Film Screening: Because We did Not Choose

Event Date October 4, 2017 3 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Location – ATRIUM, Cinema (CA B205)

Because We did Not Choose | Documentary | 92 mins | English | Khasi |Welsh | Pnar (with English subtitles). The screening is followed by a Q&A with film maker Wanphrang K Diengdoh.

100 years have passed since the First World War began- the war that was the beginning of all wars. Nations and communities all over the world have directly or indirectly been affected by it. Some of these experiences are evident today while some have been internalised as time glosses over pages of history. ‘Because we did not choose’ looks at the First World War and the involvement of communities at a time when spaces inhabited by them were transitioning or struggling to accommodate modernity and the rest of its implications. Shot over a period of 4 years, this is the only film from India that examines the participation of indigenous labour in the theatres of First World War.

The film is a meticulous documentation of the journey made by the labourers from North East India to the war front. Research and filming was carried out in Shillong and other adjoining villages, Guwahait, Kolkata, Chennai (where the German sinker Emden struck a portion of Fort St. George in 1914) France, Wales England. The film was also shot in France with the help and support of the Commonwealth War graves Commission.

Wanphrang K Diengdoh is a film maker based out of India and the UK. In 2009, he was awarded the public arts grant from the Foundation of Indian Contemporary arts for his installation Kali Kamai. The installation was a semi-finalist in the International Award for Public Arts, Middle Eastern and Central Asian region.In 2011, his debut film ’19/87’ bagged all the awards at the Guwahati International Short Film Festival. In 2013, he was awarded the 'Early Career Film Fellowship’ from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, for his documentary proposal ‘Where the Clouds End’ – a documentary about tribal identity and border politics. The film was screened at the Royal Anthropological Institute, Bristol and also at RAI festival in Los Angeles. It was also screened at the United Nations World Urban Forum, Medellin, Columbia. His last film that he edited and co-wrote – ‘My Name is Eeooow ’was awarded the prestigious Intangible Culture prize at the Royal Anthropological Institute’s Ethnographic Film Festival, Bristol in the UK in 2017 and also won the best film at the Film Festival della Lessinia, Italy. He is now filming his full length fiction film set in Shillong and Brighton that deals with the intricacies of the Khasi matrilineal society.

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