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Chalshiksha, India’s first educational film festival, in Bengaluru this weekend

The festival will see independent filmmakers telling stories of innovative educational practices as well as educators using cinema as a medium to teach

The festival will see independent filmmakers telling stories of innovative educational practices as well as educators using cinema as a medium to teach

Come weekend, Bengaluru will witness Chalshiksha, a first-of-its-kind three-day residential film festival that will celebrate education in all its forms through the medium of films.

More than 35 independent films and documentaries will be screened at the festival organized by SchoolScape Center for Educators and Project Nomad in association with Abheek Lifeversity. It will be held from September 23 to 25.

With the Union government’s new education policy soon to be implemented, teacher-educators believe it is time for education to be reviewed. Chalshiksha is attempting to do that through films, as the visual medium offers a fresh avenue for a relook at education and schooling.

Amukta Mahapatra, Director of SchoolScape, was part of an innovative program some years ago called “Neel Bagh”, run by educationist David Horsburgh. “When Neel Bagh completed 50 years, Sourav Dutta, who runs Project Nomad, documented it but failed to find good avenues to showcase his work. When he approached me, I suggested that we screen it as part of this film festival,” she says. Dutta’s film David and his Neel Bagh will be screened on the first day of the festival.

Coming together of films and education

Chalshiksha will see independent filmmakers telling stories of innovative education practices as well as educators using cinema as a medium to document the field. The line-up includes both fiction and documentary films, on topics such as child labor, autism and educational initiatives.

While films on education are not given due importance in India, Mahapatra says given the didactic nature of many films, educators are also unsure how to use them effectively.

According to the organizers, the event will seek to explore how filmmaking and education can go hand in hand and encourage filmmakers to make films around education, especially in India.

Mahapatra says they have been overwhelmed by the number of films received for the very first edition. “There are enough films being made on this field and we have more than what we can screen for this edition. So, we are making a repository that will be made available to the public soon.”

Poster of ‘I Wonder’, a film being screened at Chalshiksha, an education film festival in Bengaluru from September 23-25, 2022. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Open to the public

To make the event truly democratic and inter-generational, the organizers have thrown it open to the public. Children, parents, teachers, school heads, filmmakers as well as educators are expected to come together, blurring the lines of hierarchy.

The event will be attended by well-known names from the worlds of education and filmmaking, including Arvind Gupta, Deepa Dhanraj and Vijay Padaki.

Apart from film screenings, Chalshiksha will also feature plays, talks and open discussions. To make it an interactive experience for young ones, activities like yoga, bird watching, storytelling workshops, theater games have been organized.

The residential event is being held at the Ecumenical Christian Center in Whitefield and will have facilities to host participants who wish to stay onsite for the festival. Spot registrations are available too.

For more details about the event and to register, visit http://chalshiksha.schoolscape.org.

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