CMS VATAVARAN: An ideal to make the world better
Ideals are abstract. In 2002, CMS VATAVARAN committed itself to a process animated by a few, really abstract, ideals.
Even as the natural world seemed to reach the end of its carrying capacity, environmental concern seemed restricted to a few. But how could that be? Why was it so? What could be done?
CMS VATAVARAN took the film festival route. Take an affective medium, create a platform for practitioners to interact with people, make the entire effort a collaboration. The ideals were out of the bag. Why couldn’t environmental issues be highlighted in a way understood by all? Why couldn’t the practitioners behind the lens get their due? Why couldn’t the craft itself be stimulated?
We wanted everybody in it: individuals, government departments, corporates, scientific institutions, colleges and universities - whoever dealt, in their various capacities, with questions of sustainability, technology and policy-making.
Today, CMS VATAVARAN festival has become one of the most prestigious film festivals across the globe and has successfully positioned India as a vibrant destination for environment and wildlife filmmaking. The last edition of the festival held in 2011 is evidence of the fact that the festival has grown immensely not only in size but in significance. CMS VATAVARAN 2011 focusing on the theme of biodiversity received 300 entries from 27 nations of the world. It happened to be in a new avatar as the Indian audiences for the first time came face to face with foreign commissioners, international co-production houses during the Asian Filmmakers Summit, which was held as part of CMS VATAVARAN.
Do you still say ideals are abstract? Or they can’t be concretised, put into practice? We have done it and will continue to do so....
A febrile practice: That's life
The practice itself has evolved, over time. Yes, we did begin with films. The format then turned rhizomic. To films, were added other interactive formats: discussions, seminars, hands-on training.
In 2004, CMS VATAVARAN turned mobile. We also began a travelling festival. We had to. The travelling festival was a response to urgent and repeated requests from participants and partners associated with the main competitive festival organised in New Delhi. They believed, rightly, that the festival’s vast panorama was not being shared with people in other cities. How could a veritable wealth of expertise and creative experiences not be shared?
So the first CMS VATAVARAN Environment & Wildlife Travelling Film Festival and Forum was organised in 2004 in Chennai. Since then, 34 festivals have been organised in 27 cities. This was possible only with overwhelming participation from cities, the lavish support of state governments, local administrations, industries and organisations and unbound public enthusiasm.
The travelling festival has now become an intrinsic part of the film festival and environment forum fabric and is held every alternate year. The Environment Forum has successfully created a strong pan-India network of environmental groups, schools, colleges, eco-clubs and NGOs in the country. Ideals are abstract, but they are necessary, too. They can be transformed into a felt experience, but can get only as febrile as the passion that pushes it. The questions that provoked us a decade ago remain. CMS VATAVARAN remains resolute.
Purposive platformWho can participate to make the CMS VATAVARAN travelling film festival a success?
Everybody else, and you.
Development Sector Organisations working on environment and sustainable development, climate change, livelihoods, ecotourism, natural heritage, energy, water, agriculture and sustainable technologies.
Corporate Sector and Industries
Industries in the areas of power, renewable energy, water, waste management, transport, food grains, tourism, film and television, carbon trading, real estate and buildings.
Government – Central and State
Pollution control boards, municipal corporations and councils, state councils for science and technology, forest, environment and wildlife departments, etc.
Local, regional and national filmmakers from the fields of science, natural history and conservation filmmaking.
Regional, national and international journalists from print, electronic and new media.
Teachers, professors, researchers, principals and vice chancellors.
Mass Communication, journalism, environmental sciences, engineering and management.