Kotpad Weaving: Odisha’s Movie To Be Screened In Europe And Delhi

Pune/Mumbai: International Documentary ‘Kotpad Weaving: The Story of a Race Against Time’ by award-winning filmmaker Biswanath Rath continues it’s glorious journey in International Film Festival Circuit. Recently, the film has been selected for screening at ‘International Tour Film Festival- ‘Tourfilm Riga’ to be held at Latvia, Europe. In this year’s edition of the festival, a total of 173 Tourism films will be showcased. ‘Kotpad Weaving’ along with 6 other Indian films will represent India in this festival.

Interestingly, prior to this Latvian Premiere, the film will also be screened in ‘Habitat Film Festival, Delhi’ on 20th May. The 14th edition of the 10-day Habitat Film Festival 2019 began in the national capital on 17th May and will end on 26th May. A spectacular platform for Indian cinema, the latest edition of the festival features over 118 films in 19 Indian languages, with the usual insightful post-screening interactions with members of the cast and crew. Prof. Dr. Sudha Dhingra, a professor in Textile Design from NIFT, Delhi, who also features in the documentary ‘Kotpad Weaving’, will represent the film team in the post-screening interaction session.

Kotpad Handloom, a unique tribal textile tradition from Odisha (India), known internationally for its use of natural dye and tribal motifs, unfortunately has never received the recognition and patronage it deserves. As a result, it’s in the verge of extinction. This inspired Award-winning filmmaker Biswanath Rath to make ‘Kotpad Weaving: The Story of a Race Against Time’; the first ever Documentary on this subject which aims to create awareness on this craft. This English Documentary, produced by PSBT (Public Service Broadcasting Trust), is a tribute to the rich textile tradition practiced by the Mirgan Community in Kotpad since time hitherto unknown. This 30-Minutes film was telecasted on DD National (Indian Public Service Broadcaster) on 24th March 2018.

Prior to ITFF and HFF, Documentary ‘Kotpad Weaving’ has received two awards and ‘Official Selections’ in 14 other International Film Festivals, all within just 1 year of it’s TV premiere. It received its first award ‘Best Short Documentary Award’ at Kashmir World Film Festival held at Srinagar between 28th Nov-4th Dec 2018. This was followd by the 2nd Award “Award of Excellence’ received at Metro Film & TV Awards, USA. In Dec 2018, it was screened at Smita Patil International Film Festival, Pune where it was thoroughly appreciated by the festival audience and jury members. The first festival selection was in ‘Marin County International Festival of Short Film & Video-2018’ held at California (USA) between 30th June – 4th July 2018. This was the WORLD FESTIVAL PREMIERE of the documentary. The other one was ‘ZAGREB TOURFILM FESTIVAL, Croatia (Europe)’, held between 10th-13th October 2018. This was the EUROPEAN PREMIERE of the doc.Two other recognitions are:  Official Selection at ‘Inshort Film Festival, Nigeria’and ‘Dada Saheb Phalke International Film Festival, Mumbai’. Additionally it had it’s Australian Premiere on 15th Nov at Sydney as part of a unique exhibition called ‘The Kotpad Collection’ organized by ‘Kay Collections’ (Founded by Mrs. Kushma Ram). In this premiere, the film received highly positive response from the audience and was hugely appreciated by everyone.

Talking about this progress, Writer-Director Biswanath says, ‘We are honored to learn about screening of our documentary in these two prestigious film festivals. We are humbled to receive such an awe-inspiring response for the documentary. The film has received awards, recognition and love, not just among critics or in International film festivals, but also among the Textile/Fashion Designers from all over the world. Thanks to print, digital and social media, many designers came to know about the documentary and have shown interest in watching or showcasing it at USA, Europe, Australia etc. This I would say is a great milestone for our team, for everyone who is associated with this documentary.

In a months time, our documentary is going to be screened at two more festivals: (1)  ‘Educational Screening’ for The North of Boston Weavers Guild, USA (2) ‘Educational Screening’ at ‘Ama Utkarsha Odisha’, a cultural event showcasing Odia Culture at Mumbai’

This documentary is our humble attempt at reviving this ageless craft which is primarily a tribal textile tradition practiced for centuries by Mirgan community at Kotpad region. Just like many other Indian art forms, this handloom and its weavers has received International acclaim for its relevance and significance in terms of sustainability and eco-friendly process. But unfortunately and unbelievably, very few people in Koraput district or Odisha know about such a unique handloom, let alone other states or region. I felt the need to create awareness not just about the handloom, the dyers and weavers, but also the reason behind its languishing days and probable solutions to give this handloom a second chance.I aspired to take Kotpad Handloom’s story to global audience. After almost a year of production, today, we feel really enthralled to receive such a huge response for the subject and the film.Apart from the support from all the Kotpad weavers, dyers and designers, customer, Govt officials from Textile Depts, I thank PSBT/DD National for believing in my story/script, my crew members Vishal Bawa (Cinematographer and Colourist), Vinayak Dasgupta (Editor & Sound Recordist), Rabindra Hotta (Drone Pilot), Biju Sam (Music Composer) and Sudharsan Lingam (Sound Design & Mixing) for their immense hard work and dedication for this project. I also thank my family members for their unconditional support throughout the journey of making this documentary.”

Biswanath Rath is the Founder & CEO of BnR Films LLP, a Pune-based Film Production company (co-founded by his wife Archana Rath) which produces Ad-Films, TV Commercials, Corporate Videos, Music Videos, Documentaries, Promotional Films, Short Films and feature films. All the ad-films/short films/music videos produced by the company (written-directed by Biswanath) have received a total of 170awards and recognitions in International film festival circuit.

The studio’s very first short film ‘Kar Bhalaa’ (Hindi-Tamil)has received 3 Awards and 41 International Film Festival (IFF) Screening. It’s very first ad-film ‘The ‘Right’ Glass’ (silent) has bagged 2 awards and 51 International Film Festival screenings. Likewise, it’s very first International Music Video ‘Feel The Passion’ (English) has received 18 International Film Festival screenings till date. Out of total 170 International film festivals mentioned above, 140 festival screenings have taken place outside India (USA, UK, Italy, Paris, South America, Australia, Russia, Afghanistan and many other countries in Asia, Europe) where these films have represented India/Asia.

Presently BnR Films has got presence in Pune, Chennai, Mumbai, Bhubaneswar, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kolkata, and Delhi. BnR Films aims to make films based on local content (Indian cultures, traditions, art and way of life) with global appeal. This includes feature films, social ad-films and documentaries on a wide range of subjects, concepts and themes.

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A team of young journalists headed by Subhransu Panda, founder-editor of Odisha's leading news portal and magazine Odisha Story. Mail: editor@odishastory.com