In God’s Land (Pankaj Rishi Kumar, 72 min., 2012)
Screening of the film, In God’s Land, followed by a Q&A with filmmaker Pankaj Rishi Kumar. Set in India, the mythical birth of their village God Sudalai Swami unfolds a village’s unique journey to fight oppression of the Vanamamalai Temple. Now that the clergy owns the land, the settlers are reduced to being tenant farmers and must make way for redevelopment after the land is sold off for a Special Economic Zone (SEZ). A dispute over ‘god’s land’ begins. Using animation to recount the history of the land, the film satirizes the exploitation perpetuated by religion and class distinction and looks at land within the larger issue of development, forcing us to recognize the totalitarian attitude of the ideals of development, ostensibly to bring economic prosperity but rarely a benefit to real users.