Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival


A new season and a new approach. After 18 years BFMAF is moving to a new date, 3 – 5th March 2023. Find out more here.

To better understand the reasons behind this date change please read our Festival Statement




Live Event — 24 September 2021, 14:00

Focus Discussion 1: Precarity, asymmetries and independence in/of artistic practices from grassroots to diaspora in South Asia

Co-Founders of SPS Community Media  Shobhit Jain (dir Hailstorm) and Pinky Brahma Choudhury  in conversation with filmmakers Rajee Samarasinghe, Sharlene Bamboat, Suneil Sanzgiri.

Co-curated and moderated with researcher and curator Abhishek Nilamber of ‘United Screens’ and SAVVY Contemporary.

UNITED SCREENS is a long term research, exhibition and networking project that intends to create alliances of filmmakers and community cinema programmers loving independent film, sharing a condition of economic or political vulnerability, and hence being easily subjected to unfair trade-offs within the cinema industry. Drawing from the combined spirit of the anti-neocolonial Third Cinema proposition of South America, film cooperatives of Indian subcontinent, avant-garde movements of Eastern Europe, as well as, decolonial resistances of the African continent, we were inspired to look into cinema practices active in the Global South, and inquire into the challenges and opportunities in their transnational exchange and exhibition. We aim to work towards a model for a new technology-based distribution platform for independent films and video art particularly produced across the Global South. The project aspires to become a decentralised, peer-reviewed, peer-promoted think-tank on film cultures.

The event will be broadcast live on the home page of our website at the time and date advertised above.

The event is kindly supported by Goethe-Institut London

Live Event Participants:

Abhishek Nilamber (1987, India) works with projects and products which catalyses democratisation of knowledge. He is a researcher and curator at SAVVY Contemporary, Berlin and creative consultant at Backyard Civilization, Kochi, India. Nilamber has been living and working in Berlin since May 2016.


Shobhit Jain is a filmmaker based in India. He holds a post graduate Diploma in Cinema from Film & Television Institute of India (1992). He is the founder & Director of SPS Community Media, a grass-roots initiative for water and livelihood security, based out of a remote tribal village in Madhya Pradesh since 1990. It is a full-time in-house production unit that came up in 2008, articulating all SPS endeavours, translating ideas, practices and knowledge into films and other media contents in a dynamic, interactive process, in partnership with the local community. Its core team comprises local people of the area who have been trained to make films in local languages reflecting local milieu. The media content etch stories towards change, which are shared within the community through People’s Mobile Cinema—over 100 interactive sessions take place every month. More than 200 films—social documentaries, community videos and training films—have been produced so far. These films have also been screened in many national and international film festivals and received multiple awards.

Sharlene Bamboat (1984, Pakistan) is a video and installation artist based in Montreal. Her work calls into question narratives of mobility, citizenship and nation building. Through a re-examination of history, Bamboat elicits tongue-in-cheek performative videos and installations to question our contemporary moment marked by colonialism and neoliberalism. She has screened and exhibited internationally, including: International Film Festival Rotterdam (Netherlands), Art of the Real (NYC), Addis Video Art Festival (Ethiopia), the Sharjah Film Platform (U.A.E.), Berlinale: Forum Expanded (Germany), Mercer Union Gallery (Toronto) and Henry Art Gallery (Seattle). Sharlene frequently works in collaboration with Bambitchell. The duo were long list recipients of the 2020 Sobey Art Award. Bamboat contributes regularly to the arts-sector in Canada, as programmer, jury member for festivals, board member for arts organizations, and has been a member of numerous film/video collectives.

Rajee Samarasinghe (1988, Sri Lanka) is a filmmaker based in the United States. His work tackles contemporary sociopolitical conditions in Sri Lanka through the scope of his own identity and the deconstruction of ethnographic practices. His debut feature, Your Touch Makes Others Invisible, is inspired by his childhood experiences during the Sri Lankan civil war. It received a Sundance Documentary Fund grant in 2019, was invited to Berlinale Talents’ Doc Station, as well as True/False Film Festival’s inaugural PRISM program in 2020. He was named one of Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film in 2020. Rajee’s work has been exhibited at venues internationally including the Tiger Short Competition at the International Film Festival Rotterdam, New Directors/New Films presented by Film Society of Lincoln Center & MoMA, BFI London Film Festival, FIDMarseille, Festival du nouveau cinéma, Internationale Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen, among others.

Suneil Sanzgiri is an artist, researcher, and filmmaker working to understand how systems of oppression are informed and reinforced by trauma, history, and memory. His work spans experimental video, animations, essays, and installations, and contend with questions of identity, heritage, culture and diaspora in relationship to structural violence. He graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with a Masters of Science in Art, Culture and Technology in 2017 and was a 2016 resident of the SOMA program in Mexico City. His work has been screened at festivals and galleries nationally and internationally. Sanzgiri was also selected as a co-programmer of the Flaherty Seminar NYC 2020.