"In God's Land" Documentary
A film by Pankaj Rishi Kumar
Monday, October 27, 2014
Atkinson Hall, UC San Diego
Voigt Drive at Equality Lane, La Jolla, CA 92093
Free. Open to the public. No registration.
Director, Camera, Sound Design and Editing
Pankaj Rishi Kumar
Best Eco Documentary Feature Runner up Award at the Tinai Ecofilm Festival - TEFF 2014.
"For a human rights and environmental justice story that is relevant not only to contemporary India but also to many parts of the world, where communities struggle for the rights to their lands."
After taming a former wasteland through hard work and sweat and creating a community, the settlers start living there. The mythical birth of their village God Sudalai Swami unfolds the village’s unique journey to fight the oppression of the ‘big’ Vanamamalai Temple. Now that the clergy owns the land, the settlers are reduced to being tenant farmers and must make way for redevelopment after the land is sold off for a Special Economic Zone (SEZ). A dispute over God’s land begins. 'In God’ Land' is not simply about the fight between the priests and the farmers. Using animation it recounts the history of the land and satirizes the exploitation perpetuated by religion and class distinction. The film looks at the land within the larger issue of development, forcing us to recognize the totalitarian attitude of the ideals of development, ostensibly to bring economic prosperity but rarely a benefit to real users. But the film’s most interesting element is the people living on this god’s land. Instead of fighting the temple or government, they accept this dire reality and try to find comfort in god’s will, perhaps because for them it is still the land of god. (CHO Young-jung, Busan Film Festival)
About Pankaj Rishi Kumar
After graduating from the Film and Television Institute, Pune, India, in 1992, with a specialisation in Film Editing, Pankaj was assistant editor on Sekhar Kapur's Bandit Queen. After editing numerous documentaries and TV serials, he made his first film KUMAR TALKIES.Subsequently, Pankaj has become a one man crew producing, directing, shooting and editing his own films. (Pather Chujaeri, The Vote, Gharat, 3 Men and a Bulb, Punches n Ponytails, Seeds of Dissent). His films have been screened at festivals all over the world. He has won grants from Hubert Bals, IFA, Jan Vrijman, AND (Korea), Banff, Majlis, Sarai and Pad.ma. Pankaj was awarded an Asia Society fellowship at Harvard Asia Centre (2003).