India from the Inside

Unesco project.

An international co-production to lure Bollywood into documentary filmmaking.  Initiated by UNESCO and executed by Wiek Lenssen Filmprodukties

A series of 6 creative documentaries showing India through the eyes of Indian film makers

The UNITED NATIONS aims to stimulate more ‘local media content’ from developing countries. In April 2010 the UNESCO took the initiative to bring together a selection of documentary filmmakers from Asia, in a seminar that took place in Bollywood, Mumbai’s Film City in India. The goal of this event was to offer filmmakers resources and skills that can enable them to get their ideas produced, if necessary, in other parts of the world.

AllFilmmakerslogo ww
The filmmakers and seminar members at the WhistlingWoods Film Academy (Mumbay, Film City)

One of the outcomes of the intensive 6-day workshop was that around 20 proposals were developed in it and this was the start of a series of documentaries under the title, ‘India from the Inside’ which have mostly grown out of the filmmakers’ continued engagement with certain subjects that they know closely.

The filmmakers involved all originate from India. Those who are attached to the series are the same core group who had been instrumental in organising the initial workshop event. The European counterpart and executive producer is Wiek Lenssen, producer, filmmaker and seminar leader who is based in Europe/The Netherlands, Rut Gomez Sobrino from Unesco, based in Spain and Indranil Chakravarty, a professor at India’s largest Film Academy, Whistling Woods International in Mumbai, which had also hosted the seminar and will act as the local producer in the development of the series.

 The series ‘ India from the Inside’  wants to show in 5- 6 episodes how different parts of India will be affected (or will not be affected) by the process of huge economic growth. The final selection procedure will start in co-operation with attached broadcasting channels

The themes proposed for the final selection are:

1) Withering Democracy (Aditya Seth)… A tragi-comic portrait of the world’s biggest democracy. …Who are the ones who manage India?… And why are they throwing chairs at each other in the Indian Parliament?… What was it like and what brought it to this?

 2) My Life with the Planets (Summa Josson)… Commercialization of widespread Indian belief in astrology. …How astrology TV-programmes lure spectators into buying advertised goods.

 3) Urali Devachi, a living hell (Suparna Gangal)… Portrait of a waste village. …growing consumerism in the city of Pune creates mountains of waste i.n a nearby village. Urali-boys can’t find girls to marry because of the horrible smell…. Does economic progress mean that one place gets the pleasure while another place gets the burden?

4) Music in a village called 1 PB (Surabhi Sharma) …Film about a canal in the desert…A large state development programme affects the traditional way of life of nomadic Sufi- musicians. …Ancient Sufi-poems color the beautiful landscape of Rajashtan 

 5) Guardians of the Demajong (Christopher Rego) …The revival of a mega dam project in the Himalayas . …Buddhist traditional monks in conflict with demands from a modern economy which opens up a modern vs spiritual look at nature

 6) Searching for the Gunless (Kriti Dhawan) …People in eastern provinces eat grass because they refuse to join the guerrilla. …What about the people that are left out of the economic take-off? …Will it eventually lead to an Indian civil war?

7) Chemicals in my body (Suma Josson) …An investigation about how many chemicals can be found in the blood of three Indian citizens. …Will economic prosperity automatically be followed by spiritual and physical welfare? 
8) The IIT-JEE exam (Preeti Mankar) …More than one hundred thousand Indian children abstain from any social contacts, even with their own parents, because it takes time away from reaching their goal: …obtaining admission to the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology. …Passing the IIT-JEE exam requires as much preparation as the attempt to win an Olympic race…. Portrait of 5 aspirant students.

(NOTE: This Unesco project was prolongued in 2011, but due to a lack of  additional funding the development of this project is no longer pursued. An initial interest from Al Jazeerah did not result in the actual production of the series.)


Leave a Comment