On Friday, Oct 30, Sashikanth Ananthachari, Filmmaker presentd Vanavaasam [Living in the Forest] at NYU, the respondent was Richard Schechner, University Professor Emeritus, NYU, Editor, TDR (MIT Press).
For over a thousand years a theatre festival has been performed in Tamil Nadu and Andhra, totally outside any institutional religious, corporate or state support. This unique festival easily might be the longest standing, independent theatre festival in the world surviving currently. The festival has been funded purely by individual contributions of each family in the community and its primary objective seems to be to create inclusive communities of belonging. For over a decade Sashikanth has been making a series of films on this festival.
Sashikanth Ananthachari is a cinematographer/filmmaker trained in the prestigious Film and Television Institute of India, Pune and has shot over 300 documentaries and 6 fiction feature films with leading Indian filmmakers. His films have won both National and International recognition. Currently he is working on his ‘Epic Performance Traditions’ project which consists of a trilogy of films- ‘Kelai Draupadai’ [Listen Draupadi], ‘Ninaivin Nagaram’ [Landscape and Memory] ‘Kalpavaasi [Textures of Time] and a book ‘Mahabharata of the Mind’ which engages with the theory of Indian theatrical forms. Kelai Draupadai, the first film of the work in progress trilogy was the official selection at the BlowUp Chicago Arthouse Film Festival. It was awarded ‘The Best Foreign Film at the DIY Film Festival. Los Angeles in 2016.