Veena Hariharan's project at EXC 2020 lies at the interstices of documentary film and politics, with a special focus on the temporal communities constituted by India's transnational entanglements in the Cold War era. One of the transcultural and transtemporal nodes the project explores is the network of film festivals through which postcolonial India 'mediated' western modernity. Addressing a blind spot in existing research on cinema history, recent scholarship (Thomas Elsaesser et al.) has pointed to film festivals as performative, intermedial and spatio-temporal networks that provide us with a unique vantage point from which to study the Cold War years as they shift between "history, memory and oblivion" (Caroline Moine). In exploring the multiply entangled temporal communities and the cross-border and cross-temporal circuits of transmission, circulation and adaptation that they in turn activate, the project proceeds on Marjike De Valck's proposition that film festivals be viewed as Latourian networks that bring together various actants or "circulating entities": cinephiles, film professionals, programmers, state officials, business executives, press, paparazzi and stars, social, business and political agendas, funding agencies and red carpet couture. The project includes case studies of India's presence (via archival traces) at post-World War II festivals divided by the Manichean logic of the Cold War, such as the Berlinale, the Leipzig Documentary Festival, the Oberhausen and Mannheim festivals and the 'bridge' festival at Karlovy Vary.
Veena Hariharan is Associate Professor of Cinema Studies at the School of Arts and Aesthetics at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. She has published extensively on documentary and non-fiction cinema, home movies and the environment. Her most recent work is located at the intersection of cinema, new media and ecology.