Films are simultaneously the language
of compassion and revolution.
Rough Edges seeks to enable, mentor, produce and disseminate documentary films that explore diverse, intersecting and complex realities, boldly informed by queer feminist politics and a commitment to social justice. Supporting films across multiple political and aesthetic practices, we hope to celebrate the distinctive voices of women, trans and queer artists, collectively catalysing conversations around contemporary narratives and how they shape us. Through the making and sharing of films, we aspire to engagements with intention, perspective, process, form and expression and how they resonate in a structurally intricate and unequal world.
We imagine Rough Edges as a space for artistic endeavour, rumination and dialogue, strengthening efforts contesting dominant codes of cultural production and reception, dismantling the status quo, enriching countercultures and promoting affirmative change. This impulse is compelling, especially at a time when support for the independent documentary is abysmal and fast diminishing, worsened by the demolition of the freedom of expression and contrarian opinion.
Films play a special role in a broken society,
laying bare hurtful truths, asking questions of those in power, offering solace and galvanising people.
Commission filmmakers, across diversities and locations, amplifying new and unheard voices, marginalised on the basis of their gender identity, sexual orientation, caste, class, disability, religion, ethnicity, work or region, typically in conjunction with each other.
Offer robust and committed creative collaboration and support through the making of the films, enabling artists to experiment, innovate and create their best works, enlarging the scope of our visual cultures and references and pushing the boundaries of documentary form and practice.
Produce a substantial body of work around critical themes and experiences, with a view to bringing them to greater public attention. The films we commission would complement each other in offering a range of artistic interpretations of and responses to lived realities, emboldening us to think, share, act, challenge.
Showcase and disseminate films in various contexts, with and without other kinds of artistic media, to empower filmmakers, support creative community networks and peoples’ movements, facilitate pedagogical and public culture interventions, encourage deliberation and collaboration around documentary films, their making, viewing and imprints.
Explore alliances for co-creation and co-exhibition with individuals and groups invested in questions around socio-political representation and participation.
Build audiences for the documentary in a hyperdigital, interconnected and intensely visual world.
The making of films is about collective history,
identity and memory-making. When the hands that
mould it change, form itself is revolutionised.
Rough Edges is the initiative of Ridhima Mehra and Tulika Srivastava, drawing on over two decades of experiences,
learnings, challenges and aspirations from commissioning, mentoring, curating and disseminating documentary films, at the Public Service Broadcasting Trust, where we together led the commissioning, creative realisation and outreach of close to 700 films, diverse in artistic form, subject and authorship. These have travelled around the world - 2000 festival selections, 350 awards, including thirty national film awards, screenings and honours at the Oscars, Berlinale, Rotterdam, Oberhausen, Yamagata, Busan and Sheffield, among others.
Our work and processes will be informed by the collective energies and vision that inspire, activate and sustain independent creative cinematic production, dissemination and advocacy. We are being aided and supported by an Advisory Team of diverse, experienced feminist activists, artists and practitioners, in framing and steering the creative, philosophical, political and institutional intentions and mandates of Rough Edges. They enrich our perspectives and strengthen our efforts.
Ambarien Alqadar, filmmaker, screenwriter and Professor of Cinema Studies.
Amritananda Chakravorty, queer feminist lawyer with extensive experience in human rights litigation and policy work.
Bina Paul, National Award winning Film Editor and Artistic Director of the International Film Festival of Kerala. Joint President, Network for the Promotion of Asian and Pacific Cinema.
Lalsawmliani Tochhawng, arts administrator and curator with special interest in cinema. Chief, Programmes,
India international Centre.
Suneeta Dhar, policy advocate and facilitator of institutional processes to advance gender equality and rights.
Vijeta Kumar, writer and teacher.
Together, we strive to build Rough Edges with the conviction and audacity that documentary encounters