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Director’s message for 9th NSFFI 2019: Introducing New Opportunities

Greetings and welcome to the 9th edition of Bharat ka Rashtriya Vigyan Filmotsav (National Science Film Festival of India).

Part of our (Vigyan Prasar’s) outreach program through one of the most powerful media — motion pictures, this festival has gotten here and needless to say, we wish that this goes on and on. Isn’t it worth reckoning, worth an appreciation for one and all who’ve been behind this successful journey, so far. Hats off!

In this travel so far, we’ve realized and experienced a lot of change — content aggregation, visualization, editing, production, process workflow, technology and more. Amongst these, technology has witnessed maximum delta, maximum iterations! IoT or the Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence have been at the head of the list of technological transformations. Whether it’s extracting metadata from unstructured content sources or developing ontologies, exhaustive content research is required to get a faultless story for an effective motion picture, even if it is Science & Technology.

Well begun is half done! From the selection of content, and then its research — all of it requires an effective and relevant content aggregation. Weaving an apt and appropriate story around the aggregated content requires a well-defined thought sequence. So how would one do it when content is to be retrieved from the humongous yet disparate sources — thanks to the Internet. Application of modern technology steps in at every step of content collation, classification, summarization, and visualization. Media conversion is indeed an important aspect here too. From image to text and text to JSON and then JSON to XML, and then to the board room for an analysis of the aggregated content to weave a workflow that’ll eventually produce a very well-filmed movie. It becomes much more pertinent when the content is Science & Technology and especially the audience is not-an-expert one. Highly continuous display of thoughts to keep the attention of the audience active is a challenge. Thus, the script is important and hence the relevance of research that’s been put to gather the content is far more important.

When we talk about media conversion, it’s just not about movie formats being converted but how content images are converted into the text format. Improved character recognition engines like optical character recognition (OCR) have now been replaced by customized Intelligent Character Recognition (ICR) techniques. Machines are trained to identify complex character structures, whether they are as complex as Fractur fonts or hand-written manuscripts. Role of modern technology plays a very critical role in the entire gamut of things required to create a visual masterpiece.

We, at Vigyan Prasar in our thirtieth year of existence, have crossed a number of milestones so far, and aspire to achieve many more in the years to come. Our dedicated scientists have been involved in active hands-on S&T popularization & communication-related research. We’ve come up with a number of new thoughts, practically-realizable workflows, products and by-products. Besides various products in print and electronic media, we’ve recently forayed into a dedicated Science Channel on television and the Internet. We signed a MoU with Doordarshan so that we could take our films to people who don’t have access to paid channels. We’ve begun an hour’s slot during 5pm — 6pm Mon-Fri called DD Science where we bring short science films. On the other hand, we realize the importance of the Internet and thus, launched a 24-hour dedicated Internet-based TV called India Science. Hope you would have realized by now the relevance of discussing these initiatives here. DD Science and India Science are two sources that require films to be screened on a regular basis. This means Vigyan Prasar would need more and more new films, new ideas and new content. A lot of opportunity for science film-makers!

Thus, let’s use this ninth edition of the science film festival as an opportunity and convert it into an advantage for the larger audience. Wishing you all a very happy ninth science film festival.

Science Writers’ Meet

Date: 10 March 2019
Venue: Sankar Chakraborty Sabhaghar, PBVM State Office 162B, A J C Bose Road, Kolkata – 700 014, Near Entally Market

Science writers are invited to attend the meet and interact with other writers and science communicators. The science writers meet is jointly organised by Vigyan Prasar and Paschim Bango Vigyan Mancha (PBVM).

Workshop on Writing Science 7 to 19 January 2019 IISER Thiruvananthapuram

This workshop is open to PhD scholars and Post Docs in any branch of science, aspiring to contribute scientific content in English and other languages of India.

The workshop, catalysed by Vigyan Prasar, will be organised in the research-rich environments of the IISER at Thiruvananthapuram,

The objective is to improve the quality and quantity of reports and features with scientific content in print and online media, by strategically empowering those who are interested.

The workshop will have lectures, presentations, discussions, role-play, demonstrations, hands-on practice, feedback, mentoring and highly interactive sessions. The focus will be on work done as individuals and in teams. The number of participants in the workshops will be limited to enhance interpersonal and intergroup interactions.

