Discovering the City through Filmmaking

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While there are several ways to discover a city, filmmaking is a unique and interactive way of engaging with the local culture, people and heritage of a city. Filmmaking enables the viewer to visualize culture. How different is the narrative of city life when one moves from viewing the world from the human eye to capturing it through the lens of a film camera, and what difference does a moving frame make to the consumption of reality as opposed to a still photograph? As urban culture changes, and the narratives of different lives collide in the civic realm, what role does filmmaking play in bringing out ignored and sometimes difficult to digest realities of a city? What is the difference between film storytelling and the rendering of urban life captured through CCTV cameras in the making of safe, smart cities? What are the techniques, visual styles, principles of screenwriting and elements of visualization when one tries to bring the montages of city life and abstract concept of life, causality, time and social justice to the cinema screen? And what is the role of film storytelling then in the imagining of better cities?

Akanksha Sood Singh is a Delhi based filmmaker, photographer and entrepreneur. She was awarded the 61st National Film Award for her directorial debut ‘The Pad Piper’ (2014) as well as the 62nd National Film Award for Best editing for her film ‘Tigress Blood’ (2015). Akanksha is at the forefront of international natural history and documentary programming in India. With a debut in research and production, her multi-tasking skills and eye for a story have enabled her to bring big-ticket productions, from feature films to award winning documentaries to life, and have been instrumental in opening doors for Indian filmmakers to direct commissions from international broadcasters in the wildlife film genre.

Vasan Bala is a Mumbai based actor and writer, known for The Lunchbox (2013), Bombay Velvet (2015) and Dev D (2009). His influences range from Manmohan Desai to Mani Ratnam, Kubrick to Scorsese and Emir Kusturica. After assisting Anurag Kashyap on Dev.D, Gangs of Wasseypur and Bombay Velvet, Vasan Bala made his feature debut with ‘Peddlers’ which was screened at the Cannes Critics Week and was nominated for the Golden Camera in 2012.