Three documentaries — The Unbearable Being of Lightness, March March March and In The Shade of Fallen Chinar — haven’t been granted permission to be screened.

WORLD CINEMA Updated: Jun 16, 2017 13:52 IST

Indo Asian News Service, Thiruvananthapuram
Kerala Festival
Three filmmakers whose films have been denied permission said they are deeply disturbed by these attempts to restrict artistic voices.

Three filmmakers whose films, including on the Rohith Vemula suicide and the JNU protests, were denied permission to be screened at the International Documentary Short Film Festival (IDSFFK) have approached the Kerala High Court.

The 10th installment of the IDSFFK that begins on Friday will continue till June 20.

Speaking to IANS, an official working with the organising committee of the festival said their petitions have been filed and the matter is coming up before the court on Friday.

“Seeking legal redress is the only way out for them as the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting had denied permission and hence we can do nothing about it,” said the official, who did not wish to be identified.

The three films include The Unbearable Being of Lightness, a 45-minute documentary about Hyderabad University Rohith Vemula’s suicide in 2016, March March March, a 19-minute film on the Jawaharlal Nehru University protests, and In The Shade of Fallen Chinar, a 16-minute short film that shows the lives of a group of young Kashmiri artists who are university students.

The five-day festival will showcase 210 films, of which around 170 do not have a certificate from the censor board. However, all of them, barring these three, got the Information and Broadcasting Ministry nod for screening.

In a related development, around 160 filmmakers from various parts of the country have come out in support of the three filmmakers and written to the Union Information and Broadcasting Minister M Venkaiah Naidu to intervene and give them permission for screening.

The filmmakers said they are deeply disturbed by these attempts to restrict artistic voices. “We cannot support actions that deprive audiences of meaningful cinema and endanger the democratic values of our country,” they said.

“We unequivocally condemn this action by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and lend our unqualified support to IDSFFK and the filmmakers who are being prevented from screening their films. We urge the ministry to immediately issue an exemption letter to the three films and ensure that films at festivals do not face arbitrary censorship in future.”