DocFest: Amar Maibam’s ‘Highways of Life’ selected for international competition

‘Highways of Life’ is among the eight films selected for the international competition section out of 1,780 films submitted from 112 countries for the eighth edition of Liberation DocFest Bangladesh, 2020.

Manipuri documentary film ‘Highways of Life’, directed by Amar Maibam and produced by Films Division, gets official selection in the international competition section of the 8th Liberation DocFest Bangladesh, 2020.

Highways of Life’ is among the eight films selected for the international competition section out of 1,780 films submitted from 112 countries for the festival. 

The film will also have its world premiere during the festival which will be held from June 16-20. 

As announced in the official website of the festival, three more films from Manipur will also be screened in the non-competitive section. They include ‘Bloody Phanek’ directed by Sonia Nepram in category of ‘Cinema of the World’, and ‘Nupi Shabi’ directed by Haobam Paban Kumar and ‘Ima Sabitri’ directed by Bobo Khuraijam in the category of ‘Documentaries of North East India’.

Under The Longphuru Sky’ by Kivini Shohe and ‘Tales from our childhood’ by Mukul Haloi are the other films selected in the North East Category. 

Notably, ‘Highways of Life’ also recently won four awards, namely Best Non-feature Film, Best Direction, Best Cinematography and Best Editing in the 13th Manipur State Film Awards, 2020. 

The film is a detailed look at the high octane lives of Manipur’s highway truckers. It follows a group of truckers as they maneuver through the highways, putting their lives on the frontline, ferrying essential commodities to serve the people of Manipur.

A highway bus conductor turned filmmaker and cinematographer; director of the film, Amar Maibam started his career as an assistant to his late father M A Singh, a filmmaker but was drawn more into independent filmmaking because of the creative freedom to tell stories of the human experience.

Amar made his directorial debut with the documentary ‘City of Victims (2009)’ based on the extra-judicial killings in Manipur. He also worked in several documentaries and fiction serials for Doordarshan Kendra Imphal; Program production centre, Guwahati Doordarshan and recently worked as a cinematographer for a travelogue for DD Arunprabha. 

His second documentary ‘My Generous Village’ won the special jury award and best music direction award at the Manipur State Film awards 2019. 

‘NAWA- Spirit of Atey’, a documentary on the life of a 13 years old trans-boy Atey won the Best Documentary at 2nd Nagaland Film Festival 2019.

Organised by Liberation War Museum, Liberation DocFest Bangladesh is a festival dedicated to documentary cinema, seeking to highlight the struggle for liberation and human rights of people in various parts of the world and its contemporary significance. 

It seeks to uphold new forms of viewing human suffering and struggle for justice in a global perspective. The festival also focuses on breaking new grounds and on the great diversity and vitality of storytelling and creativity of the documentary genre. 

Along with ‘Highways of Life’, the seven other films selected in the international competition section are ‘No Man’s Land’ by Charlotte Muller from Belgium; ‘Our Territory’ by Mathieu Volpe from Belgium; ‘A Long Journey For The First Steps’ by Jasmina Mustafic and Ratko Stojiljkovic from Slovenia; ‘Oro Blanca’ by Gisela Carbajal Rodriguez; ‘Who is Europe?’ by Ian McDonald from UK; ‘Galena’ by Ezzatollah Parvazeh from Iran and ‘Butterflies in Berlin-Diary of a Soul split in two’ by Monica Manganelli from Italy-Germany. 

First Published:June 12, 2020, 9:28 p.m.