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Feb 5, 2021
|Making Films in the Era of Fake News, Diminishing Democracies and OTT Platforms|
Speakers: Kislay, Arun Karthick, Priyanka Chhabra, Pushpa Rawat
In the last few years, increased polarisation and new divisions—conceived by political forces and propelled by technology—have emerged in India. Social unrest is palpable, with massive public protests about the CAA and the new farming laws. Filmmakers are confronted by ideological battles and chaotic socio-political realities; yet more movies are being made today than ever before. The advent of digital technology and high-speed Internet has eased the movie-making process and created new formats for viewing cinema. And in 2020, the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic has forced us to rethink the very idea of watching cinema as a collective experience. What does independent filmmaking mean today and how are its practitioners responding to these contemporary realities? Moderated by filmmaker and writer Basav Biradar, invited filmmakers, including earlier two winners of the Toto for Short Film, engage with these questions and more.
Feb 5, 2021
|Writing Through the Lockdown|
Speakers: Kunjana Parashar, Amulya B, Poorna Swami
Creative writers often thirst for quietude and isolation, but enforced confinement in a pandemic is not what any of them would have wished for. A period that should have catalysed their imagination could not shield them from the disruption and chaos raging outside. Moderated by Professor Arul Mani (Head of the Department of English, St Joseph’s Autonomous College, Bangalore), four young writers shortlisted for the 2021 TOTO Awards for Creative Writing in English speak about what they read (if they could read at all) in a time of disquiet, their choice of language to express particular experiences, their creative process, and how location and environment shaped their writing.
Feb 6, 2021
|Night of the Nominee 2021– A Virtual Edition|
Speakers and Performers: Damini Chauhan (Kramera), Saby Singh, Udbhav Acharya and Brij Dalvi (Three Oscillators)
Find out about the TOTO Music Award and get to know the four shortlisted artists this year—Three Oscillators, Krameri, Udbhav and Saby Singh. Learn about the diverse aesthetic, approaches and values that inform their music-making. Listen to each give a live performance and talk about one of their songs, recorded especially for this event, hosted by video and comics creator Natalia Rebecca Isaac.
Feb 6, 2021
|The Photograph as Document: Expressing the Self or Evoking the Subject?|
Speakers: Hari Sai Srikar, Nilargha Chatterjee, Sharan Devkar Shankar and Subhajit Naskar
Photographers offer an interpretation of reality that often springs from personal experience. Documentary photography, however, raises questions about representation and collaboration. While objectification confronts ethical and political issues, are there limits to collaboration between the photographer and the subject? Does documentary photography exacerbate the tension between the need for personal expression and the obligation to capture how the subject experiences the world or would like to be represented? Four photographers shortlisted for the TOTO Awards 2021 speak with Anshika Varma (photographer, curator and founder of Offset Projects) about their understanding of the personal and collaborative nature of photography and also share some of their recent work.
Feb 7, 2021
|New Writing in Kannada|
Speakers: Snehajaya Karanth, Sandeep Eshanya, Amulya B, Deepa Ganesh and H. Dandappa
What’s new in Kannada poetry and fiction? Hear some fresh young voices as writers shortlisted for the 2021 TOTO Award for Creative Writing in Kannada enter a discussion moderated by novelist and playwright Vivek Shanbhag. The discussion also features this award’s jury members, well-known critic H. Dandappa and translator, editor and author Deepa Ganesh. The shortlisted writers speak about their approach to writing and the challenges they face in current times, and read excerpts from their entries, while the jurors discuss new writing in Kannada with specific reference to the entries for this year’s award.
Feb 7, 2021
|The Toto Awards 2021|
The TOTO Awards, now in its seventeenth year, celebrates emerging artistic talent in India. There are eight awards to be won–two for English Creative Writing, one for Kannada Creative Writing, two for Photography, two for Short Film and one for Music. Every winner will receive a cash prize of Rs 50,000 and a handsome trophy, except the winner of the Music Award, who will receive Rs 60,000. Witness the work of all writers, photographers, filmmakers and musicians who have been shortlisted for the 2021 TOTO Awards and discover the names of the winners.
Kislay is a recent alumnus of Film and Television Institute of India. He co-wrote the acclaimed film Soni, which premiered in Venice. Aise Hee (Just like that) is his first feature film, it debuted in Busan and won special mention in the New Currents Category and also won the Film Critics Guild Award at MAMI 2019.