During the 12 days, participants will learn to plan, schedule, do research, write, edit, rewrite and lay out reports, feature articles, and columns with visual materials designed to attract the eye, mind and heart of different target groups. In the process of doing, participants will learn the tools, tricks and tips needed to engage the public with written text, photographs and pictures. By the end of the workshop, a dummy science magazine will be produced by the participants.

Minimum requirements for participation: ability to understand and speak English, the language of the workshop; ability to write using word processors; prior experience with internet browsers and search engines; demonstrable ability to write will be an advantage.

Registration Closed

List of selected candidates for workshop on Science Writing, IISER TVM, 7-19 January, 2019

The selected candidates will need to interact with the trainers online till 7th January. After the workshop, the interactions continue for further mentoring, if needed.

No registration fee. Free boarding and lodging for selected candidates. Reimbursement of the cost of travel by 2nd AC train fare for deserving candidates.

BOBBY SARMA BARUAH
Member of the Jury, 8th NSFFI 2018, Guwahati


BOBBY SARMA BARUAH

Bobby Sarma Baruah is an Indian Film maker, Producer and Screenwriter whose narrative content on socio cultural issues in Assam and the North East has been highly appreciated. She did her Master of Arts, Postgraduate Diploma in Mass Communication and Journalism and B.Ed. from Gauhati University.

As director, producer and scriptwriter, Bobby Sarma Baruah has a number of short films, documentaries, music videos and TV serials on various indigenous folk cultures blending into one, to her credit. She is also an accomplished poet and short story writer in Assamese language.

As a script writer she did her work for Assamese Feature film Adomya (Indomitable)and Rajbangshi Feature film Sonar Baran Pakhi (The Golden Wing).

Her debut feature film Adomya in which she explored the sensitivity and emotional world of women was awarded best film in spiritual category at the 13th Dhaka International Film festival. Adomya was also screened as an official selection for more than sixteenm international film festivals across the world. Her second venture, Sonar Baran Pakhi, a biopic based on life and time of the legendary folk singer Padmashree Pratima Barua Pandey of Assam has been included as an official entry in 20 different international festivals besides winning the Grand jury prize for the best feature film in the 15th Indian film festival of Los Angeles and the best audience choice award at the 15th Dhaka International Film Festival.

Bobby Sarma Baruah was awarded Senior Fellowship from Ministry of Culture, Government of India; on the topic Ethnic jewellery with attire of the eight states of north east India.

She has also served as juror at the prestigious 14th Dhaka International Film Festival and Lucknow Children’s International Film Festival, both in 2016. Currently she is pursuing her doctoral research for a PhD on influence of folk culture of Assam in Assamese cinema.

SANTOSH KUMAR PANDEY
Member of the Jury, 8th NSFFI 2018, Guwahati


SANTOSH KUMAR PANDEY

A television professional and a team builder with over 17 years of industry experience, with well over a decade long leadership experience in programming, news and channel management, Shri Santosh Kumar Pandey launched, shaped, and led 4 pioneer regional satellite channels in Hindi heartland; Etv UP, Etv Bihar, Etv MP and Etv Rajasthan. Headed Mahuaa media network and its’ bouquet of 3 leading infotainment channels as Editor In Chief.

Contributed as a freelance consultant on Channel content and design to couple of infotainment and life style channels. In a mentoring role, headed the Television production and Direction wing of Ramoji Academy Of Film And Television Hyderabad.

Contributed to Vigyan Prasar in its’ mission to spread and instill scientific temper, as a member National Jury and Advisory Committee of National Science Film Festivals and Resource Person to IISF-2018 Chennai.

A postgraduate in Literature and Journalism and Mass communication. Presently, heading soon to launch ‘Etv Bharat’ s youth channel as a Senior Producer.

Conceptualized, written, directed and produced over 1000 Hrs of quality television software of different genres in News & Entertainment Television Pvt. Ltd, New Delhi during late 90s. As Senior Producer in Etv network, Ramoji Film City Hyderabad during 2002 –2010, lead the team of executive producers responsible for the overall health and growth of the programs and time bands including entire programming & news operation of the four Hindi channels in close co-ordination with marketing and heading a huge team of reporters, producers, program executives and associates spread across 7 Hindi states and at Ramoji Film City Hyderabad. Presently – Senior Producer, Etv Bharat, Ramoji Film City, Hyderabad.

