Leena Manimekalai’s ‘Maadathy’ to feature in online film fest for South Asian directors

The festival’s live viewing on October 9 will be at 5.30 am IST followed by a live question-and-answer session with its director.
Leena Manimekalai's Maadathy
Leena Manimekalai's Maadathy
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Independent filmmaker Leena Manimekalai’s Maadathy: An Unfairy Tale will now be available to watch on demand until October 17 as part of the Coalition of South Asian Film Festivals (CoSAFF) 2020. The live viewing on October 9 will be at 5.30 am Indian Standard Time (IST), followed by a live question-and-answer session with its director.

The 15-day festival is the first of its kind, bringing together South Asian film festivals across North America with free online screenings and Q&A sessions with its creators.

The Coalition includes Tasveer South Asian Film Festival (TSAFF); Chicago South Asian Film Festival (CSAFF); DC South Asian Film Festival (DCSAFF); Mosaic International South Asian Film Festival (MISAFF); Nepal America International Film Festival (NAIFF); South Asian Film Festival of Montreal (SAFFM) and Vancouver International South Asian Film Festival (VISAFF).

Those wanting to watch the film can do so by registering on CoSAFF’s website here. Maadathy is a fictionalised take on the lives of the Puthirai Vannar community in Tamil Nadu. The Puthirai Vannar form the tail end of the caste hierarchy in the state and are treated as “unseeables”.

Some of the other films that will screen at the festival include Ama Khando in the Mustangi language by Dhondup Tsering Gurung from Nepal, Bengali short film Binimoy by Tanvi Chowdhary and Pakistani filmmakers Anya Raza and Aisha Linnea Akhtar’s How She Moves that follows a 90-year-old Bharathanatyam dancer from Pakistan.

Talking about how Maadathy: An Unfairy Tale came about, Leena had said in an interview with TNM, “It all started when I came across an article that noted that it is the Puthirai Vannar community - the last in the ladder of caste system, the Dalits among Dalits, the “unseeable” - who are the ones perpetually on the move, displaced because they are unable to protect their women. It is terrible to know that their plight continues to this date. My question is how long are we going to allow this injustice to continue? This question led me to the film.”

To shoot her film, Leena travelled to a village in Tirunelveli where she stayed with the Puthirai Vannar community. Taking inputs from those in the community, Leena called it a “people participatory project”.

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