Friday 30 September 2016
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Sange Dorjee Thondok

Arunachal Pradesh's first filmmaker on his debut feature film Crossing Bridges.

Are you the first person from your state to go to film school?

Yes, I graduated from the Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute, Calcutta.

What is Crossing Bridges about?

It's a narrative about coming back and reconnecting to your roots.

Are there any similarities between the protagonist Tashi and Sange?

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Of course. Just like Tashi, I have always stayed away from home. For a long time my people were alien to me. I returned to my village and recorded their stories, thus getting back to my roots.

Is there any autobiographical element involved?

My story is autobiographical as it's about the experience of homecoming.

Your father funded your movie?

Yes, he believed it was important for Arunachal Pradesh. My friends and relatives have also chipped in.

What was your inspiration for the movie?

My aim is to promote independent cinema. I want to encourage more voices from regional cinema, not just the Northeast.

What was the reason behind choosing the language Sherdukpen for the movie?

Sherdukpen is the local language spoken by the 4,000 Sherdukpen people, to which I belong. One reason was to help preserve our language.

What are the challenges you faced?

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Money is the greatest challenge. Also there is no film culture in Arunachal. Shooting in extreme weather conditions was another difficulty.

What steps do you think should be taken to encourage filmmakers from the Northeast?

Making a film is not hard; distribution is. My films got featured in festivals and that helped, but we need regular crowds. Independent cinema should be promoted.

What's next for you?

An issue-based film on the Northeast.

Mardaani Seven Days
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