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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 Acknowledgements Introduction 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 Afterword Filmography 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.



 is an initiative of the International Insitute for Asian Studies
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