Indian filmmaker's documentary wins at Yale Environment contest


New Delhi, Sep 05, 2021, IANS

An Indian filmmaker's documentary about pollution caused due to cement plants in the erstwhile forested areas of Meghalaya has bagged the first place at the '2021 Yale Environment 360 Video Contest'.

The documentary titled "The Story of Lumshnong", by Aarti Srivastava, examines how government officials allowed cement companies to pour pollution leading to destruction of the local ecosystem in Meghalaya.

Yale Environment 360 is an online magazine published at the Yale University's School of the Environment.

It offers opinion, analysis, reporting, and debate on global environmental issues.

Lumshnong is a village in Jaintia Hills district of Meghalaya.

Several companies have set up mining projects and cement plants thanks to the abundant availability of limestone in the area.

Srivastava said she had been reading about Meghalaya mining in newspapers and got a chance to travel to the area.

A local friend took her around the area which was a total "disaster".

Forests had vanished, area faced water problems and in general people around the cement plants were suffering.

"This was an issue which was not talked about as much as it should have been. After that first visit, I started going there. The film was made over a period of two years," she told IANS over the phone.

Srivastava, who shares time between Mumbai and Chennai, started as a journalist and after about five years in print and television, shifted to filmmaking following her interest in developmental journalism.

Her film 'Foresting Life' has won a national award for best non-feature category in 2014.

Among her professional work for over 10 years, is her role as an executive producer for Salman Khan starrer 'Kick' and several ad films.

"That ensures my daily bread and butter so I can follow my passion for the environment," Srivastava said.

So what is next on her plate?

Two films, one, five-episode film on human rights in Kashmir and another on climate change for OTT platforms.

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