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Indian Documentary Film and Filmmakers: Independence in Practice

Shweta Kishore

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Publication date:
15 October 2018

Short description: 

Examines independent documentary film production in India within a political context

Independent documentary is enjoying a resurgence in post-reform India. But in contemporary cinema and media cultures, where ‘independent’ operates as an industry genre or critical category, how do we understand the significance of this mode of cultural production?

Based on detailed onsite observation of documentary production, circulation practices and the analysis of film texts, this book identifies independence as a 'tactical practice’, contesting the normative definitions and functions assigned to culture, cultural production and producers in a neoliberal economic system. Focusing on selected filmmakers, the book establishes how they have reorganised the dominance of industrial media, technology and social relations to develop practices that build upon principles of de-economisation, artisanship and interdependence.

Table of contents: 

List of Illustrations
1. Histories and Cultures: Space, Filmmaker, Text, Spectator
Public Space and Democratic Instruments
An Involved Filmmaker
Text, Representation and Reflexivity
Spectator and Horizontal Communication
2. Method and Meaning
Filmmakers, Histories, Concerns, Aesthetics
Artisanal Production
Documentary as Signifying Practice
3. Documentary Financing and Production
NGOS and Useful Media
Institutionally Managed Practice
Self-Managed Practice
A Tactics of Practice; Decapitalisation and De-economisation
4. Documentary Circulation and Exhibition
The Regulated Public Domain
From Information to Emotion
Between Participant and Audience
A Tactics of Circulation: An Involved Publics and Decentering Copyright
5. People and Documentary
The Represented and Institutional Subject
Artist, Meanings, Obligation
Speaking with the Subject
Independent: Interdependent and Negotiated Consent Practice
Works Cited


Shweta Kishore lectures in Film and Media at RMIT University in Ho Chi Minh City, and leads creative research collaborations with contemporary Vietnamese women artists. She gained a PhD from Monash university and is also a documentary practitioner. Her interests include how film studies, gender and social theory intersect in writing, and making and curating independent documentary film as a mode of critical and political practice.



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