City on reel

The Charles Correa Foundation with the support of Mumbai-based ATE Chandra Foundation is organising Nagari, a short film contest themed around adequate housing in urban India.
Different housing typologies can be observed in Mumbai.
Photo: Hardik Joshi via Unsplash

By Christine Machado | NT BUZZ

According to the Ministry of Housing, Government of India, over 17 per cent of urban India lives in settlements with inadequate amenities and without access to essential services. Over three million urban dwellers are homeless and unable to afford even the most basic housing.

In order to highlight this issue and offer up possible solutions, The Charles Correa Foundation with the support of the Mumbai-based charitable trust ATE Chandra Foundation has conceptualised a short film contest titled ‘Nagari’. Themed around addressing the question ‘How could one tell the story of housing adequacy in urban India?’

The registrations for the first edition of this competition began on October 1 and will remain open till October 15.

“The ATECF trustee, Anuj Bhagwati, believes that visual media is a powerful medium to make complicated developmental and urban issues more accessible to the general population. In fact, ATECF has been commissioning short films on a variety of issues like traffic, congestion, environment, etc for the last few years,” says architect with the Foundation and Convenor Tahir Noronha. Thus, Bhagwati and CCF conceptualised the Nagari competition to give the filmmaking process a more participatory approach and hopefully cover urban issues across cities in India.

“The word ‘Nagari’ is a colloquial term for ‘the city’. We envision the competition to be like a bioscope, one object, with a variety of viewports which can give the public a variety of insights and contexts, on a single urban issue every year,” says Noronha, adding that the Foundation decided to take on the project this year because their patron late Charles Correa himself was a great film aficionado who made films like ‘A City on the Water’ to explain complicated planning issues like the New Bombay Master Plan.

Throwing further light on the theme, Noronha states that everyone now knows, and complains about slums in the city. But, as per their research, slums are just a symptom of a larger issue. “Our team has done a little analysis of the UN standards for adequacy in housing. Most planners and architects and social scientists are able to situate the problem, but lack the means with which to contextualise it and simplify it in a way that others can really understand,” he says. “This is why we want to try this approach of film where four mentors, all from the background of filmmaking and education, and our team of urban researchers will help participants create short, powerful films on the issue of housing.”

These films can be made using different mediums, fictional and non-fictional narratives are both encouraged. The film, which should be between four to five minutes long, can be documentary, animated or a combination. Participants can also work with found material and footage within the permutation of copyrights.

The participating teams must be multidisciplinary. At the minimum – one member must be an architect or planner, and another a social scientist, one member of the team must have some prior filmmaking experience.

The films have to be within in a 16:9 frame and have to be submitted in HD. While the films can be multilingual, to address a larger viewer platform it should have subtitles in English. “The format is not like a typical competition: Participants will submit an abstract and outline to us. 12 films will then be picked up and given a grant of `25,000 each, and introduced to a mentor. The 12 films will then be put up in the public domain,” says Noronha, adding that eventually they want to start a web series called ‘Nagari TV’.

In December, a jury of established filmmakers and urbanists will select two films for an award. “Additionally, the film with the most public engagement will be rewarded with a people’s choice award,” says Noronha.


This article was originally posted in the Navhind Times on 6 October 2020. Retrieved from the original here.