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Preference given to documentaries than short films in North East Films Package @ #MIFF2022: Curator Chandan Sarmah

Posted On: 31 MAY 2022 3:41PM by PIB Mumbai

Mumbai, 31 May 2022


Compared to short films there are a few takers for documentaries in North East Indian states, said Chandan Sarmah, Curator of North East Films Package at #MIFF2022. ‘In North East region, there are many people who do short fictions as they know that short films have got market.  Due to this reason more preference was given to documentaries while selecting films for North East package at MIFF 2022. Out of the 14 films in package, 11 are documentaries and only three are short fictions ”, he added. Chandan Sarmah was interacting to media and delegates at the #MIFFDialogues held in connection with the 17th Mumbai International Film Festival.

Detailing further the criteria followed for selection of films to the package, he said that quality of the film and the diversity in content was also not compromised. Director of the Assamese film ‘A Little Sunshine’ Suman Duwara and Producer Dr. Hitesh Barua also participated in the conversation. Suman Duwara said that ‘A Little Sunshine’ is a story about relationship, love and the solitude of old people.  The story revolves around an aged couple who lives with their pet dog and the difficult situation they are in when their son orders them to get rid of the dog.


Let’s have a look at the synopsis of films from North East Package


The Galos

The film directed by Apak Gadi is based on an ethnographic study of a Central Himalayan tribe, the Galos, which are one of the many ancient tribes of Arunachal Pradesh. It explores the society and culture of the tribe including their knowledge traditions that include ancient medicine and food habits.

The Songs We Sings, The Drums We Beat

What happens when a community has to perform one of its most important traditions but even the eldest among them are unsure of how to do it? Caught in this quagmire, the Kaasik community, a subgroup of Nocte tribe of Tirap district in North East India embarks on a journey of reliving their past while reflecting on their future as a distinct culture. The film is directed by Kombong Darang.  



While rehearsing with his pupils for a play, a dramatist is questioned by the leader of a banned militant organisation for the ideology being presented in his play. The film directed by Suraj Kr. Duwarah recounts how he overcomes this interruption and stages his play.

The Assamese Sikhs

The Assamese Sikhs are members belonging to the community of Sikhs who migrated to Assam almost two centuries ago. Though minuscule in number, they have contributed greatly to further the cause of Assamese literature and culture. The film is directed by Jagjit Singh.

Naoka (To be Illusions!! Dying and lies!!)

The film directed by Arindam Barooah explores the theme of reality and illusions through three chapters. A boy imagines himself as three great artists. The first chapter looks at the writer Franz Kafka; the second chapter explores the musician Beethoven (music); and the third chapter is related to the painter Salvador Dali (painting).

A Little Sunshine

The story revolves around an aged couple who lives with their pet dog Their son stays abroad and has not visited for a while. One day, the dog falls sick; the son tells the father to get rid of the sick dog. After he abandons his pet dog, he starts hallucinating about his dog's return. The film is directed by Sumon Duwara.

Forging Future

Forging is a craft as old as human history. The film depicts the generational change in al blacksmith village in rural Assam; fathers do not want their sons to continue down the path of forging and neither do the sons. In this struggle for a better life, the heritage swings in uncertainty. The film is directed by Deep Choudhury.


50 Years Of Manipuri Cinema: A Glimpse India

The film by Haobam Paban Kumar chronicles the history of fifty years of Manipuri cinema. It looks at some of the most important films and filmmakers from the region and their contributions to cinematic history.

Manipur Mindscapes

Manipur Mindscapes is an attempt to encompass the resilience of the Manipuri people, who conceal a killer instinct within an apparent atmospheric fight the great atmospheric adversities that surround them. The images in the film have been distilled over a two decade-long engagement with Manipur. The film is directed by Joshy Joseph.


Because We Did Not Choose

Hundred years have passed since the First World War began. The film is a meticulous documentation of the journey made by labourers from North East India to the war front. Shot over four years in Shillong, Guwahati, Kolkata, Chennai and Europe, the film shines a light on the unacknowledged and forgotten presence of indigenous labour in the war. The film is directed by Wanphrang K. Diengdoh.


This is Mizoram

This film directed by T.C. Vanlalzauva explores the beauty of the state of Mizoram. It is a mountainous area with steep hills and rivers and has the highest percentage of green cover in the North East region of India. The people of the region share the beautiful mountains with a wide range of species of flora and fauna. This is Mizoram-a traveller's paradise.

The Uncertain Years (Hun Kirh)

When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, a lockdown was imposed around the country. In Mizoram too, life came to a grinding halt. With his camera, the filmmaker observes the events unfolding around him from the first day of the lockdown. It gives us an inside glimpse of life during the pandemic and the handling of it by society, both commoners and frontline workers such as medical volunteers. The film is directed by Napoleon R.Z.Thanga.


Under The Longfuru Sky

The Longfuru people of Mimi village live on the Indo-Burmese border of partitioned Nagaland. They continue to seek the spirit of the forest and ancestral wisdom to sustain their self-sufficient lifestyle and worldviews. Their relationship with the land runs deep, ecology is woven into tradition. The film is directed by Kivini Shohe.


The Endless Note India

The documentary is inspired by the endless knot, one of the eight auspicious symbols of Buddhism. The film explores the making of folk Instruments and the eternal relationship between the notes produced by instruments and the environment they have been made from. The film is directed by Karma Paizor Bhutia.

About the Curator

Chandan Sarmah is a journalist and scriptwriter trained in anthropology who has been writing on cinema in English and Assamese for almost three decades. Having worked as the news editor of the Guwahati-based English daily The North East Times for thirteen years, he started freelancing in 2003 and was a regular writer on art and culture in The Telegraph for nearly a decade. As a scriptwriter, he has written the scripts of two Assamese feature films. Besides this, he has written the scripts for a number of television serials and radio features for DDK, Guwahati, and AIR, Guwahati, respectively. The best film critic Prag Cine Award winner Sarmah has served as the jury member of the Assam State Film Award in 2014 and 2019. He also served the CBFC as a member of the regional board for two four-year tenures. He is presently a guest lecturer at the Dr Bhupen Hazarika Regional Government Film and Television Institute, Guwahati. Sarmah has been associated with MIFF since 2008 as the North-East Film Package curator and film selection jury member. He is currently working as the Secretary of Assam Sahitya Sabha.


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