CHANDRA MOHAN NAUTIYAL
Member of the Jury, 8th NSFFI 2018, Guwahati


CHANDRA MOHAN NAUTIYAL

As a scientist who is equally well known for communicating it, Dr. Nautiyal carries with him background in diverse fields of science, experience as science writer/ communicator/ broadcaster for a wide spectrum, and also experience as former Jury member in a National Science Film festival and other film competitions. With MSc (IIT/University-Roorkee), and doctoral/ post-doctoral qualifications (PRL, Ahmedabad), professionally he specialises in isotopic measurement- applying to Earth & Planetary sciences, Palaeoclimate and Archaeology but has donned many other hats in distinguished ways. He was convener, NCSC-National Workshop (1994), NCSTC Network, NCSC-2003, 3 Padma-Awadees’ Public Lectures-2006, and anchored several programmes of Dr. Kalam. He was Media Coordinator for the 2nd IISF-2016; Course Coordinator for the AIR Regional Science Popularisation & other science journalism workshops. He was on the Advisory Committee of Reg. Sci. City, Lucknow and its Sci. Expo and member, National Committee for Arch. Sciences; Soc. Earth-scientists and expert for many state/central government programmes. On one hand, he published in reputed science journals, on the other in science communication journals/ encyclopaedia like JCom; Sage Encyclopaedia on S&T Communication, aswell as in newspapers, magazines, books and communication courses (some being in the list of recommended reading at Texas University, USA) and reviewed books/research papers/ PhD theses in science as well as communication. He has delivered over 700 lectures including invited lectures like Curie Memorial Lecture at SLIET, Sangroor and MP Srivastava Memorial Lecture at Vijnana Parishad, Prayag and over 170 on science/science-writing for AV/films/ print media in ~20 Indian states & in Germany, Russia, South Africa, Switzerland, USA and Vietnam. He contributed to 200 broadcasts on TV/radio in many roles including first ever such live telecast on Total Solar Eclipse-1995, Science Train-2004 & Venus Transit-2005. Apart from INSA medal for Young Scientists-88; Meteoritical Society’s US$1600 Travel Award; the list includes prizes for Best Poster papers (2), BSIP’s Highest Consultancy-earning Medal and Paper of the Month Award; ‘Prabhashree’ Award and Honour given away by Hon. Governor-UP & Chief Minister-HP respectively in addition to 5 scholarships and fellowships as student. He was also felicitated for science popularisation/ writing by CSIR-CIMAP; CSIR-NBRI; Vijnana Parishad, Prayag; Sahitya Mandal (Shree Nathdwara) as well as by many science clubs. Post-superannuation as Scientist-in-Charge, Radiocarbon Lab. at BSIP, his streak in science and its communication continues.

MANJU BORAH
Member of the Jury, 8th NSFFI 2018, Guwahati


MANJU BORAH

Ms Manju Borah’s films explore the region’s culture and its impact on the person and society as a whole. Her first feature film Baibhab (A Scam in Verse) was released in 1999. The film was awarded the Jury’s ‘Special Mention’ in the 47th National Film Festival, 2000 and was named the Best film in Asia at the 6th Dhaka International Film Festival, 2000. She was also the recipient of the Gollapudi Srinivas Award for Best Debut Director in 1999.

Then followed Anya Ek Yatra in 2001 and Aakashitorar Kothare (A Tale Told Thousand Times) in 2003. Aakashitorar Kothare won the National award for Best Regional Feature Film. Her following films Laaz (Shame), 2004 and Joymati (The Saviour), 2006 were both selected for the Indian Panorama in IFFI and other National & International festivals. Her 2008 film Aai Kot Nai (Ma) was awarded the Nargis Dutt Award for Best Feature Film on National Integration in 56th National Film Awards.

In 2012 Ko:yad (A Silent Way) received National Awards for Best Mising Film and Best Cinematography in 60th National Film Awards and selected in Indian Panorama of the 44th International Film Festival of India, 2013. The film has been awarded Best Director and Best Actor Awards in 2nd Ladakh International Film Festival 2013, Silver Gateway of India Special Jury Award in 15th Mumbai Film Festival (MAMI) 2013 and Best Film Award in 6th Bengaluru International Film Festival, 2013. Her film Dau Huduni Methai (Song of The Horned Owl) received National Awards for Best Bodo Film, 2015, Indian Panorama, 2015 (46th IFFI), Best Cinematography Award in the 4th International Women’s Film Festival, 2016, Afghanistan which is also an official selection for Montreal World Film Festival, Kerala International Film Festival, 2015, MAMI 2015 etc.

