Documentary directors take TU route to address woes

Documentary filmmakers in Kerala unite under CITU to combat marginalization and advocate for fair recognition and opportunities.
Representative image
Representative image

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Kochi | Documentary filmmakers in Kerala, marginalized in the aftermath of a noticeable policy shift by the LDF Government towards corporate interests, have gathered to be part of a trade union, seeking solidarity and a collective voice.

The inaugural meeting for the formation of the Documentary Directors Federation of Kerala, affiliated to the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), was held here recently in the presence of central and state leaders. The federation stands as a unified collective, comprising directors of short films and skilled technicians.

CITU national secretary K Chandran Pillai, who inaugurated the gathering, told Metro Vaartha that multiple preliminary meetings paved the way for the inaugural session. The need to eliminate fragmentation among them was recognized, emphasizing the necessity for a united platform to make a substantial impact on the government and secure relief for their collective concerns. Pillai asserted that given the technological shifts, directors and technicians must stay abreast of developments, and this forum would not only serve as a means of advocacy but also a training ground, ensuring enhanced opportunities for all involved.

The meeting elected Noornad Ramachandran as president, Viju Varma as general secretary, CS Chandralekha as treasurer, KR Subhash and Pradeep Nair as vice-presidents and Sasikumar and Farooq Abdul Rahman as secretaries.
Subhash mentioned the existence of a loosely affiliated group of directors, and due to the absence of a cohesive forum, discussions among directors had been ongoing for a considerable period before they collectively decided to take this significant step.

Documentary directors have faced formidable challenges in securing roles in the Government's publicity campaigns, particularly following a marked policy shift around seven years ago favoring corporate entities for government public relations initiatives. Despite concerted appeals and petitions to address this marginalization, the efforts proved futile. Interestingly, the Government’s Public Relations Department had established a panel of documentary directors across three grades, yet the desired recognition and opportunities remained elusive for these filmmakers.

There have been instances of the Government allocating documentary projects to external agencies for substantial sums, even though the empaneled directors could have undertaken these endeavours for a fraction of the cost. It becomes crucial to exert pressure on the Government, urging it to stay on course and avoid deviations. The objective of the federation, he said, was to ensure that documentary directors and their technicians not only garnered the recognition they deserved but also received fair and timely remuneration for their contributions.

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