There are so many film festivals in India. Why would anyone want to start yet another one? Good
question! Read on.
So, what is – or are! – the USP of the DOK Leipzig Lake Festival. Here goes:
- It is a purely documentary film festival
- It is truly international and brings an exclusive collection of documentaries
- The collection comes from the oldest international documentary film festival in the world, the
DOK Leipzig Film Festival – so there is really no risk about quality films
- It is wide-ranging because it covers different genres / strands. Something no documentary
event offers in India – at least as yet
- It is not cluttered with demanding parallel events and offers uninterrupted intensive viewing of
15 films over five days
Wonderful. So, what's the Catch 22?
The usual way of running an event like this is to run around and hunt for support. It's a complicated
way of trying to do something worthwhile and often imbued with strange corporate / institutional
politics. We chose otherwise. We decided to place this unique documentary event in India within the
marketplace. If it doesn't work there, it means it's not needed, people don't want it.
So, we only approached various governments for support through their embassies in India based on
the argument of cross-cultural understanding and exchange. We are still to hear from them. Apart
from that, this unique documentary event has to basically run and survive on accreditations.
The accreditation fee may sound high for some. The online survey we conducted before finally
deciding on this event had some very strong responses about this aspect. Many feel that there should
be no fee or that it should be greatly subsidised / reduced. The argument is that documentary film-
makers make films on less than shoe-string budgets, do it for passion, for a cause. These are not
people who should be charged a fee.
Fair enough. Do heed our view on this. It has been a major step to initiate this festival without any
financial support in position. To make this first edition happen, we needed some income to cover
expenses. Based on the feedback from the online survey we conducted, we have tried to keep
the fees as modest as possible - with special concessions for film students, groups and residents
of Uttarakhand. We hope you will appreciate this initiative that brings the world of international
documentaries so close. Do spread the word for the future, so we can raise funds for it.
Our endeavour is to build a platform where conversations grow around the international forms of
genres and storytelling techniques – and 'falling in line' is not viewed as a compromise. Rather, we
envision these conversations will lead to some churning and create an Indian narrative style that, in
the future, is something people will really talk about globally.
We hope you understand, appreciate and empathise with our view. Your support will go a long way in
truly internationalising the Indian documentary.
To those whom it matters, this will also enable putting the marginalised Himalayan state of
Uttarakhand, in northern India, on the global cultural map. Offering opportunities for peripheral
employment and income generation to the local population, in the lake district of Nainital.
So sign up!
Thank you for going along with us and helping FORMEDIA make the DOK Leipzig Lake Festival a
success. Join us at The Lake Resort, Naukuchiatal, from March 7 to 11, 2013