The first annual ‘All Living Things Environmental Film Festival’ is Here!
“Humans are in an existential crisis and it is a result of how we are treating all other species and ecosystems apart from ourselves, we need a fundamental and systemic shift in the way we operate. Using film as its core medium, ALT EFF is a platform and a confluence that will nurture and inspire thinking critical to address the climate emergency we are in.”
-Kunal Khanna (Festival Director and Founding Member)
With its resplendent lineup of thirty-three Indian and international films, the first annual All Living Things Environmental Film Festival (ALT EFF) will take place from 5-13 December 2020. Apart from Indian films, the program includes award-winning international films from different parts of the world such as South Africa, Germany, Madagascar & U.K, USA, Republic of Guinea, and Mozambique. The diverse and engaging films including 15 Indian and 18 international films (shorts as well as features) will be accompanied by 11 live events that will bring together panels of experts and thought leaders to discuss topics including human-animal conflict, wildlife film-making, investigative journalism, sustainable tourism, and offer masterclasses on storytelling, film-making, animation, and zero-waste living among others.
By the virtue of TheVibe’s collaboration with ALT EFF, we got in a conversation with the dynamic and illustrious founding team which had originally conceived the festival as a physical event in Panchgani. The founding team comprises Kunal Khanna, Neha Shreshta, Marie Schega, and Rudransh Mathur. It is in their vision and direction that ALT EFF is able to hold a virtual festival despite the Covid-19 pandemic. It is through their unique repertoire of skills and eminent leadership that ALT EFF has metamorphosed into the splendid virtual film festival we all are getting to perceive. With insights from the team, we bring to you what goes into making a festival of the stature of ALT EFF happen.
What Makes ALT EFF Unique
Along with its rationale which has environmental consciousness at its core, the quality of content being featured and recognized by the festival is what makes it esteemed. The team acquaints us with the two-fold premise of the environmental film festival’s metric- the relevance of the content of a film and the technical aspects like cinematography, sound, narrative, and editing. It is an intricate balance of the two that makes a film worthy of recognition within the circuit. It is the film making background and the ethos of environmental consciousness that has contributed to the lineup we look forward to.
Another of the plethora of aspects that make ALT EFF distinctive and unparalleled is its eminent jury which includes filmmaker Satyanshu Singh, David Martinez, Monika Naranjo Gonzalez, Sudheer Palsane, Sophy Sivaraman and Akanksha Sood Singh will award the winning film in each of the following categories, Indian Short, India Feature, International Short, International Feature and Jury Special Mention. The advisory team includes the legendary Mike Pandey, who has spent over 35 years in the environmental and filmmaking space, and Pooja Jauhari, the CEO of Glitch. The ambassadors representing the festival include Jackie Shroff and Mrunmayee Deshpande amongst other leading figures in the industry. Shaan Kumar, Pooja Gupta, Gunjan Menon, Arati Kumar Rao and Gautam Pandey round off a talented group of ambassadors.
Tracing Roots Back to Panchgani
Neha Shrehtha emphasizes how unlike several virtual events, ALT EFF can trace its firmly grounded roots back to a physical area that replenishes their rationale, gives them purpose and grounding – Panchgani. The surreal, naturally endowed hill station in Maharashtra is the backdrop against which the team has managed to work and coordinate with its members and volunteers to keep the spirit alive throughout these precarious times. The festival works in close relationship with prominent organizations adding to the socio-cultural fabric of Panchgani through their environmentally responsible endeavors. These include- Redstone Organic Farm, Network of Creative Thinkers, Devrai Art Village, and The Odd Gumnut.
Challenges and Milestones
Having successfully put up this eminent film festival together, through iconic leadership and enthusiastic volunteers who have amalgamated their energies, traversed places (even countries!) to make it happen- the team reflects on its journey so far. ALT EFF was initially conceived as a physical event in Panchgani. With the pandemic acquiring our everyday reality, the team had to take the entire procedure of coordinating, forming a community, and working toward a cause; virtual. To keep it rooted in Panchgani, in its rationale and the spirit of a community is what they must take pride in.
Regarding the kind of tight-knit niche that already exists for environmental film making and its rigidness, the team responds with optimism. In a world heavily dominated by pop-culture, the genre has limited viewership and platforms. Upon being asked about its position in the status quo, Kunal Khanna mentions how the very logic behind making the festival accessible to the masses is a step towards bridging this gap. The passes of the complete program of films and live events are available on https://watch.eventive.org/alteff2020. Hence, people can engage with the hitherto niche and exclusive genre. Another hurdle in accessing the genre is its largely English based content. Marie Schega highlights the regional, geographical, and linguistic diversity that has been carefully incorporated in the spectrum of films featured. The very existence of a platform like this incentivizes filmmakers to delve into this genre and understand its vitality.
The Tangible Impact of ALT EFF
The most central ideological tool of the film festival remains igniting consciousness in the viewership through visual media. ALT EFF brings together a community that collectively shares the vision of altering, impacting, and co-creating a future through the medium of film making. In Shrestha’s words, “No matter how much information or research there is in the world, it has no meaning unless it is presented such that people can understand it. Film does that.” Additionally, the metric of judging and rewarding productions, their tangible impact on the environment is a contributing factor. Rudransh Mathur, upon being asked about the purpose of the endeavor states the value of the Impact Quotient of any production in order to be recognized. In the highly restricted virtual space, ALT EFF inspires us to join hands in the cause while occupying a pivotal role in the domain.
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