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Screening of Documentary “THE CINEMA TRAVELLERS

April 24, 2017

Vikalp Bengaluru in association with India Foundation for the Arts is orgainsing Screening of Documentary “THE CINEMA TRAVELLERS

a film by Shirley Abraham and Amit Madheshiya
Presented and produced by Cave Pictures (India)

Cannes prize-winning The Cinema Travellers is a journey with the traveling cinemas of India, which bring the wonder of the movies to faraway villages annually. Seven decades on, as their lorries and cinema projectors crumble and film reels become scarce, their audiences are lured by slick digital technology. Filmed over five years, The Cinema Travellers accompanies a shrewd exhibitor, a benevolent showman and a maverick projector mechanic who bear a beautiful burden.

As the harvest arrives in rural India, it also heralds the season of cinema. The fields lie bare, and the villagers gather breathless, anticipating the cinema lorries that have brought them the magic of the movies for seven decades. Riding one such lorry with a cinema projector and film reels in its belly, is a benevolent showman. His village embraced his touring cinema for 40 years but is now tuning in to television, leaving him to make a crucial decision about the fate of his peeling lorry. Many villages away, a shrewd showman, is striving to become the best in the business. Only, a green behemoth slows him down- his crumbling cinema projector. Away from the bustle, a wisened 70 year-old projector mechanic toils away to single handedly repair all the cinema projectors of foreign make that wound up in rural India. He waits to find a customer even as the murmurs of digital technology grow louder in the touring cinemas.

Seven decades ago, touring cinemas plying dirt roads in rural India brought them the magic of the movies in the wondrous darkness of a cinema tent. Today, even as they are burdened by the march of time and technology, can the three keepers keep the last touring cinemas of the world running?

Cannes Film Festival L’Œil d’or Special Jury Prize: Le Prix du documentaire
Batumi Art House Film Festival Best Documentary Award
New Hampshire Film Festival Grand Jury Award
Mumbai Film Festival Young Critics’ Choice Award
Mumbai Film Festival Jury Special Award
Hawaii International Film Festival Golden Orchid Award for Best Documentary
Anchorage International Film Festival Doc Jury Award
I came to love the movies because I was prohibited to watch them. There used to be a movie on television on Saturday night but the children were bundled into bed for the Sunday church service. I was scared to be on the wrong side of the angels when they separated the wicked from the just on Judgement Day. The first film I saw happened to be ‘The Angel’. I was watchful, covering the television screen with a dark cloth and peeping in, so the escaping light wouldn’t
betray me. The film showed me the benign side of the angles that the Bible had warned me against. And it planted in me, a deep curiosity about how cinema can give form to the human imagination. I witnessed a most profound and beauteous form of it decades later, as I wound my way into the travelling cinemas.
– Shirley Abraham

One winter night, I sneaked out of my grandparent’s home in the village. They were screening a movie in the school’s courtyard to celebrate a wedding. I crawled inside the white wedding tent to find my friends, plumes of smoke, and a huge screen lit with images. In the morning, my grandmother found me sleeping, wrapped in the lose flaps of the tent. She pulled me out of the swathes of canvas and touched my forehead for signs of fever. I was fine and was punished for my indiscretion. All afternoon, I worked on compost being prepared to plant mango saplings. Since then, I have found the musty smell of the compost indelibly intertwined with my first memories of cinema, rooted deep in my grandmother’s mango orchard. Decades later, sitting in a field, crouching by the beam of a cinema projector, I knew I was home.
– Amit Madheshiya
“A masterpiece, a film from the heart and a testament to everything humanity should believe in wholeheartedly. It’s seldom that a documentary is this spellbinding, this can’t-move-from-my-seat-oreven-think-of-turning-my-eyes-away bewitching, all the while being so human and touching. I cheered, laughed and cried alongside the village audiences featured in Abraham’s and Madheshiya’s film.”
– E. Nina Rothe, The Huffington Post

“A fast-moving, lyrical documentary; a pre-emptively elegiac paean to the anxious showmen who tote their rusted equipment to fairgrounds following the harvest season, to the twinkly-eyed septuagenarian projector technician-inventor Prakash, and to the rapt faces of spectators old and young. Whatever
masterpieces bow at this year’s Cannes festival, it’s likely none will communicate the excitement engendered by movies more headily.”
– Graham Fuller, Screen International

