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Documentary Politics

Jemma Desai’s keynote address at Getting Real 2024 delves deeply into the ethical and existential challenges faced by cultural workers, particularly in the realm of documentary filmmaking, against the backdrop of global conflicts, notably the ongoing crisis in Palestine: “I have chosen to speak about integrity and so I cannot speak about anything but Palestine.” Her reflections resonate beyond the specific context of film, challenging all cultural workers to consider their role in shaping narratives that affirm human dignity and confront systemic injustices.
Two days before the 10th edition of the Kolkata People’s Film Festival (KPFF) began, India roiled in a frenzy of celebration. All the agencies of command and control announced the January 22 consecration of the Ram Mandir—the enthronement of the Hindu deity Rama in his alleged birthplace, Ayodhya—as a day for pomp and self-congratulation. Many states declared it a public holiday. The building of the Ram Mandir in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh on the devastated powder of a 16th-century mosque, the Babri Masjid, which was dismantled brick by brick by Hindutva mobs in 1992—a friend once called this destruction one of the most fissiparous acts in the history of independent India—marked the psychic normalization of a supposedly secular democracy into a so-called Hindu Rashtra, a nation for and of Hindus.
Over the years, Jemma Desai’s writing, programming, research, and practice have intersected with institutional critique. Through investigating film
In November 2020, a group of filmmakers met via a Directors Guild of America Zoom panel to discuss a harrowing commonality: missing films. On this
Wesleyan University is a liberal arts college located in Middletown, Connecticut. Founded in 1831, Wesleyan is a school “where critical thinking and
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By Caty Borum Chattoo & Will Jenkins, Center for Media & Social Impact When Movies Go to Washington: Documentary Films & Public Policy in the United
With the US Presidential Inauguration only a few days earlier, this year's Realscreen Summit was bound to hit on some related topics. After all, as
Editor's Note: The following is a keynote address that Marcia Smith of Firelight Media delivered at IDA's Getting Real conference last September