Kislay has also won the TFA short film award in 2014 for his short film “Hamare Ghar”.
Priyanka studied film at the National Institute of Design and has continued to work as an independent filmmaker and editor. Her work explores the themes of memory, landscape and relationships of people to places. Her work includes Pichla Varka, A Summer Flu, Shape of Trees, Shame was a place inside, and have been exhibited at Oberhausen, Rotterdam, York, Calagary, Mumbai and Kerala. She lives and works between Delhi and Manali.
Priyanka’s short film “Summer Flu” won the TFA short film award in 2014.
Arun Karthick is an Indian independent filmmaker. He began producing and directing short films at the early age of seventeen. His first feature length film, The Strange Case of Shiva (2015), premiered in Rotterdam. Nasir, his second feature, was supported by the Hubert Bals Fund and had its world premiere at IFFR 2020. It was nominated in the Tiger category and won the NETPAC award for best Asian film, besides winning other awards in film festivals around the world.
The Backwaters (2010) (short)
Transcendence (2011) (short)
Sivapuranam/The Strange Case of Shiva (2015)
Ektara Collective is an independent, autonomous, non-funded group of people who seek to combine creative efforts and imagination and collaborate with trained and untrained people to make films that are content-wise and aesthetically located in our realities and experiences. Through this process Ektara has made and produced two short fiction films and a full length feature film. Ektara also makes music videos and dubs English films and films in other languages into Hindi. Ektara’s films have been showcased in several international film festivals across the world.
Chanda Ke Joote (2011) (Short)
Jaadui Machchhi (2013). (Short)
Hotel Raahgir (2020)
Pushpa is an independent documentary filmmaker and cinematographer based in Ghaziabad (NCR). She started her film making journey with a workshop conducted by filmmaker Anupama Srinivasan at the National Bal Bhavan. After working for a year with Anupama Srinivasan, Pushpa went on to make two feature documentaries on her own.
Recently, Pushpa has been awarded a Filmmaking Fellowship by the FILM SOUTH ASIA (FSA) Kathmandu to work on her next documentary project.
Nirnay (2012) – Pramod Pati – Most Innovative Film Award at Mumbai International Film Festival (2014)
MOD (2015) – Silver Award by IDPA (Indian Documentary Producers
Association, Mumbai) awards for Excellence 2017
Basav Biradar is an independent writer/researcher, documentary filmmaker and theatre-maker based in Bangalore, India.
His first documentary – Before The Third Bell – was the official selection for the 2018 Martin Segal Centre Film Festival on Art in New York. The film seeks to document the theatre-making processes of noted director Abhishek Majumdar through the play Muktidham. Recently, he has finished a short documentary on the history of Kolar Gold Fields.
Biradar teaches two post-graduate courses in Azim Premji University:‘India through the eyes of Parallel Cinema’, and ‘Introduction to Contemporary Theatre in India’.
He has written for several publications on theatre, cinema, travel, history and heritage conservation, including – National Geographic Traveller, Outlook Traveller, The Hindu, New Indian Express, The News Minute and The Caravan.
Besides directing several plays, he is a playwright. His first – The Return of the Sultan – a satire set in contemporary Srirangapatnam, was longlisted for The Hindu Metroplus Playwright Award 2013; currently, he is writing a play on the youth in tier-3 & -4 towns in Northern Karnataka. Recently, he has finished a short documentary on the history of Kolar Gold Fields (Produced by Sahapedia)
Hari Sai Srikar
Hari Sai Srikar is a photographer based in Navi Mumbai. He graduated in Digital Video Production from Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology, Bangalore in 2015. His photographic practice explores the changing relationship between Man and Nature, suggesting narratives from daily life that interweave and juxtapose Man and Nature.
Nilargha Chatterjee is a self-taught photographer based in Kolkata. He has been practicing photography since 2012. Chatterjee was a part of a workshop in Nepal that was mentored by the Magnum photographer Sohrab Hura. He considers photography as a medium to connect with other people and discover more about himself. He engages with all his subjects in order to bring out their stories in his photographs. His work “Metamorphosis of an Ancient Identity” received a grant from the Alkazi Foundation of the Arts in 2018. The series has also been published in Pix magazine Citizen Issue and has been exhibited in ICP Museum New York and Art Basel Miami by Forfreedoms Foundation.
