Aparna Sharma

documentary filmmaker

At the Saari Residence I will be editing an art documentary about indigenous weaving in India’s northeastern state of Assam. Weaving in Assam has historically been a women’s activity. However, since colonial times the practice has been declining. In my documentary, When Women Weave, I follow a weaver’s collective, Tezpur District Mahila Samiti (TDMS). TDMS works to preserve weaving by training and supporting indigenous women weavers. When Women Weave documents the methods, processes, motifs and meanings of indigenous weaving, and it explores the significance of weaving in the weavers’ everyday lives. When Women Weave has been shot over two years spanning the seasons of winter and monsoon. At the Saari residence I will experiment with editing forms to develop a structure for the film that builds on the aesthetic qualities of the weaving practices I have documented. I will also develop a short film on Finnish weaving that will accompany When Women Weave.

Aparna Sharma is a documentary filmmaker and theorist. Her films document narratives that are overlooked in the mainstream imagination of India. She is presently working in India’s northeastern region, documenting cultural practices of indigenous communities. Aparna Sharma’s films combine techniques of observational cinema with montage practice. As a film theorist she is committed to writing about cinema practices that fall outside mainstream Hindi cinema. Her book-length study, Documentary Films in India: Critical Aesthetics at Work that explores non-canonical documentary practices from India has recently been released by Palgrave Macmillan, UK. Aparna Sharma works as Assistant Professor at the Dept. of World Arts and Cultures/Dance, UCLA.