A new script for cities

The Charles Correa Foundation is organising a short film festival focusing on adequate urban housing to help generate ideas that can be used to reconfigure cities for the benefit of its residents.
The film festival will generate ideas which could then be used to better the living conditions of cities in India.
Photo: Rajesh Vora

By Ajit John (ajit@herald-goa.com)

The cities of India are seething with problems. From its design to pollution to its traffic congestion that seems to be growing by the day. The same holds true for Goa too. Complaints have risen from the residents of Panjim and other parts about traffic congestion, increase in garbage and the construction that continues without restraint. The Charles Correa Foundation has for the very first time launched the Nagari Film Competition. It will be an annual competition designed to guide and develop films that focus on urban issues, specific to Indian cities. 

Tahir Noronha an architect with the organizers said Nagari intends to be a bioscope for the city, and through this lens, they intend to explore diverse urban conditions and engage with issues. Importantly he said the aim was to make urban design and urban planning more accessible to the public through film. 

He said “Through Nagari, we seek to create an opportunity for filmmakers, architects, planners and social scientists to channel their thoughts and visions towards depicting the urban realm. The competition will provide professionals with an opportunity to collaborate with like-minded individuals from different backgrounds, and to utilize film as a medium to discuss the nature of urbanism in Indian cities”.

He said slums in the city were the result of faulty planning. The government he said was always constructing buildings for re-housing slums dwellers but they would usually abandon them because the buildings were not constructed taking into consideration the life of the slum dweller. He or she, Tahir said had developed their ecosystem in that slum and was earning his livelihood using it whilst in a building all that came to naught. 

This year the focus of the festival will be on adequate housing in urban India. The Ministry of Housing, Government of India has reported that over 17% of urban India  live in settlements with inadequate amenities and without access to essential services, and over 3 million urban dwellers are homeless, unable to afford even the most basic housing. The current housing shortage in urban areas is around 18.76 million Units.

Those interested in being part of the festival can address a specific issue within the current modes of production of adequate urban housing, share stories of residents living in these projects, and about their access to services. The films could highlight government policies, or focus on social workers and designers in the field, working towards solutions, or approaches for the delivery of adequate housing. The issue addressed could be specific to a certain city, or part of that city, but could also be broader, looking at the national scale. The films should be between 4-5 minutes. Fictional and non-fictional narratives are both encouraged. The film can be documentary, animated, or a combination of both. 

A panel of mentors will shortlist 12 entries for guidance and production. The teams whose entries are shortlisted will be given a month to produce, shoot and edit their films. The 12 shortlisted teams will be awarded a grant of Rs 25,000 each. The ideas generated will be put up online with a long term vision of creating a web series. 

One can only hope this attempt generates good response and interesting ideas that can be used to sort of the problems being experienced in Goa and the rest of the country.  

This article was originally posted in the Herald. On 25 September 2020. Extracted on 15 Oct 2020 from the original here.

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