Manipuri documentary film Meiram-The Fireline is among 18 films selected in the short documentary competition section of the International Documentary and Short Film Festival of Kerala, 2022. The 14th edition of IDSFFK will be held from August 26 to 31 in Thiruvananthapuram.
Meiram-The Fireline, James Khangenbam's debut, is a 33-minute documentary film on forest conservation at the Punsilok area of the Langol hills started by Loiya Moirangthem and his group of friends. The film visually touches the embracing colours of wild and slices of biodiversity.
“My film is an observational documentary. When one sees my film, one would feel like he or she is in the forest. The peaceful co-existence of birds, insects, animals and man in a given space is highlighted in the film. My film also generates a sense of volunteerism towards conserving a forest,” James was quoted as saying in a release issued by president of Film Society Manipur Meghachandra Kongbam.
The film is produced by James Khangenbam who also handles the camera. Mocha Kangjam is the sound designer whose work revolves around the moving environment and nature. Johni Meitei is the editor.
According to James, he began shooting Meiram-The Fireline in 2017 and completed it in 2020.
“I shot all the seasons like summer, winter, autumn and spring. It took around one and half years in post-production,” he said.
The annual fireline is made in winter before the onset of the windy season. ‘Fireline’ is a controlled fire to clear narrow strips of land at the periphery of the forest and the annual practice of clearing strips with fire is carried out in winter before the onset of the windy season.
The volunteers manually remove the overgrown shrubs and larger plants, and when the fallen shrubs are dry, they burn them at night when the wind is stable to avoid the accidental spread of fire. The gap is made to stop the unpredictable wild forest fire from crossing into the conservation site during the windy season. Such practice has to be done annually as the cleared strip of land regenerates during the rainy season.
James Khangenbam is an independent documentary filmmaker based in Imphal. He studied literature and Journalism. A former journalist in the print, web and television at his hometown, he has been attending documentary film project development workshops at Docedge Kolkata, Imphal Documentor, for the last six years.
Meiram-The Fireline was the opening film of the documentary section in the 17th edition of Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF), 2022. It was also an official selection at Wildlife Vaasa Festival – International Nature Film Festival, Finland 2022.
Other films in the competition section are Joshua Quadros's ‘Armature’, Parthajit Baruah's ‘Brush Stroke’, Rishi Chandna's ‘Party Poster’, Ardehl Nainan's ‘Fantasy Parks’, Debankon Singh Solanky's ‘New Classroom’, Sohil Vaidya's ‘Murmurs of the Jungle’, Shirley Abraham and Amit Madheshiya's ‘The Great Abandonment’, Nishanth Gurumurthy's ‘Gopi’, Muntaha Amin's ‘Siege in the Air’, Joshy Joseph's ‘Mizo Soundscapes’, J J Abraham's ‘Salt and Sugar’, Farha Khatun's ‘Ripples Under the Skin’, Neelansh Mittra's ‘Why wander outside?’, Bijoy Chowdhury's ‘My son and his Grandfather’, The Third Eye Portal, The Third Eye's Digital Educators's ‘Night time in small town India’, Priya Naresh's ‘Small-time Cinema’ and Miriam Chandy Menacherry's ‘The Leopard's Tribe’.