“Songs of the Blue Hills”, a feature-length documentary on contemporary Naga folk music directed by National Award-winning film critic-turned-filmmaker Utpal Borpujari, will soon be screened in China, Italy and Romania, apart from competing in the Asia Pacific Screen Awards in Australia.
The film, produced by Centre for Cultural Resources and Training (CCRT) of Union Ministry of Culture, has been invited to the prestigious Guangzhou International Documentary Film Festival and the Silk Road International Film Festival, both in China, the 21st IFFEST Document.Art Film Festival in Bucharest, Romania and the Parma Internatonal Music Film Festival in Italy.
With this the film has till now got selected to 14 international film festivals in all. Earlier, it has been screened at the 11th Eyes & Lenses Ethnographic Film Festival in Warsaw (Poland), the New York Indian Film Festival, the Gothenberg Indie Film Festival (Sweden), Visions du Reel in Nyon (Switzerland), the World Music & Independent Film Festival in Washington, Signs 2014 in Kochi (Kerala), the Ischia International Film Festival Italy, the Ladakh International Film Festival, and the International Documentary and Short Film Festival of Kerala in Thiruvananthapuram
Describing it as an “extraordinary documentary, embodying human concern and rational thinking”, the Guangzhou International Documentary Film Festival (GZDOC) has picked it up as one of the 20 films from the world over to be screened in Guanzhou, Shanghai and Beijing.
The film will also be showcased in the Silk Road International Film Festival, to be held in Xi’an city and sponsored by the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television of The People’s Republic of China and the People’s Government of Shaanxi Province.
The festival is part of the “Silk Road Economic Zone” and “Maritime Silk Road of 21st century” strategic vision of China, and using film as a link, this festival seeks to build international platform for film exchange and trade, enhance cultural exchange and cooperation of countries along the Silk Road, according to its organizers.
“Songs of the Blue Hills” will also compete in the Eighth Annual Asia Pacific Screen Awards (APSA), to be held in Brisbane, Australia and organized in collaboration with UNESCO and FIAPF (International Federation of Film Producers Associations) to celebrate the diversity of cinema from the Asia Pacific region.
The 96-minute film features an eclectic range of Naga musicians who are practising the folk music of various Naga tribes in their pure and contemporary forms. Among the musicians featured in it are veteran Ao folk singers Sademmeren Longkumer and A. Bendangyanger Tsuwar Jamir, Chakhesang folk veteran Zachunu Keyho, classical pianist Nise Meruno, and groups like the Tetseo Sisters, the Nagaland Singing Ambassadors, the Chancel Choir, Ru’a, Üsou’s Instrumental, Abiogenesis, Nagagenous, Baptist Youth Choir Poilwa Village and Purple Fusion.
In addition, experts such as Dr A Lanunugsang, Lipokmar Tzudir, Gugs Chishi, Theja Meru, Vivee Peseye, Som Kamei, Zubeno Mozhui and Dr Abraham Lotha have shared their views on the changing face of Naga music in recent times.
Shot extensively across Nagaland, the film’s crew comprised Biswajeet Changmai (cinematography), Debajit Gayan (sound), Umesh Kumar (Editor), Atanu Phukan (research & coordination), Aiyushman Dutta (research & art direction).
Here’s an interview with Utpal Borpujari.