United States Ambedkarites to host first Dalit Film and Cultural Festival

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The United States Ambedkarites and other Ambedkar associated groups will be hosting the first Dalit Film and Cultural Festival on February 23 and 24 at The New School – UL102 in New York City.

According to a press release, the purpose of this festival is:

  1. To expose to the world the nuances of Dalit life
  2. To encourage a dialogue on the lack of representation and diversity in the Indian and South Asian film industry on the experiences of Dalit lives
  3. To create solidarity with other oppressed groups tied into a Fourth World project through the intervention of film and other forms of media

Throughout history, Dalits have been deemed as “untouchables” and this has prevented them from growing socially and economically in the South Asian community, particularly in India, the press release adds.

Popular film personalities from the Dalit community will be at the festival including Directors Pa. Ranjith and Nagraj Manjule, actress Niharika Singh, Bommaku Murali, Jayan Cherian, Subodh Nagdeve and Rampilla Rao.

Also, the films and documentaries that will be showcased, will center on the Dalit community and a showcase of fine art, literature and photography by Dalits, which accentuate the themes of Dalit life and offer an opportunity to assert Dalit pride, will be featured as well.

According to a press release, the festival is an initiative of United States Ambedkarites — a coalition of Ambedkar International Mission (USA), supported by the Ambedkar Association of North America (AANA), Boston Study Group (BSG) and the Ambedkar Buddhist Association Texas (ABAT), co-sponsored and hosted by Barnard College, Columbia University and The New School in New York.

Columbia University continues to retain Ambedkar’s legacy as it celebrates and honors Ambedkar’s ideas and values, while The New School cements the legacy of John Dewey with Ambedkarite praxis.

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