Film on BBA wins award

The film ‘Apna Aloo Bazaar Becha’ (Sold One’s Potatoes in the Market), based on traditional agro-biodiversity and on the work and people of Beej Bachao Andolan won the Golden Deer award for the best short film at the ECOFILMS festival held in Rodos, Greece in June 2008. The film, made by Pankaj H Gupta is slated to be screened at a number of other festivals and venues in the coming months.

In his acceptance speech, read in absentia, at the award ceremony, he said, ” Few mountain communities, however remote, remain untouched by globalization. Jarhdhargaon, a typical village of middle Himalaya in the Indian province of Garhwal (Uttarakhand), led an isolated, egalitarian existence until just 30 years ago, living off an agro-pastoral system that had sustained human life and the environment for over six centuries. Today, it is in the middle of a rapid social and environmental transformation. This short documentary, based entirely on local perspectives, reflects on this process of change – what triggers the shift to modernization and what impacts it has on the personal, social and environmental spaces. In particular, the film focuses on the primary subsistence activity of farming: whether it can survive in the face of steady out-migration, and if the attempts by Beej Bachao Andolan (Save Seeds Movement) to resist modernization can be successful.”

Pankaj Gupta is a visiting fellow at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Environment & Development in Bangalore (India). On the filming, he says, “The film has a simple message – that our relations with nature, and with each other, are of vital importance. It is encouraging to know that the dilemmas of a remote mountain community in India has found resonance in far-off Europe…. In a sense, the award is really a tribute to the values that the film represents and to all the people in front of the camera for baring their souls.”