e-Pao.net, 26 October 2015
Imphal, October 26 2015: Meena Longjam's debut documentary film 'Auto Driver' has won the Jury's Special Mention at the recently concluded Signs film festival held in Kerala.
The festival which began on October 21, featured around 140 films in various categories including Competition, Focus, Cinema of Performance, Cinema of Resistance and Artists Cinema.
It also featured seminars and open forums.
The film tells the story of Laibi, a lady auto driver based in conflict torn Imphal city.
In order to support an ailing husband and education of her two sons, she started driving an auto-rickshaw defying the norms of a traditional society.
Starting off as a daily wager in a brick farm where she earned only 60 rupees for loading 1000 bricks.
Laibi needed to earn more to support the family and she picked up a profession thinking least about discrimination against women who defied gender in occupational choice.
The film also highlights how daily wage earners like Laibi's livelihood can be severely affected by the frequent bandhs in the State of Manipur.
In 2014, there were three economic blockades which led to closure of the highways for 19 days.
And in the same year, there were 83 bandhs which affected 165 working days in Manipur.
The director of the film Meena Longjam has done her Masters in Communication from the prestigious Madras Christian College with an outstanding grade.
Since 2013, she has been working with national broadcaster Doordarshan Imphal as scriptwriter, narrator and Interviewer on contract basis.
Other than giving talks on a number of national and international seminars related to media, she has attended a number of film workshops.
Auto driver was a part of project development workshop organized by Documentor, Kolkatta in association with TC Foundation Manipur and mentored by international award winning filmmakers.
In November, 'Auto driver' will be screen in the 12th Jeevika: Asian Livelihood festival in New Delhi and in the 21st Kolkata International film festival in the competition section.
Auto driver has been co-produced by Ourvillage films and Post-Production fund was supported by L Ibomcha singh (MLA); Sanmati Traders; Lt.Col Joyraj Chungkam & Sangeeta, Kishalaya Namaram, Moirangthem Nagendra and Longjam Bedana.
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