talk about Kumti Majhi, SukliMajhi or Mukta, who live in Niyamgiri Hills and whoseancestors have taken care and protected this eco-system formillions of years," she said.

"These films are windows through which the outside worldcan listen to their voices... Can see their faces and feel thepain that they go through," she added. .

The filmmaker has focussed on small Indian festivals to showcase this documentary.

"I have concentrated mainly on small Indian festivalsfor the moment since the reach there is at a local level fromwhich awareness can be built about various mining projects,"Suma says.

She has been working with the tribals since 2007.

"My relationship with the indigenous groups and NiyamgiriHills will continue for a long time. So I do not know when Iwill stop and when I will begin a new film. Its a process,"she said not ruling out a sequel to this documentary.

She concedes that there are so many issues which she hasnot covered in the film since the focus is environment.

"I have not touched the economic, political and humanrights issues in this film."

The filmmaker says that a high percentage of thealuminum output, an estimated 30 per cent, has always goneinto the arms industry to make bombs, tanks and fighterplanes.

"So we have to ask the question whether we need to leavebehind black deserts both in Niyamgiri and wherever warsare being fought," she said.

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