“An intimate, poignant documentary, recalling Giuseppe Tornatore’s 1988 Oscar winner “Cinema Paradiso” in its effusive love of 20th-century celluloid splendor. A heartfelt tribute to India’s cinematiccaravan traditions and the disappearing art, skill and spiritual thrill of 35mm projection.”
– Nick Schager, Variety

“It’s refreshing to see a documentary where those on camera remain so undisturbed by the presence of the camera. There’s not a moment that feels forced or tweaked to ensure an emotional beat gets checked off, which results in both immersion and authenticity at every stage of the film.”
-Benjamin Lee, The Guardian

” It is absolutely wonderful to discover, capturing so spectacularly the joy and wonder that movies bring to people of all ages. It evokes the same emotions as Cinema Paradiso, but this is all real life.”
-Alex Billington, First Showing

“The Cinema Travelers” itself a testament to the idea that we can preserve a love for yesterday while also making way for tomorrow.”
-David Ehrlich, Indiewire

“Rich and intensely colorful. Its triumph lies in how it captures the magic of this unique, collective movie-watching experience.”
– Alex Ritman, The Hollywood Reporter

Filmed over five years, The Cinema Travellers accompanies a shrewd exhibitor, a benevolent showman and a maverick projector mechanic who bear a beautiful burden – to keep the last traveling cinemas of the world running.

Filmmakers Bio:
Shirley Abraham
Director, Producer, Sound Recordist, Editor

Shirley is interested in how cinema can give form to the many faces of the human imagination. She has previously explored this through the story of an acid attack survivor who dreams of one day wearing a red dress again and a young boy who imagines himself a hip hop star but must keep it a secret from disapproving parents. Shirley has directed documentaries for the Guardian, Al Jazeera English and Doordarshan India. Her work is supported by the Sundance Institute, Bertha Foundation, Filmmaker Fund, PMA WorldView, and Asian Network of Documentary. She has been a fellow of the Sundance Institute, India Foundation for the Arts and GoetheInstitut.

Shirley has presented her work and conducted lectures at universities including University of Colorado; LUISS University, Rome; Erasmus University, Rotterdam; University of Trier; Tokyo University of Foreign Studies; University of Munich; University of Leiden; University of Westminster; University of Heidelberg; Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi; SNDT University, Pune; Jadavpur University and University of Mumbai. Through research fellowships at the Cluster of Excellence “Asia Europe in a Global Context” and TasveerGhar, Shirley has explored the visual culture of India.

Amit Madheshiya
Director, Producer, Director of Photography, Editor

Amit Madheshiya studied English Literature from Hindu College, New Delhi. He is a photographer and filmmaker based in Mumbai. His photographs have won awards from World Press Photo (2011), World Photography Awards (2011 and 2009), Commonwealth Photographic Awards (2011) and Humanity Photo Award (2009). His work have been shown in solo and group exhibitions worldwide. He is a fellow of the Sundance Institute, Goethe-Institut, India Foundation for the Arts, National Foundation of India, Arts Council of England and the University of Heidelberg.

Amit values the rigour of academia and enjoys taking his work to Universities. He has presented his work and conducted lectures at universities including University of Colorado; LUISS University, Rome; Erasmus University, Rotterdam; University of Trier; Tokyo University of Foreign Studies; University of Munich; University of Leiden; University of Westminster; University of Heidelberg; Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi; SNDT University, Pune; Jadavpur
University and University of Mumbai.

