Twenty-two Years with You All
Over these two swift decades and more, we the organisers of Film Southasia have not been ourselves documentary makers. We felt that it was the job of filmmakers to make films, and our job was to create the venue to showcase what they produced. And I have to say that that after twenty-two years of organising FSA every two years, and the Traveling Film Southasia (TFSA) all the time, we are yet to tire.
Our energy derives from the films that get made, that we get to watch, evaluate, select and present before our audience here at the ‘mother festival’ and thereafter at venues across Southasia and the globe. The non-fiction filmmaker’s commitment to message and to craft has had us in thrall, which is why we remain excited to organise the festival.
What marks the non-fiction audiovisual genre is the value its places on the fundamental freedoms, especially the freedom of expression, speech, assembly and media. We are living in times when self-censorship has mainstream media houses cowering down before power centres, social media has been hijacked by the ultra-right to promote radical populism, and the traditional opinion-making is being turned on its head.
During this time of dangerous flux in each of the countries of Southasia, we at FSA find documentary filmmaking as an island of stability, where issues of social justice, democracy and inclusion continue to be the paramount values.
The theme of FSA ’19 was chosen to be ‘Where the mind is free…’, taking liberty with the line by Rabindra Nath Tagore, to emphasise the dangers of succumbing to the state and non-state wallahs who would want to troll, abuse and silence. Our minds need to continue to remain free, and we have found documentary making as the one genre that has not succumbed or gone with the flow.
This is why we are not tired at all of organising film festivals. We want you, the audience of FSA ’19, to help us take the films to venues large and small within the Southaia, and to parts overseas.
Kanak Mani Dixit
Chair, Film Southasia