Yamagata remains one of my favorite documentary festivals, so it is an honor for me to serve here as a jury member this year. I say honor and not necessarily pleasure, because I know that the quality of films will be high as usual and selecting only a few winners from this pool will be painful. In many ways winning an award at festivals is really a lottery because there are so many variables. I say this not to belittle those filmmakers that will go on to win but to console those that may not, having been on both sides of this thin and arbitrary line.
Sometimes the films I like are not necessarily the films I would have made but they are always the films I would love to show. They are the films that I think will bring us closer to our humanity. And the audience I keep in my mind’s eye when making films and when looking at them is not necessarily composed of the avid cinema-goer and the festival buff. It is an audience of ordinary, everyday people—people who have been brainwashed and traumatized by Hollywood and Bollywood and Star and Sony and CNN. When I come across a film that can cut through this fog and say something of importance in a language that is accessible without being simplistic, I am thrilled.
Born in 1950. Completed B.A. in English literature at Bombay University in 1970, B.A. in sociology at Brandeis University in 1970, and M.A. in communications at McGill University in 1982. Participated in the anti-Vietnam War movement from 1970-72; as a volunteer in Caesar Chavez’ United Farm Workers’ Union in 1972; in Kishore Bharati, a rural development and education project in Central India in 1972-74; and other movements for civil liberties and democratic rights. Works include A Time to Rise (1981), about Indian immigrant farm workers’ efforts to unionize in Canada; Bombay Our City (1985), on slum dwellers; In Memory of Friends (1990), on rebuilding communal harmony in Punjab; In the Name of God (1992), screened at YIDFF ’93, on the rise of Hindu fundamentalism; Father, Son and Holy War (1995), awarded the Special Prize at YIDFF ’95, on the patriarchal roots of violence in India; and A Narmada Diary (1996), which won the Grand Prize at the Earth Vision Film Festival in 1996. War and Peace won the same prize in 2002.
War and PeaceJang aur Aman
INDIA / 2002 / English, Hindi, Japanese / Color / Video / 166 min
Director, Script, Photography, Editing, Narrator, Producer: Anand Patwardhan
Sound: Simantini Dhuru, Monica Wahi, Vipin Bhati
Music: Nathu Khan, Junoon, Pratap Singh Bhodade and others
Source: EARTH VISION Committee
Filmed over three tumultuous years in India, Pakistan, Japan and the U.S., War and Peace is an epic documentary journey of peace activism in the face of global militarism and war. Triggered by macabre scenes of jubilation that greeted nuclear testing in the Indian sub-continent, the film is dramatically framed by the murder of Mahatma Gandhi. Fifty years after his death, memories of Gandhi seem like a mirage that never was, created by our thirst for peace and our very distance from it.