Captivated by the diverse culture of India from the time he reached the country to film the documentary, The film-maker plans to explore further into the rural sector in future.
“Ocean in a Drop is a window to the lives of ordinary people with limited access to technology. It was never a tough job to connect with indigenous people. We created a friendly environment with the masses and made sure not to intimidate them with all our equipment and troops, we were part of the
melting pot itself,” Andrew says cheerfully.
The documentary peers through the lens of the foundation’s vast fieldwork, reaching the poorest of communities with broadband technologies and digital literacy. When we ask him about the hurdles he faced to reach the most remote areas of the country, he says, “Nothing is impossible since conviction of the team and enthusiasm boosted us to a great extent.”
Andrew speaks about one such incident during his journey, where he witnessed a small, primitive computer which became a medium of socialisation for the women of that tribe.
“Two young girls from Saharia tribe in MP discovered that aloe vera cures pimples, through their only source of information in the village. They spread the message to all their neighbours and socialised well for the first time. Thus, the power of technology not only helped them learn to navigate through internet, but also became a source of knowledge and communication,” says Andrew.
Commenting on his idea to use media as a key tool to archive culture and empower women, he says, “Archiving a culture cannot happen when it is entirely wipped out. Digitising an indigenous art should proceed with information on how it started in the first place giving more importance to its heritage. It is imperative to have a preservation strategy.”
He also shares an instance where irregularities on government schemes were brought out a solution by a volunteer and with proper information through digital literacy benefiting the community. Gaining confidence from such incidents kindled the spirit of women in Muzaffarpur district of Bihar to form an organisation to protect themselves from domestic violence.
“A quantitative study has revealed that domestic violence on women had come down since the arrival of digital literacy in that communities connected people,” he adds. Andrew who will be featuring his documentary in the 15th Chennai International Film Festival, divulges about his plans to create a non-fiction film on the history of artisans of south India across all tribal and cultural scenarios.
He says, “I found a drastic fall of interests among the artisans in preserving their own skills and culture here. A skilled wood carver retorted that 3D printers spoiled his livelihood but seldom did he know that technology can do wonders to preserve their talents and effectively pass it on to the future generations.”
With prepositions under discussion to precede many more projects in South India, the team is planning to create films on the necessity to preserve tribal artisans in the country.
“Chennai as a city has lots of enthusiasm. I definitely feel that the future of film-makers here will create a new wave in the film industry of the country,” concludes Garton.