Sharan Devkar Shankar
Sharan Devkar Shankar’s work looks at the pluralities in perspectives of daily life and relationships between people in a shared space and time, as well as with their built environments. He works primarily with still and moving images, and collaborates with different practitioners and artistic processes in other mediums.
Subhajit Naskar is a Kolkata-based photojournalist and visual artist. He loves to capture human emotions that have always moved him from inside. He completed his graduation from the Department of Pharmaceutical Technology, Jadavpur University and has been pursuing his passion for photography since 2016.
Anshika Varma is a photographer and curator with an interest in personal, collective and mythical histories. Through her work, Anshika looks at exploring the intricate relationship between memory and object as markers of identity.
Her personal projects have been exhibited through various galleries in India, Italy and New York. She was invited to participate at the Chennai Photo Festival 2016 & 2019, Kochi Biennale 2014, New York Biennale for Contemporary Art 2013, India Art Fair 2012 & 2013 and the Florence Biennial in 2009. Her awards include the “Lorenzo Il Magnifico” award for photography at the Florence Biennale in 2009.
Her works have been published by various National and International media such as Bloomberg Businessweek, The Sunday Guardian, National Geographic, Time Out, Tehelka, The Rolling Stones, Vogue and People Magazine. She has also worked on various book projects with the HCL Foundation, Mahindra Rise, Vodafone Foundation, Roli Books, Hachette Publishing (India), Random House (India) and The Tehelka Foundation.
She is a strong believer in the power behind inclusive education and has conducted art therapy programs for children from challenging social and economic strata. She has also been a part of the education workshops for children for the Angkor Photo Festival (2013-Present) and the Delhi PhotoFestival (2013-2015). She has been the Photography curator for the Contemporary Arts Week, New Delhi (2014) and been part of the Festival Secretariat for the Delhi Photo Festival (2013).
Amulya B has a MA in Cultural Studies and is a bilingual writer and translator, currently working as a news producer in Bengaluru.
Suhasini Patni is a teaching Fellow for English and Creative Writing in Ashoka University and currently a contributing writer for Scroll.in. She wishes to write a novel about her hometown and translate fiction from Vietnamese.
Poorna Swami is a writer and poet from Bangalore. She writes on the arts, culture, literature and politics. In 2018, she was awarded the Srinivas Rayaprol Poetry Prize for young Indian poets.
Kunjana Parashar lives in Mumbai. Her poetry appears or is forthcoming in several literary magazines and anthologies.
Dr. Arul Mani is Head of the Department of English, St Joseph’s Autonomous College in Bangalore.
Three Oscillators is the project through which Brij Dalvi from Mumbai makes music. Brought up on a diet of Fruity Loops from his early years as a producer, he says, “A few years and several ‘big room bangers’ later, my tastes in music (and subsequently production) evolved and I finally feel like I’m projecting my true artistic vision in the music I make”.
Krameri is the solo project under which Damini Chauhan makes music out of Vadodara. She is an alumnus of the KM Music Conservatory and her music is “a combination of Indian sounds with ambient and pop flavours – suitable for both catharsis and dancing along to”
Saby Singh who was raised as a Sikh in Kashmir, turns his lens on tradition to do what he does. About his music he says, “I am trained in Hindustani Shastirya Sangeet and Western Classical, and I keep my songwriting minimal and focus mainly on story-telling”
Udbhav is the project under which Udbhav Acharya from Delhi operates. He describes his music as “Existential pop culture”.
Natalia Rebecca Isaac
Natalia is a multi-faceted artist with a history of music writing, performance, graphic design and UI/UX design. She currently illustrates her own stories as comics, laughs at all the puns, and runs a YouTube channel.
Vivek Shanbhag is a novelist, short fiction writer, playwright and Editor of the erstwhile literary magazine Desha Kaala.
H Dandappa is a well known Kannada critic. Has published several books of essays and criticism.
Deepa Ganesh is a translator and editor. Written extensively on theater and music. Has published a biography of Smt Gangubai Hanagal. Works for The Hindu.
Snehajaya completed her under graduation in journalism, English literature and economics from St Aloysius College in Mangalore and earned her post graduation in English literature from the Manipal centre for philosophy and humanities. Currently she works as a writer in a Public relations organisation. Her interests are literature, music and fine arts.
Sandeep hails from Mysuru and is a BBM graduate. Currently he works as a writer with Zee Kannada. He has also been actively working in the theatre from the last five years. He has keen interest in literary activities.