Shirley and Amit co-founded Cave Pictures in 2015. The Cinema Travellers is their debut feature.
Laura Karpman

Music Composer
Four-time Emmy award winning and composer of the Grammy award winning album, Ask Your Mama, Laura Karpman maintains a vibrant career in film, television, videogame, concert and theater music. Her distinguished credits include the hit series Underground, where she collaborated with Rapheal Saadiq and John Legend, scoring Kasi Lemmons’ Black Nativity, Spielberg’s miniseries Taken, the Showtime series Odyssey 5 and Masters of Science Fiction (both Emmy-nominated). She has received two GANG awards and an additional nomination for her videogame music which has been performed by orchestras internationally. Commissioned by Carnegie Hall, Karpman collaborated with soprano Jessye Norman and The Roots on Ask Your Mama, a multimedia opera on a text by Langston Hughes, which received its sold out premiere at Carnegie Hall in March 2009, and its West Coast premiere at The Hollywood Bowl and was revived at the Apollo Theater in Harlem. The recording received three Grammy nominations and won two awards. Karpman is looking forward to the premiere of Wilde Tales, a children’s opera commissioned by the Glimmerglass Festival. She has been awarded a grant from Opera America to develop an opera with NY Times columnist Gail Collins called Balls! based on the match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs. She has served as an advisor for the Sundance Documentary Lab, and is a new member of the Academy of Motion Pictures. She is proud to be the president of the Alliance for Women Film Composers.

Nora Kroll-Rosenbaum
Music Composer

Juilliard-trained composer Nora Kroll-Rosenbaum, born New York City, collaborates with radical filmmakers and ingenious musicians on scores that include Nikole Beckwith’s Stockolm, Pennsylvania (Sundance), Nancy Kates’Regarding Susan Sontag (HBO, Tribeca), Deepti Kakkar & Fahad Mustafa’s Powerless/ Katiyabaaz (Berlinale, Tribeca), Michael Urie’s What’s Your Emergency, and Thabo Wolfaardt’s Joburg (Telluride). Her commissions include the London Symphony Chorus, San Francisco Symphony, Seattle Symphony, and fellowships from the Sundance Composers Feature and Doc Labs. Her latest work includes producing and mixing Laura Karpman’s 2016 Grammy-winning album Ask Your Mama, and on the television series Underground.

Pete Horner
Sound Designer and Re Recording Mixer

Pete Horner is an Emmy-winning sound designer and re-recording mixer at Skywalker Sound. He studied percussion and music recording at the Cleveland Institute of Music and discovered the musicality of film sound at American Zoetrope working on films such as: Apocalypse Now Redux, The Virgin Suicides, and a 5.1 remix of The Conversation. At Skywalker he’s worked on a wide range of projects from the family film How To Train Your Dragon to Errol Morris’s Abu Ghraib prison doc, Standard Operating Procedure. In 2007, Walter Murch asked him to work as sound designer and mixer on Francis Coppola’s Youth Without Youth, and in 2009 as a mixer on Tetro. In 2012 he designed and mixed Philip Kaufman’s Hemingway and Gellhorn, for which he won an Emmy. In 2013 he won the Sundance Special Jury Prize for Sound Design for his work on Upstream Color. Recently Pete finished work on Jurassic World, Best of Enemies, Romeo is Bleeding and 20 Feet From Stardom.
Jonathan Oppenheim
Consulting Editor

Jonathan Oppenheim’s editing credits include Paris Is Burning, Sister Helen and Oscar nominee, Children Underground. He edited and co-produced the second film in Laura Poitras’ post 9/11 trilogy, The Oath, a psychological portrait of Osama bin Laden’s former bodyguard. He was the co-editor of William and the Windmill, winner of the 2013 Grand Jury Prize at SXSW, which, through the lens of a single relationship, looks at the unintended consequences of providing help to the developing world; and he was the editor and co-producer of Before and After Dinner, a film about Andre Gregory, avant garde theater director and co-star of My Dinner with Andre. He also edited the critically acclaimed feature documentary, Arguing The World, an exploration of the intersecting lives of four New York Intellectuals spanning six decades, which received a Peabody Award.

S Manoj C.P.K. Verma
Manoj’s career as a colorist started with the first Digital Intermediate (DI) project in India for Harry Baweja’s Qayamat in 2003 at Prime Focus. Following this, were a series of blockbusters like Black, Guru, Sarkaar, Chak de India, Jodha Akbar and Shaitan, to name a few. As a colorist, he has worked his magic on more than 75 feature films.

The filmmakers will be present for a Q&A after the film.

Thursday | 27th April 2017 | 7:00 PM

Everest Talkies,
1. Kenchappa Road,
opp. Bangalore East Railway Station
Fraser Town,
Bengaluru 560 005.

Directions to the Venue:

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