THE excitement was palpable as students from 10 schools in and around the tricity got together at St Kabir Public School for the INTACH Filmit Film Festival 2019-20, to celebrate their own efforts in creating short films which showcase the heritage and culture of their city. The festival was organised by INTACH’S (Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage) Heritage Education and Communication Service.
Filmit is a multi-cultural project that allows students to understand the heritage and history of the city in which they live through the medium of films. The project was launched 11 years ago and receives funding from the Helen Hamlyn Trust (United Kingdom). According to Deepika Gandhi, co-convenor of the festival, the Filmit platform allows children to approach history through a unique medium. Students are trained in film techniques and development of content and also taught how to develop an underlying theme for their film which relates to any aspect of culture. They are further taught the techniques of camera work and editing through a series of workshops.
As part of the event, students introduced their works and shared their diverse experiences with Filmit. Initially, films shot by students from all across the country were screened. Many of these were pleas for peace and harmony and talked about the importance of secularism in today’s political climate. Others depicted the inequalities present in Indian society and the destruction of the environment. The films had broad themes and revealed aspects of Chandigarh’s history and culture that were previously unknown to many in the audience. For instance, a group of students presented a film on the missing Sector 13 of Chandigarh and the reason for it. Students from St Kabir presented an insightful film on the history of the Manimajra Fort, while students from St Stephen’s showed their short film about the famous ‘Daulaat ki Chaat’. As many as 30 films were made by students in Chandigarh alone.