R.V. Ramani (b: 1957) is an award-winning filmmaker, cinematographer and a teacher, presently based in Chennai. A graduate in Physics, from Mumbai University, his passion for photography, made him choose photojournalism as a career working in Mumbai. He later graduated from the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune, specializing in Motion Picture Photography, in 1985. His first short film, Saa (1991, 16mm, 30 mts), as Director/Cinematographer, was an experiment with form and content, exploring his own rhythm, in the flux of rural and urban rhythms. Today with many independent films to his credit, he is one of the leading documentary filmmakers in India, who has established a unique style of his own, making impressionistic subjective documentaries, as innovative experiences exploring various aspects of expression. Ramani has travelled widely, his films and retrospectives have been presented in various platforms. Ramani is also an acclaimed Cinematographer, collaborating on many films with other filmmakers. He has served in the Jury at many International Film festivals and National Film Awards. He regularly gets invited to conduct filmmaking workshops, Master classes or as an Academic consultant at many Institutions in India and has been a Visiting Professor at the Ambedkar University Delhi, for 5 years, from 2015 till 2020. Presently, Ramani is working on many feature documentaries. * His latest film – ‘Oh That’s Bhanu’, has won the 68th National Film Award for Best Direction in the Non-fiction category.

RAMANI ON HIS FILMS:

“My films are based on the premise – the only issue is the need to express and to reach an expression. The inspiration for the film comes when I experience a sense of a ‘sruti’, a tuning or a feeling, a connection, for a possible film. The shot taking and its character then align to this ‘sruti’. It’s mostly to do with my own preoccupation, a sense of concern, a strong connect with the ‘subject’, to understand, to relate, to share, to seek and most importantly to discover a film and a form in the process. For me this approach gives rise to the content of the film. The impact of the filming on the ‘subject’ and the subject’s relation towards the language of cinema, my own presence in the context, I usually address within the structure of the film. I would say my process has been largely democratic primarily towards the elements of cinema. I consider it’s important that a shot has to live its full life and reveal its full potential. My process of editing has been like filtering the essence of the shooting. Most often, in the process of editing, I find the footage starts resonating and dictate a rhythm, structure and flow. This becomes the logical end of the edit. I have given great emphasis to the synch sounds in all my works. The picture and sound most often cut together. I basically work with the camera lens-generated image and avoid trying other -manipulations. Even visual effects are meant to underline rather than dazzle or to cover-up. Whenever there is a sound overlap or dissolve, I underline them, rather than disguising them. I like revealing the process and try to be transparent in my engagements. I generally avoid using voice over and narration. The accent is always on the experience. I believe, when you reach the experience of the highest order; the information contained within is the most appropriate, for the film. Though I have been working on the so called documentary format, the final experience of my films are essentially fiction.”

FILM FESTIVALS PARTICIPATION

  • ISIFF, International Short and Independent Film Festival, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  • MAMI, Mumbai Film Festival
  • Dharamshala International Film Festival
  • Mumbai International Film Festival, Mumbai.
  • New Silk Route Film Festival, China
  • Split Film Festival, Croatia
  • Documentary Film Festival, Kerala, India
  • India International Film Festival, Kolkata
  • Munich International Film Festival, Germany
  • Film South Asia, Katmandu, Nepal
  • DocumentART, International Film Festival, Germany.
  • Jeonju International Film Festival, South Korea
  • Videart International film Festival, Mexico
  • International Video Festival, Kerala, India
  • Les États Généraux du Film Documentaire, France
  • Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival, Japan
  • Kara International Film Festival, Pakistan
  • Festival Wayang, Indonesia
  • International Puppetry and Film Festival, China
  • Festival International Médias Nord Sud, Switzerland
  • Busan International Film Festival, Korea
  • Persistance Resistance International Film Festival, New Delhi, India
  • Hyderabad Film Festival, Hyderabad, India
  • SIGNS Film Festival, Kerala
  • Vibgyor Film Festival, Kerala
  • Gorakhpur Film Festival, India
  • Bangaluru International Film Festival, India
  • International Documentary and Short Film Festival Kerala, India

SPECIAL HONORS:

  • BEST DIRECTION, 68th NATIONAL FILM AWARD (2019-20), Film ‘Oh That’s Bhanu’,
  • BEST FILM – BALA KAILASAM MEMORIAL AWARD (2019), ‘Oh That’s Bhanu’, Presented by Cinema Rendezvous, for Excellence in Documentary Filmmaking
  • BEST LONG DOCUMENTARY AWARD, National, Mumbai International Film Festival MIFF2018 for the film ‘Santhal family to Mill Re-call’
  • SPECIAL JURY AWARD, New Silk Route Film Festival, China
  • RETROSPECTIVE – DocumentART, International Film Festival, Germany.
  • RETROSPECTIVE – Mumbai International Film Festival, Mumbai, India.
  • RETROSPECTIVE – Kala Ghoda Festival, Mumbai, India.
  • RETROSPECTIVE – Asia Pacific Trinalle, Australia.
  • RETROSPECTIVE – Hyderabad Film Circle.
  • RETROSPECTIVE – Persistance Resistance International Film Festival, New Delhi, India.
  • RETROSPECTIVE – Madurai Film Festival.
  • LECTURE – Presented Alamgir Memorial lecture at the Dhaka International Film Festival.
  • MASTER CLASSES, Many platforms, Institutions
  • JURY CHAIRMAN, ISIFF, International Short and Independent Film Festival, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  • JURY, IDSFFK, International Documentary Short Film Festival, Kerala
  • JURY, IIT Film Festival
  • JURY, National Film Awards
  • JURY CHAIRMAN, Kerala State Television Awards
  • FILM WORKSHOPS – GUEST FACULTY and Academic Consultant at many Film Schools and Media Courses.
  • VISITING PROFESSOR – Ambedkar University Delhi from 2015 to 2020

CINEMATOGRAPHER (Selected Short List):

  • ENIGMA OF SRINIVASA RAMANUJAN, 1987, Docu-fiction, Directed by Nandan Kudhyadi
  • IT RESTED, Documentary, 1988, Directed by Soudhamini and Co-Produced
  • AN AMERICAN IN MADRAS, +Documentary, Directed by Karan Bali
  • CHILDREN OF MINI JAPAN, Documentary, Directed by Chalam Bennurakar
  • AFTER THE GOLD, Documentary, Directed by Janaki Nair
  • JAHAJI MUSIC, Documentary, Directed by Surabhi Sharma
  • WAVE AFTER WAVES, Documentary, Directed by Leena Manimekalai.
  • ILAYUM MULLUM, Malayalam Feature Film, Directed by KP Sasi
  • MERE APPA, Short Hindi Fiction, Directed by Vishnu Mathur
  • ARAR ASAIPADAR, Documentary, Directed by Prasanna Ramaswamy
  • A SCHOOL OF MY OWN, Documentary, Directed by Gargi Sen
  • SPIRITUALISM, Documentary Series (Not completed), Directed by Vesna Lubic
  • A SCHOOL OF MY OWN, Documentary, Directed by Gargi Sen
  • NAIRASHYA, Kannada Feature, Directed by Rahat Yusufi
  • BEYOND THE WHEELS, Documentary, Directed by Rajula Shah
  • MERE APPA, Short Hindi Fiction, Directed by Vishnu Mathur
  • MATTER IS THE MATTER, Documentary, Directed by SS Kalairaani (Work in Progress)
  • CHILDREN NARRATIVES, Documentary Series, Directed by Rianne Schindel
  • WINDFALL OF GRACE, Documentary, Directed by Japna Tulsi
  • SCRIBBLES ON AKKA, Documentary, Directed by Madhushree Dutta
  • CELLULOID MAN, Documentary, Directed by Shivendra Singh Dungarpur
  • CHAAYYA, Documentary, Directed by M.R. Rajan
  • STONE IN THE RICE, Documentary (Work in progress), Directed by Indu Krishnan
  • BIHAR’S FREEDOM STRUGGLE, Documentary, Directed by Jagat Murari
  • THE DARK I MUST NOT NAME, Documentary, Directed by Shaan Khatau
  • CAMPAIGN FILM, Docu-fiction, Directed by Phani Sundar
  • (Untitled- Work in progress), Documentary, Directed by Rohini Molleti