MAM Movies: Real reel

Friday, September 17, 2010

mam logo new When Meghna and Madhusudan Agarwal returned to India from USA after graduation in filmmaking from Academy of Art in San Francisco, they did not set out for any tinsel town glory.

Instead, they invested all their effort in using the skills and resources for social change. Thus, in April 2006, MAM Movies was born to propel the vehicle of social change through movies.

But there is a heart-warming episode before the launch.

With a backpack and a donated camera Madhusudan returned to India started travelling. He stayed with Himalayan yogis and modern teachers, but the true inspiration came while making a film on Dwarko Sundaraniji, one of the last active disciples of Mahatma Gandhi.

Dwarko Sundarani runs a school for the children of the Harijan or untouchable community in rural Bihar. Madhusudan stayed with him for two months and while leaving, Sundarjaniji asked him to find his truth.

“Filmmaking is just an instrument, realize your true goal,” he said. This blessing gave birth to MAM.
MAM (pronounced as ‘MAAM’) means “I AM” in Sanskrit. It symbolizes the supreme soul. “Brahman, without beginning, supreme: beyond what is and beyond what is not.”

Inspired by this uniqueness in all, the founders have made an attempt to create a platform which will support and nurture independent filmmakers who use media – the arts and technology – to inform, inspire and empower others to create positive action in the world.

In one of many programs, MAM Movies creates an effort to consistently make inspiring films on NGOs and use media for social change.

With six employees and 100 percent growth rate in the number of projects in the past few years, MAM is a mission in progress. The couple's vision for 2010 is to have a community centre with an open source resource hub providing support to filmmakers and organizations who/which want to use media for social change.

When they launched MAM, there was clearly no support system for what they were trying to do.

“It was experimental and thus it took time to convince companies and organizations to sponsor projects. We started with just our computer and a borrowed table at a friend’s place,” says Madhusudan.

With limited resources, they worked mostly with volunteers.

But the turning point came with their meeting with Dr. Nachiket Mor of the ICICI Foundation. Dr. Mor believed in MAM Movies and supported them. 

In a short span, MAM Movies has had several successes.

First they organized the Genesis film project, a film competition held in Mumbai where 101 filmmakers were invited to make films for 101 NGOs in just 101 Hours.

It was an instant hit, with more than 300 filmmakers participating. They got 90 films on time. That motivated them to do it every year.

Then MAM Movies launched a project called ‘She Creates’ in 2007, where they invited 25 girls aged between 10 and 15 years from varied background, including from Dharavi slums, and conducted film workshops. In just 21 days these children, mostly without formal education, made some heart warming films on women issues, gender inequality and female feticide.

The MAM Movies juggernaut rolls on with new projects, new dreams.

However, for MAM Movies, the mantra remains the same: “Make a film, make a difference.”

If you are passionate about filmmaking and have a zeal to do good then Samhita brings you the right opportunity. You need not be an accomplished filmmaker, even if you have basic filmmaking skills and a willingness to create positive social change you can participate in Socially Positive and make a short film for an NGO of your choice. Using your film you can promote the NGO and raise support for them.

Best entries from participants in the filmmaking category will be judged by a panel including Madhusudan to get an opportunity to intern with them and also win cash prizes. To know more and to register for the competition click here.


Post a Comment