1st ViBGYOR, February 2006:
ViBGYOR was born out of a desire on part of various organizations and film societies to collectively organize an international film festival for short films and documentaries as an alternative film movement, which the organizers hoped would eventually evolve into a broad political platform for discussion and action as a `celebration of identities and diversity’. The initiative for coordinating the first edition of ViBGYOR was taken by Chetana Media Institute (Thrissur), Nottam(Kerala) and Abhivyakti Media for Development(Nashik), supported by different film societies like Navachitra (Thrissur), Resmi (Malappuram) and various cultural organizations. This broader coalition laid the foundation stone for the `ViBGYOR Film Collective’, which formally came into existence in 2007.
The first edition of ViBGYOR was launched as a 5-day festival, from February 22-26, 2006, with `Water’ as the special focus theme of the year. Two hundred films were screened and four awards were given away in two categories – documentary and short fiction. The Competition section at national level for Documentaries was based on the theme `Women Frames’. Non-competitive section included national and international short fiction, documentaries, music videos, animations and spots based on the central theme of ViBGYOR, `Identities and Diversity’. The reputed Finnish filmmaker, Lasse Naukarinen formally inaugurated the Festival on February 22nd; Padmashree Adoor Gopalakrishnan was the chief guest for the valedictory on the 26th.
2nd ViBGYOR, 2007:
The 2nd Edition of ViBGYOR Festival was launched on May 10, 2007 with a National Conference based on ‘Earth’, the focus theme of ViBGYOR-2007. Members of the National Adivasi Andolan movement presented an Invocation to Earth. Dr. Ram Dayal Munda delivered the keynote address, ‘Land´ownership and displacement in the context of globalization and Privatization´’. The same evening the VIBGYOR Festival Opening Ceremony was held at 5.30pm, in which the renowned Bangladeshi Filmmaker Ms. Yasmin Kabir formally inaugurated the festival. Reputed documentary filmmaker Anand Patwardhan, social activist and scholar Ram Dayal Munda and Kerala State Chalachitra Academy Chairman K.R.Mohanan were some of the dignitaries present.
3rd ViBGYOR, 2008:
Prior to the 3rd ViBGYOR Annual
Festival at Thrissur, a National Conference was organized at
Thiruvanathapuram on ‘Energy- Policies, Problems and Solutions’ as we
had chosen ‘Energy’ as the Focus theme of ViBGYOR-2008.
Magsaysay Award winner Sandeep Pandey delivered the keynote address and
an eminent panel led the presentations and discussions. ViBGYOR Film Festival Opening Ceremony was held on February 13th
in Pananchery Panchayat, to mark it as ‘Festival from the People’. The
Panchayat President Ms. Lilly Francis, along with 14 filmmakers who came
from different parts of the world, lighted lamps of peace and harmony,
formally inaugurating the festival. The Inaugural Films package began
with ‘Voices from Baliapal’, which was part of the ‘Ranjan Palit-Vasudha
Joshi’ Retrospective. The high point of the day was the screening of
the short film ‘Akavum-Puravum’ scripted and directed by the women’s group of Pananchery Panchayat.
4th ViBGYOR, 2009:
The 4th Edition of ViBGYOR International Film Festival, which focused on the theme ‘Food Sovereignty’ or ‘Bhakshya Swaraj’ began on February 4, 2009 with an international Conference that emphatically pointed out the need for protecting our basic human rights including the right to have decision-making power over our food and food producing resources. The Festival was inaugurated the same day evening by Dr. Ilina Sen, Dean of Mahatma Gandhi Hindu University, Wardha and wife of imprisoned human rights activist Dr. Binayak Sen from Chathisgarh. The 5-day Festival, held from February 4-8, was a combination of screening more than a hundred short fiction films and documentaries, Open forums and Mini conferences on current social and political issues, ‘Free Dr. Binayaksen’ and other campaigns and a Workshop on ‘Community Radio’.
5th ViBGYOR, 2010:
The 5th edition of ViBGYOR International film festival began in Thrissur, Kerala on Wednesday, February 17th with the South Asian Conference on ‘ State, Communal and Developmental Conflicts in South Asia‘. Zakia Soman, Founder Member, Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan inaugurated the Conference. Dr. Binayak Sen, national Vice President of PUCL did the key-note presentation of the Conference. Immediately after the closing of the South Asia Conference, we had the inauguration of the ‘Justice for Bhopal’ Campaign Photo Exhibition around 4pm, marking the 25th anniversary of the Bhopal tragedy victims’ campaign for justice. The formal inauguration of the 5th edition of ViBGYOR International Film Festival by Dr. Binayak Sen took place at 5.30 pm, after which we screened 7 politically significant short films in the Open Air venue as part of the ‘Inaugural Films Package’. In the following days, from 18th-21st, a total of 100 films were screened at the three major venues.
6th ViBGYOR, 2011:
ViBGYOR 2011, held from January 12-16, was dedicated to the memory of late C.Saratchandran, founder member of ViBGYOR and a long time political filmmaker and media activist. The special focus theme was ‘Political Filmmaking and Media Activism in South Asia‘ in tune with the vision and mission of Sarat. Anand Patwardhan, was the Festival Director. The festival began with the South Asia Media Activists’ Get-together and was officially inaugurated by Saeed Mirza. ‘Models of Media Activism‘ was a special session, while there was an exhibition on Media Activism. A workshop on Adivasi Ayrveda was led by Dr.Vijayan. Medha Patkar delivered the first Saratchandran Memorial Lecture on ‘Challenges to Peoples’ Movements and Alternative Media Responses. 130 films from 20 countries were screened, and 52 filmmakers, including Norma Marcos from Palestine, attended the festival.