The longest running low cost film festival in Bihar, started as ‘All Bihar VHS videofest’ in 1995 is held every two years to encourage the use of audio-visual media as a tool of holistic development, democratic values and freedom of expression.
A three day festival of the alternative kick starts on Friday 30 April, as a section of students, educators and young documentary enthusiasts come together at the Ravi Bharati campus in Kurji for a three day festival.
Mithila Sanskar Geet produced by the Sangeet Natak Academy and directed by Prof. Shankar Dutt kicks off the festival on April 30. The film documents the ‘geets’ and traditional cultural practices of Mithilanchal. These intangible practices are gradually becoming extinct because of rapid urbanisation and migration which are unchecked demographic movements of our times. Apart from a selection of films by well known documentary film makers, student films from all over India, as well as student work from Bihar will be exhibited. Films made by the children of Bihar Bal Bhawan are to be a major attraction on closing day, May 2.
“Our objective has always been to promote the video camera as a tool for holistic development and the promotion of human rights. We also aim to help students, and members of the larger community around us to develop an understanding of the audio-visual medium,” says Frank Krishner, who has been convenor for the videofest since the year 2000.
Since the early 1990’s when VHS was a new medium, and the video cassette recorder was making its way into middle class homes throughout the country, Dr Jacob Srampickal SJ, a well known media trainer and analyst, then director of Ravi Bharati, organised the first All Bihar VHS video festival to encourage local video-film makers in the new medium.
The idea was to enlist camcorder in the cause of social communication; to use the relatively low-cost VHS as an alternative to the expensive, establishment-oriented ‘mainstream’ mass-communication machine.
Today, with computers and convergence media bringing down costs still further, the role of video as a narrator of the realities of the marginalised, the displaced, and the alternative, is has greater significance. On the one hand is the corporate, organised, 24 hour news media that sets the agenda for discourse that screens out the serious and highlights the sensational. On the other is the untold stories of millions of ordinary citizens that need to be told.
Every two years, Ravi Bharati celebrates these stories with a three day alternative low-cost festival, inviting videos made by enthusiasts, students, children, idealists, social workers, educationists, documentary film makers and assorted activists. “Abhivyakti”, the word for ‘expression’ in Hindi has been chosen as the name of the festival.
The films are intended to provoke discussions and ideas, and there is time for discussion after each film. Mr RN Dash, president of the Cine Society, Patna, has often lauded the Ravi Bharati Videofest as being the most consistently run non-profit endeavour to promote documentaries in Bihar.
Abhivyakti [formerly All Bihar VHS video fest] is the oldest grassroots folk-based media events in Bihar. Videos and features premiered in this festival have gone on to win accolades for the film-makers in bigger festivals. In recent years, the festival has begun to attract a significant number of student film-makers and short student films.
The purpose of the fest is to highlight issues of social importance, introduce alternative film-makers to the people, and to provide enhanced media literacy for students and interested persons
Venue: Ravi Bharati, Seva Kendra Campus, Near Kurji HF Hospital, Sadaquat Ashram, Patna 800010 Contact numbers: Fr Benny Moolan SJ, Director, Ravi Bharati 0612- 2263455
Frank Krishner Convenor 93344 90050