Tate Modern’s Experimenta with London Indian Film Festival

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The London Indian Film Festival (June 20 – July 3) is exploring new boundaries and is proud to announce a brand new partnership with Tate Modern to present a rare showcase of Indian experimental film curated from Bangalore.

Festival Director Cary Sawhney says: “It’s terrific to have a world renowned organisation like Tate Modern partner with us this year and we hope this is the start of a long association. The inclusion of experimental, artist films in the festival’s line-up furthers our aim to present as varied a picture of contemporary Indian cinema as possible. It gives us the opportunity to work with respected guest curators, in this case, Shai Heredia, director of India’s Experimenta Festival. And, of course, to expand our audience, since it is likely that the audience watching these programmes will be different to that at the high-octane gangster film or the RomCom.”

The curator, Shai Heredia, who previously co-organised the series Cinema of Prayoga: Indian Experimental Film and Video 1913-2006 at Tate Modern, started Experimenta in Mumbai in 2003, beginning by curating a programme of classics from the western avant garde – Stan Brakhage, Michael Snow, Peter Gidal, Peter Kubelka et al. The festival was an immense success, attended by 400 people over 3 days.

Heredia says, “There is a thriving community of Indian Independent filmmakers and artists who are exploring new film forms and blurring genre boundaries. This community, in my opinion, represents contemporary India, not only through the radical form and content of their work, but also through their artistic spirit and commitment to creating new and alternative ways of seeing. Interestingly, the context of film academia in India has also begun to engage and respond to this shift in filmmaking practice, and one hopes that this will create a more contemporary and nuanced film studies discourse in the future.”

“I’m always excited to curate work for the Tate Modern as the audience is usually extremely informed and very engaged. I think that Stuart Comer, Film Curator at Tate Modern, has really built the Tate film programme into one of the strongest, most eclectic, and experimental, museum film programmes, and I am happy to contribute to this context of exhibition. As LIFF focuses on showcasing only new contemporary work, curated here is a programme of films that represent some of the ideas, concerns and aesthetics that Indian film artists have been exploring most recently. The London Indian Film Festival plays an important role in showcasing new non-mainstream south Asian work. I think it is important for audiences at diaspora film festivals to be aware, and critical of the hegemony of Bollywood,” Heredia adds.

Experimenta India: London Indian Film Festival takes place from Saturday 23 June – Sunday 24 June 2012 at the Tate Modern. Tickets are currently on sale.



Saturday 23 June 2012 | 19.00
Duration | 57 mins
Tate Modern | Starr Auditorium
£5 | £4 concessions


Ekta Mittal and Yashaswini Raghunandan | India 2012 | Colour | Sound | HD | 18 mins

Presence is the second film from the Behind the Tin Sheets Archive. Landscapes shift, people move from place to place – time passes and spaces evolve. Through this metamorphosis, new things try to replace the old. Some remain and linger and some go missing and disappear. We remember and we also forget. Between this, we encounter the invisible. This film reflects the subconscious of migrant workers against an urban landscape in metamorphosis. As they carry their stories in and out of many cities, the cities bear witness to these fragments. A point of impermanence and permanence collide, in close proximity with the filmmakers’ haunt within the city. Suspended from time and space, the familiar begins to render the unfamiliar.


Sonal Jain and Mriganka Madhukaillya | India 2011 | Colour | Sound | 35mm | 39 mins

This film was shot in a redundant Thermal power plant in the outskirts of the city of Guwahati. It forms a response to the artists’ interest in constructed signs that can never be replicated or remembered and in the relationship between matter and memory. There is an endless circularity and an unbearable silence — the pause A point of impermanence and permanence collide, in close proximity with the filmmakers’ haunt within the city. Suspended from time and space, the familiar begins to render the unfamiliar.


Sunday 24 June 2012 | 16.00
Duration | 59 mins
Tate Modern | Starr Auditorium
£5 | £4 concessions


Natasha Mendonca | India 2012 | Colour + B&W | Sound | 16mm transferred to HD | 20 mins

After the monsoon floods in 2005 that submerged Bombay, the filmmaker returns to her native city to examine the personal impact of this devastating event. The result is Jan Villa, a tapestry of images that studies the space of a post-colonial metropolis but in a way that deeply implicates the personal. The destruction wreaked by the floods becomes a telling and a dismantling of other devastations and the sanctuaries of family and home. In its structure, Jan Villa is a vortex, drawing to its center all that surrounds it.


Shreyasi Kar | India 2011 | Colour | Sound | 35mm | 10 mins

City Beyond is a film that speculates about the lives led by inhabitants of a submerged civilisation. The superstructure has been recently discovered in the crevices of the ocean floor. The film moves through the submerged landscape, gathering glimpses of life, times and the end of a lost society.


Iram Ghufran | India 2011 | Colour | Sound | 35mm | 29 mins

There is Something in the Air is a call from the periphery of sanity. A series of dream narratives and accounts of spiritual possession as experienced by women ‘petitioners’ at the shrine of a Sufi saint in northern India. Drama unfolds via dreams, appearances of djinns and disappearances of women. The shrine becomes a space for expressions of longing and transgression. The film invites the viewer to a fantastical world, where fear and desire is experienced through dreams and ‘afflictions of air’. The shrine is a space where performance becomes the only rule of engagement, and one can begin to think about the possibilities that ‘insanity’ produces.

London Indian Film Festival is supported by Film London’s Cultural Film Exhibition Fund through the National Lottery on behalf of the BFI. Partners include Arts Council of England, Cineworld Cinemas, Western Union, Incredible India, Grange Hotels, Skillset, The Nehru Centre, BollySpice, Asiana.tv, Zee TV and Eastern Eye, amongst others. The opening and closing nights of the festival are supported by Sanona, a brand new on-demand pay per view film service.

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