‘The Inner Path: Festival of Buddhist Film, Art and Philosophy’ in its third edition brings together films, art, photography, music and discourse
“Film is a great culture-carrier and can open many doors,” Aruna Vasudev, President of the Network for Promotion of Asian Cinema (NETPAC) observes as she talks about the third edition of “The Inner Path: Festival of Buddhist Film, Art and Philosophy” presently ongoing in the capital at Alliance Francaise, Lodhi Road. The four-day event begun on November 21 and on till November 24 embodies a composite meet on Buddhism and incorporates films, art, creative demonstrations, discourses and musical performances. The festival opened yesterday to a recital by Venerable Ani Choying Drolma, the internationally noted singing nun from Nepal.
“The whole idea behind the festival is to open the doors to Buddhism for everyone,” Aruna continues and adds, “I’ve noticed that today, a lot of young people in particular are turning towards Buddhism in a search for answers. They don’t believe in religious practices and are therefore taking to what Buddhists call the sangha where they meet like-minded people and build a support system for themselves. I know they are interested and thought that films can be a great means to enable them to understand Buddhist principles better. Besides the screenings, we also have discourses where people can listen and also ask questions.”
The event will screen sixteen feature and documentary films by filmmakers from across the globe, including two by Singapore-based filmmaker Royston Tan – Little Note and Popiah and three by US-based filmmaker John Bush – Dharma River, Prajna Earth and Vajra Sky Over Tibet. Aruna shares, “This festival began because I found that many cities all over the world, from San Francisco and London to Bangkok and Mexico, were organising Buddhist film festivals while there was no such thing in India. Since I have a background in film, I thought I must do something like that here but also felt that films must be complimented and supplemented by other forms of creative expression as well as an opportunity to talk and listen to people who can guide you and show you the way. That’s how we put everything together.”
Accompanying the film screenings is an art and photography exhibition featuring the works of 20 artists hailing from varied regional and personal backgrounds. Titled “Looking Inward”, the showcase is curated by Elizabeth Rogers and delves into the creative process, exploring each artist’s search for a deeper meaning as well as inspiration for their work. Talking about the exhibition, Elizabeth says, “We’ve brought together people from different backgrounds and each of the artists across different artistic media has taken a different chapter or vision. There is also some very highly personal calligraphy inspired by Buddhist philosophy. Then there are paintings by the 12th Kenting Tai Situpa who is a writer, philosopher, lama, educator and also a painter. There is also Saba Hassan, whom most people know for her organic, mix media works but the ones displayed here are part of a new body of work she has been doing, involving abstract photography based on nature.”
Aruna concludes by saying, “The Thangka painting demonstration by well-known Indian artist Sidharth should be very interesting among other things and Most Venerable Geshe Jangcup Choeden as well as Dato Ananda Kumaraseri who will give discourses are extraordinary people. We’re hoping to make the festival more participatory this time in order to create a lively atmosphere.”