Imphal: Haobam Paban Kumar’s second feature film in Manipuri and Tangkhul language – Nine Hills One Valley is finally set to premiere at Jogja-NETPAC Asian Film Festival 2021 in Indonesia. The film, among 17 Asian films selected, will be screened in Asia Perspectives of the 16th edition of the 8-day festival beginning from November 27.
Other films are Oscar winner Asghar Farhadi’s A Hero (Iran), Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s two films-Drive My Car (Japan) and Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy(Japan), Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Memoria (Thailand), Anocha Suwichakornpong’s Come Here (Thailand), Lamin Oo’s Three Stages (Myanmar), Arfan Sabran’s Bara (Indonesia), Da Fei’s The Coffin Painter ( China), Wen Shipei’s Are You Lonesome Tonight?(China), Supriya Suri’s Aruna Vasudev-Mother of Asian Cinema (India), Andrew Campbell’s Marapu, Fire &Ritual (Indonesia) Khairi Anwar’s Mentega Terbang (Malaysia), Jacky Yeap’s Sometime Sometime (Malaysia), Hong Sang-oo’s In Front of Your Face (South Korea), Tan Bee Thiam’s Tiong Bahru Social Club (Singapore) and Abdullah Mohammad Saad’s Rehana Maryam Noor (Bangladesh/Singapore).
Nine Hills One Valley is about Anam Ahum, a Tangkhul Naga from the hills, who travels to Imphal city in the valley in order to meet his daughter before she leaves for New Delhi in search of a job. During the course of the journey, he encounters different people and their stories, making us witness to the brutality of ethnic conflicts.
About the film, Paban Kumar states, “The desire for ethnic supremacy and emergence of politics of identity had put the people to unceasing violence, amplifying further mistrust and animosity amongst its population. Yet, in the face of distressing memories, hope thrives. My film is a testimony of the brutishness of ethnic clash heard from the victims.”
Anam Ahum is the main protagonist of the 75–minute long film- Nine Hills One Valley produced by Warepam Jhansirani and Haobam Paban Kumar for Oli Pictures. National Film Awardee Irom Maipak and Ranjan Palit are cameramen. Sound is done by Sukanta Majumdar and editing by Sankha and story, screenplay and direction by Haobam Paban Kumar.
Haobam Paban Kumar is a prominent voice emitting out of the restive northeastern state of Manipur, dabbling in both non-fiction and fiction storytelling. Immediately after graduating from Satyajit Roy Film and Television Institute, Kolkata in Direction and Screenwriting, he burst onto the documentary scenario with his hard-hitting film, AFSPA 1958. It brought many accolades including the first Swarna Kamal for Manipur at the 56th National Film Awards 2009. After nearly a decade of making non-fiction, he made his critically acclaimed feature film, Loktak Lairembee in 2016. The film was featured at 67th Berlin Film Festival 2017. Paban’s love for the Film Arts and his vision for its development particularly in his native State Manipur made an important contributor to the Manipur State Film Development Society. Individually, he is managing -Cinema Imphal Foundation, a trust for the promotion of Cinema, as its Founding Managing Director. Paban has served as a resource person at important film workshops and screenwriting labs and has also served as national and international juries several times. To date, Paban won four National film awards and his seven films were selected in the Indian Panorama of International Film Festival of India. Currently he is shooting his third narrative feature.
Jogja-NETPAC Asian Film Festival (JAFF) is a premier Asian film festival in Indonesia focusing on the development of Asian cinema. This festival not only contributes to introducing Asian cinema to a wider public in Indonesia, but it also provides a space for the intersection of many sectors such as arts, culture, and tourism.
Since its inception, JAFF has worked closely with NETPAC (Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema), a worldwide organization of 30 member countries. Headquartered in Colombo Srilanka, NETPAC is a pan-Asian film and cultural organization involving critics, filmmakers, festival organizers and curators, distributors and exhibitors, as well as educators. It is considered a leading authority in Asian cinema.