Set in Tamil Nadu, Our Family brings together excerpts from Nirvanam, a one person performance, by Pritham K Chakravarthy about three generations of a family of trans-gendered women. Aasha, Seetha and Dhana, who are bound together by ties of adoption, belong to the Aravani community, known as Hijra in other parts of India. The film juxtaposes the ‘normality’ of their existence with the dark and powerful narrative by Pritham. Nirvanam (Liberation) refers to the act of freeing oneself from the male body and transforming into a female. This narrative bears witness to the tumultuous journey towards a reinvented selfhood, a voyage fraught with violence, exploitation, affection and courage.
[director]K P Jayasankar and Anjali Monteiro are professors at the Centre for Media and Cultural Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences , Mumbai. Both are involved in media production, teaching and research. Their films have won 21 national and international awards. Their films YCP 1997, The Loom , Naata (The Bond) and She Write were shown at FSA’99, FSA ’01, FSA ’03 and FSA ’05, respectively.[/director]
Anjali Monteiro and K.P. Jayasankar are Professors at the School of Media and Cultural Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. Both of them are involved in media production, teaching and research. They have played a key role in setting up the School of Media and Cultural Studies, TISS and the MA programme in Media and Cultural Studies. Their documentary films, which have been screened across the world, have won 32 national and international awards. Their most recent awards are the Best film award at the International Folk Film Festival, Kathmandu and the Basil Wright Prize for So Heddan So Hoddan (Like Here Like There) at the 13th RAI International Festival of Ethnographic Film 2013. Retrospectives include Vibgyor Film Festival, Kerala, 2006; Bangalore Film Society, 2010; Madurai International Film Festival, 2012 and Parramasala Sydney, 2013. An adaptation of their film Saacha (The Loom) was a part of the art exhibition ‘Project Space: Word. Sound. Power.’ at the Tate Modern, London, in 2013; and at Khoj, New Delhi in 2014. They have served as jury and as festival consultants and directors to several film festivals in India. They have mentored many student and fellowship documentary film projects as commissioning editors.
Their recent book A Fly in the Curry, on independent Indian documentary, published by Sage in 2016, has won a Special Mention for the best book on cinema at the National Film Awards, 2016. They are both recipients of several fellowships, including the Howard Thomas Memorial Fellowship in Media Studies, the Fulbright visiting lecturer fellowship, and the Erasmus Mundus scholarship, among others. They have also been visiting faculty at several leading media and design institutions and lectured at universities in the USA, Australia, Europe, and in Asian countries.
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Anjali Monteiro, K P Jayasankar
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