Yes! I Am The Change - An Opportunity To Make A Difference, Not Just A Film!

By Arun Fulara. Posted on September 23, 2016

Making a film in 101 hours, even if it's only 3 mins long, is not an easy task. But when you have a cause & people to inspire you, your challenges pale in comparison to what stands in front of you. A social filmmaking challenge like the Yes, I Am The Change gives you that opportunity to capture something truly inspiring. And chances are, that what you capture will probably keep you captivated for life.

This is what has happened to many of the filmmakers who've participated in this annual challenge. Leena Kejriwal is one such filmmaker. Leena is a Kolkata-based photographer and artist who's been closely associated with NGOs like Apne Aap and Hamari Muskan that work on the issue of sex trafficking. When she heard about the contest, she immediately decided to participate &  when she received 'livelihood' as the topic she decided to focus on She chose to focus on Jaya Ghosh, a rehabilitated sex worker who now works with Hamari Muskan to prevent the next generation trafficking. 

Like she says in the video, participating in the YES! i am the CHANGE Mumbai Social Film Festival transformed Leena’s thinking about her art. She says “The energy I saw in the young participants was really wonderful. They were telling stories in a way that would touch people emotionally. Each person was trying to create an emotional involvement with the audience.” She later went on to take her campaign to the masses with a crowdfunding campaign that raised 16 lakhs & helped her take her public art and awareness-raising project across India. 

Her participation in YES! i am the CHANGE has concretised Leena’s definition of herself as an ‘artivist.’ She says, “Someone called me an artivist, which I found amusing but it’s true. The activist in me is equally strong as the artist in me.”

Others like Ravi Iyer of Talkaholics Productions didn't know the cause or the person they were going to make a film on till he put up a message on Facebook seeking NGO's that could do with a film. That led him to, in his own words, the most remarkable lady he's ever known, Roxanne Davur. She runs an animal shelter almost single-handedly in Karjat that takes care of all sorts of injured animals over its 1.5 acre area.

Iyer and team have since become firm supporters of her cause, helping her raise funds & put up a solar power panel at her shelter. They've stuck a life-long friendship that continues to inspire Iyer & his team.

Sudeshna Guha Roy's story is similar to Iyer's. She didn't know about Pratima Devi before the event but when a few people told her about Devi, she was intrigued. Devi's is the inspiration story of a woman who survived a bad marriage & struggled to make a living on the streets of Delhi. Unlike many other do-gooders, she lives a life on the margins herself & that is what makes her story even more inspirational. For someone who doesn't have a steady income herself, she feeds almost 300 dogs every day, an incredible number by any standards.

Roy is still over-awed by the dog-lover & has continued to do her bit to help Devi out. Her team ran a crowd-funding campaign on Ketto sometime back, raising over Rs 80,000 for her. Devi now runs a small roadside shack selling tea that helps her continue her work with street dogs.

In all the cases, the filmmakers have been transformed by the experience. The challenge is not just a filmmaking event, but an opportunity to learn about the world around you. So what are you waiting for? Register now (last date for registrations is Sep 27) at the YIAC website & join hundreds of others in the biggest filmmaking extravaganza in the country. And if you need to know more about the contest, don't forget to check our earlier article here.


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