Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Indian Leopards-The Killing Field bags best film award at Vatavaran

New Delhi, November 24: Praveen Singh’s Indian Leopards — The Killing Field, a film about the conflict between leopards and humans in India, won the best film award on the concluding day of the Vatavaran film festival today.

The Chief Minister’s Award for the Best Documentary went to Nutan Manmohan for A Second Hand Life. Sanjay Barnela won the Best Award in the Evironment category for the film River Tamin Mantras. The award-winning films will be screened in 15 cities throughout the country in 2006 as part of Vatavaran Travels, a touring film festival.

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Other awards also included a Lifetime Dedication award to Naresh Bedi. Six young filmmakers were given fellowship awards of Rs 6 lakh to produce films on climate change.

Filmmaker Praveen Singh said, ‘‘Indian Leopards shows a family which has lost a child, a scientist trying to understand the leopard and conservationists tring to balance between the need to conserve wildlife and the need to protect people.’’

The film was shot in Junnath, Gharwal and Satpura forests where leopards and humans live in proximity and took one-and-a half years to complete it.

Singh said, ‘‘It was more a personal dream. A lot of the work was done with the help of friends. Most of the time I was working alone. Sometimes, there would be a friend who would give a camera, and another would help with the editing.’’

‘‘We can’t say ‘get rid of the leopards, then the people are safe’. And we can’t let people keep dying either. It’s a very complex issue and no solution is clear to me but we need to think about this matter and get some framework in place,’’ he adds.

Singh was a graduate in film-making from Jamia Milia in 1998, and then worked with a small documentary company.

He then worked in a TV series Wild Things, before moving to Montana in America, where he did an MA in Fine Arts in Nature Documentaries. He then returned to India and had been working on this documentary, his directorial debut.

Today’s session at Vatavaran included a special documentary workshop by award-winning British filmmaker Doug Allan, on underwater filmmaking.

Allan has been involved in over 60 films in 20 years of work and has worked with Discovery Channel, National Geographic and the BBC. He was the principal cinematographer of the award-winning Blue Planet and has worked extensively in the Arctic and the Antarctic. He also has the distinction of capturing images that have never been seen on screen.

And the winners are...
Praveen Singh’s Indian Leopards -The Killing Field gets best film award.
Nutan Manmohan’s A Second Hand Life bags The Chief Minister’s Award.
Sanjay Barnela’s River Tamin Mantras gets the Best Award in the Environment category.
Naresh Bedi gets the Lifetime Dedication Award.
Six young filmmakers were given fellowship awards of Rs 6 lakh.

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