Her latest film Sarbagunakar Srimanta Sankardeva which is the 1st animated feature film in the North-Eastern Region of India which got released in Nov, 2016 with a huge response from the audience. She holds various positions at different cine organizations and also served as Jury Member in National Film Awards, Indian Panorama, MAMI, 3rd Eye 7th Asian Film Festival Mumbai, Chairperson of the Jury, OSCAR Screening Committee, Film Federation of India etc.

She is a recipient of a Senior Fellowship from the Central Ministry of Culture on her work associated with Women folklore of Assam and has been awarded the Women of Excellence Award by FICCI for her outstanding contribution to the field of Film & Entrepreneurship and also the Satyajit Ray Memorial Award given by the Asian Film Foundation for working to spread film culture in India as a life time mission.

Filmography: 1. Sapon 1996; 2. Baibhab (A Scam in Verse) 1999; 3. Anya Ek Yatra 2001; 4. Aakashitorar Kothare… (A Tale Told Thousand Times) 2003; 5. Laaz (Shame) 2004; 6. Joymati (The Saviour) 2006; 7. Aai Kot Nai (MA) 2008; 8. KO:YAD (A Silent Way) 2012; 9. Dau Huduni Methai (Song of The Horned Owl) 2015; 10. Sarbagunakar Srimanta Sankadeva 2016

SANTWANA BARDOLOI
Member of the Jury, 8th NSFFI 2018, Guwahati


SANTWANA BARDOLOI

Accomplished radio/theatre actress Dr Santwana Bardoloi is well known in her home state
of Assam. She is also one of the senior Pediatricians practicing in Guwahati. Her first
Assamese directorial venture “Adajya”, was made in 1996. It won high praise as well as
the 1997 Rajat Kamal (Silver Lotus, Best Assamese feature film) and the 1998 Silver Peacock. It was selected in the Indian Panorama and was invited to many international film festivals all over the world.

Her second film “Maj Rati Keteki” was made in 2016. It too won the Rajat Kamal (Silver Lotus,
Best Assamese feature film) and Adil Hussain won the Jury’s Special Mention at
National Awards 2017 along with Mukti Bhawan. It was selected for the Kerala International Film Festival (Competition Section), Bengaluru and Kolkata International Film Festival.

ANJALI RAI MEHTA
Member of the Jury, 8th NSFFI 2018, Guwahati


ANJALI RAI MEHTA

Born on April 5, 1958 Shri Anjali Rai Mehta did his graduation from Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh in Mechanical Engineering. During his college days, he was a prolific speaker and won many high profile debating competitions. As member of the popular Theatre group Abhinet in Chandigarh, he started acting in Plays. In fact, it was his passion for theatre and films that made him leave his career as an Engineer and pursue Diploma in Theatre from Shriram Center for Performing Arts, New Delhi in 1981. He did active theatre for several years and directed many plays including Badal Sircar’s Ant Nahin and Jean Paul Sartre’s Men Without Shadows which won huge critical acclaim. His plays also featured in various theatre festivals all over India. He worked with Kundan Shah during the making of the path breaking feature film “Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro”.

Soon after he fell in love with the philosophy, structure and sociology of science and specifically intersection of science with nature of Ultimate Reality, Knowledge, Cosmos, Life, Self and Consciousness, Human Behaviour, Individual and Social Morality and the impact of technological growth on the Human Condition. In early nineties he took to science film making in earnest and since then he has travelled all over the world filming the historical march of science. Tracing major scientific breakthroughs he has shot at some important scientific establishments in Cambridge, Oxford, London, Birmingham, Paris, CERN, Geneva, Zurich, Munich, Caltech Pasadena, LA, Palomar Observatory and Fermi Laboratories, Chicago among others. He has filmed and interacted with top notch scientists and Nobel laureates including winners of physics Nobel 2017 Kip Thorne and Barry Barish.

He has produced and directed more than thirty short films and documentaries besides many Ad films. He also created, designed, produced and directed and anchored the 27 episodes science series “Kudratnama” which was telecast on Star Plus, the fist science show to be telecast by a mainstream GEC. He has also conceived, designed, produced and curated ‘Lights & Shades of Science’, India’s biggest science photography contest and exhibition. ‘Lights & Shades of Science’ travelled to Berlin as part of “Year of India in Germany’.

For last many years now he has been working to interpret the human spiritual quest in the light of 21st century science.