Sajida Khan, a South African woman, has a hazardous dumpsite on her doorstep. Her neighbours are dying one by one. Meanwhile, the World Bank calls the dump a world class example of an environmental project.
The Documentary Circle of the Hyderabad Film Club, in association with Magic Lantern Foundation, Delhi, and ECOMOVE International, Germany, is organizing a 3-day mini-festival of films on the politics of environment, called Point Of View. The films will be screened at the Prasad's Preview Theatre everyday, from 6:00pm to 9:00pm, between 16th and 18th February.
Environment is a political issue, whether we like it or not. Today's conflicts are more about the control of natural resources than anything else. We see these conflicts in our day-to-day life, whether it is for control of land and water, or a question of who pollutes and who pays, they are all about people's problems, and thus influence the politics of our day. It is happening around us, but we do not realize it. And when there is a realization, there is a lack of perspective. The perspective doesn't happen because, more often than not, environmental film festivals talk about non-controversial issues.
Point Of View is a sincere effort to look beyond the obvious, to give a platform for the alternative voices and untold stories. Most of these films have enjoyed wide viewership and appreciation elsewhere in India and abroad. The films straddle a wide spectrum of subjects, from India becoming a dump yard for the wastes created by European consumerism to the effects of depleted Uranium on American soldiers; from fishermen's woes in Tamil Nadu to a lone woman's fight against a toxic dump in South Africa; from the World Bank's environmental politics to locals' anger against tourism in Goa, from the horror stories of genetic engineering in Canada to the scams behind flood control in Bihar.
Today, the first day, Green Gold, a South African documentary by Heidi Bachram, will be screened. This is the story of Sajida Khan, a South African woman with a hazardous dumpsite on her doorstep. Her neighbours are dying one by one, while the dump leaks gases and toxins into her air, water and earth. Meanwhile, the World Bank calls the dump a world class example of an environmental project. How can this be? This dramatic gap between the local community and the World Bank is because of the new pollution trading scheme in the Kyoto Protocol.
Green Gold was made at a poignant moment when the United Nation's World Summit for Sustainable Development (WSSD) came to South Africa in 2002. Energetic footage of the protests against the WSSD set the stage for this revealing investigation into environmental solutions at work, and what they actually mean for communities on the ground.
The screenings are free for all. For further details, please contact Bh S S Prakash Reddy of the Hyderabad Film Club at 2373-0841/93910-20243.