Coming as a proud moment for India, especially for Jamia Millia Islamia in New Delhi, three of the alumni of the AJK Mass Communication Research Centre have been invited by the USA’s Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (AMPAS) to judge the Oscars.
The three alumni– Nishtha Jain, Shirley Abraham and Amit Madheshiya are postgraduates from Jamia’s AJK MCRC, have been nominated in the list of documentary filmmakers.
AMPAS, USA has offered membership to more than 800 film professionals in 68 countries to give itself a wider and more diverse representation in terms of gender, race, and ethnicity. The Academy is world famous for its annual Academy Awards, which is now officially and commonly known as “The Oscars”.
Here’s the list of achievements and other details of all three alumni:
Nishtha Jain completed her post-graduation at the AJK MCRC and went onto specialize in Film Direction at the FTII,Pune. She has been invited to judge the Oscars after her phenomenal work in the 2012 release “Gulabi Gang” and 2007 release, “Lakshmi and Me”.
Her filmography includes the City of Photos (2004), Lakshmi and Me (2007), At my Doorstep (2009), Family Album (2011) and Gulabi Gang (2012) which won the National Award for the Best film on Social Issues in 2014.
She has won 25 international and national film awards. Apart from the Fulbright-Nehru Academic and Professional Excellence Fellowship to teach and research at the University of Texas (Austin) during 2019, Nishtha is also a recipient of several prestigious fellowships that include the Global Media maker Award (2019).
Her films are the subject of study by documentary film scholars. Many of her films such as The City of Photos, Family Album and Gulabi Gang are key texts at the MCRC for the study of still and moving images.
She is one of the six outstanding women documentary filmmakers to receive the Chicken and Egg award 2020 for her film The Golden Thread on the crisis in the jute textile industry. She has just completed her first fiction feature titled Proof (2019).
About Shirley Abraham and Amit Mahadesiya
Shirley Abraham and Amit Mahadesiya graduated from the AJK MCRC in 2006 and collaborated on a series of internationally acclaimed projects. The duo have been nominated for their documentaries “The Hour of Lynching”, which is a powerful 2019 film containing a strong content that is based on the case of Muslims being lynched by cow vigilantes.
“The Cinema Travellers”, their debut feature-length documentary which received a standing ovation at Cannes Film festival. The film has got 19 awards including the Presidents Gold Medal in India apart from the rare festival trifecta of Cannes, Toronto and New York Film Festival.
Amit Mahedesiya is also a much-acclaimed photographer. His series of 12 photographs entitled `Night Screening of Traveling Cinema in India’ received the World Press Photo Award in 2011.
Their documentary Searching for Saraswati (2018) about two villages in the grip of blind faith was commissioned by New York Times Op-Docs. In 2019, Abraham and Mahadesiya made the precise and powerful documentary titled The Hour of the Lynching about a case of Muslims being lynched by cow vigilantes. The film can be streamed on The Guardian news website.
Abraham and Mahadesiya have won numerous prestigious awards and their work has received support from Sundance Institute, The Pulitzer Centre, New York Times, MacArthur Foundation, IDFA, BBC among others.
Sharing their uncontained excitement on Twitter, Shirley Abraham wrote, “As an independent filmmaker, I know the value of the legitimacy of my voice, of a place at the table. Honoured to be invited by @TheAcademy to join as a member. Such blazing talent, our class of 2020. A world of work ahead of us and I’m so ready (sic).”
As an independent filmmaker, I know the value of the legitimacy of my voice, of a place at the table.
Honoured to be invited by @TheAcademy to join as a member.
Such blazing talent, our class of 2020. A world of work ahead of us and I’m so ready.https://t.co/IJaEzJJbcv
— Shirley Abraham (@shirley_abraham) July 1, 2020
While Amit’s tweet read, “I am incredibly honoured to be invited to join @TheAcademy ! And thrilled to be in the class of 2020 with my brilliant collaborator @shirley_abraham and many wonderful friends (sic).”
— Amit Madheshiya (@amitmadheshiya) July 1, 2020