×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds
SPONSORED

Freed by the Camera

Self-taught filmmaker Rima Das found empowerment by creating ‘Village Rockstars’

In a small village in Assam, India, we meet our protagonist, Dhunu, a free-spirited 10-year-old girl with a Styrofoam guitar, playing a song of hope. Undeterred by life’s challenges, Dhunu dreams of starring in her own rock band — except with a real guitar.

The onscreen journey of “Village Rockstars’” protagonist embodies the real-life journey of Rima Das, the director. A self-taught filmmaker working with few resources and no budget or star power, Das is the rock star behind the film.

Das originally envisioned a film about young boys she met at a local village festival in her home state of Assam. They were playing fake instruments with such joy that it hardly seemed to matter that they didn’t have the resources to buy real ones.

“But as I began to shoot,” remembers Das, “I noticed Bhanita Das [Rima’s young cousin, who went on to play Dhunu]. She would climb trees and run around with the boys. I saw myself in her and, suddenly, it hit me: She was the story.”

At a time when women are still considered the “weaker sex,” Dhunu and her mother are an embodiment of feminine strength. They stand up, in their own way, to everything life throws at them, from poverty to floods.

Rima Das says the inspiration for her film was the idea that “Children can dream regardless of their background.” She notes the children’s innocence and reverence for nature guided her through the making of her film.

Fueled by little except her dream and a Canon 5D Mark II camera, she looked at the whole film as a painting. She shot in real-life conditions with non-actors. The film looks natural and the performances are realistic because the young actors allowed Das to train them under the blue sky. Although the story was scripted, Das didn’t compromise on incorporating moments from their daily lives, or on capturing the beauty of the land.

Besides directing, she was producer, writer, cinematographer, production designer, costume designer and film editor, learning all of these skills on her own.
It took four years to complete “Village Rockstars.” Since its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, the film has traveled to more than 80 festivals and received over 50 awards.

Audiences and critics have been effusive. The film has been praised for its theme of female empowerment and self-actualization. It received India’s highest cinematic honor, the National Film Award for best feature film, and now is India’s official 2018 entry for the Academy Award for foreign language film.

“There are many things as women we feel scared to speak about,” says Das. “But with the camera in my hand I felt empowered, I felt liberated. I could tell the story of ordinary people who do extraordinary things. I could tell the story of women who are in charge of their own world.

“I could tell a story that was my own and yet could resonate with audiences around the world.”

More Biz

  • IWC Schaffhausen store opening, Rodeo Drive,

    8 Luxury Gifts That Industry Leaders Are Spending Their Paychecks On

    Whether you’re celebrating a new launch, a new business venture, or toasting to the end of another successful year, here are eight gift ideas to reward yourself — and to impress the company you keep. 1. Saint Laurent Perforated Leather Tote Bag If you work in the industry, you need a good bag, and you’ve [...]

  • best airlines ranked inflight entertainment

    Holiday Travel Survey Reveals Airlines With Best In-Flight Entertainment

    There are many ways to pass the time if you’re in the air, but for most people, settling in with a glass of wine and a movie is the preferred way to fly. But not all airlines share the same script when it comes to entertainment offerings. A new survey from the website, CableTV.com, ranked [...]

  • Ventana Sur Rocks with Sales, Mass

    Ventana Sur Rocks with Sales, Mass Attendance, Structural Growth

    BUENOS AIRES — Celebrating its 10th anniversary with a huge hike in attendance to over 4,000 accredited delegates, the 2018 Ventana Sur will go down in history on multiple counts: Sales and pick-ups on movies which combined social comment and entertainment value, increasingly the new foreign-language movie standard; new sections, led by a Proyecta co-production [...]

  • Jennifer Lawrence Harvey Weinstein

    Jennifer Lawrence Denies Harvey Weinstein's Claim in Latest Assault Lawsuit

    Harvey Weinstein was hit with a lawsuit Friday from an actress who claims he forcibly performed oral sex on her, repeatedly masturbated in front of her, and threatened to harm her career if she objected. The suit details that Weinstein claimed he was trying to help her and that he was the gateway to her dreams. [...]

  • Times Up Hollywood

    Time's Up Entertainment Announces New Industry Mentoring Initiative

    Time’s Up Entertainment, an affiliate of the Time’s Up coalition of women across industries working to improve workplace safety, has announced the “Who’s in the Room” industry mentoring initiative. The program’s goal is to increase the presence of people of color from diverse backgrounds in the entertainment industry’s executive ranks. Funded by a $500,000 grant from [...]

  • Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt in

    Paramount Inks Deal for Theme Park in South Korea

    Paramount Pictures has announced a deal to install a studio-branded theme park in an entertainment resort being developed in South Korea. The agreement was struck between Paramount and Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment, which owns the Inspire Integrated Entertainment Resort in the South Korean city of Incheon. Mohegan has invested KRW 2.8 trillion ($2.4 billion) in [...]

  • Davan Maharaj Mel Gibson

    L.A. Times Publisher's Lawyer Was Accused of Extorting Mel Gibson

    The attorney who negotiated a $2.5 million exit package for L.A. Times publisher Davan Maharaj was previously accused of using secret recordings to extort actor Mel Gibson. Surreptitious recordings also figure in the Maharaj case. NPR reported on Wednesday that Maharaj taped Tronc chairman Michael Ferro. According to the report, Ferro was heard on the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content