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`Indian documentary films lack international exposure'

K.K. GOPALAKRISHNAN

Academic Josephine Eliot says that Indian documentaries have to be promoted abroad.



TEACHING FILMS: Josephine Eliot.

"Some of the Indian documentary films are of high quality, but in general, Indian documentaries are not well exposed abroad," says Josephine Eliot, faculty member of the department of drama, film and television of Bristol University in the United Kingdom (U.K.). She was recently in Thrissur for a four-day workshop on documentary film-making under the auspices of Chetana Media Institute.

She says: "I think what is happening in the United States and U.K. is not happening in India, though this country has potential for making documentary films for an international audience.

"Film makers like Michael Moore, known the world over for `Fahrenheit 9/11', moved to the mainstream industry and is making hits. This enables issues to be debated at international and inter-cultural levels. Unfortunately, this is not the situation in India. Indian documentaries are not shown on the big screen unlike in western countries."

She adds, "India has a very strong tradition of documentaries. Contemporary issues are discussed by voluntary organisations and it paves theway for making documentaries."

Josephine Eliot specialises in documentaries, modern films and also teaches adaptation of literature for films.

Films for media development

Josephine is particularly interested in using films for media development and has been teaching undergraduates for the last three decades.

Josephine screened nine documentary films, including `Fahrenheit 9/11,' the 1922 documentary `Nanook of the North,' by Robert Flaherty (U.S.) and the Russian film of 1929, `Man with a Movie Camera,' by Dziga Vertov, as part of her workshop in Thrissur.

A few years back, she took a break from her full-time job at Bristol University and now teaches only for six months at the department. Rest of the year she "travels around the globe, to get inspiration and to conduct workshops on documentary film making."

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