Hands On – Documentary Film Workshop

with Richa Hushing & Rrivu Laha from 14th Nov to 18th Dec 2022 @ Rann of Kutch


This year’s winter workshop, over 5 weeks, is located in Rann of Kutch – in the vast salt marshes of the Great Rann in the Thar desert – one of the largest in the world; spanning the border between India and Pakistan. Alongside the Banni Grasslands of the Little Rann. 

A basic orientation of documentary filmmaking with a special focus on the ethnographic, experimental and observational film form; understanding the cinematics and improving command over narrative construction, a practice of videography and editing will be a part of the workshop, so as to enable the participant to make his/her own short film. However, filmmaking will be dealt with clearly as an application (of one’s understanding and experience of the land). The workshop will focus equally on exploring the landscape and developing an understanding of the cultural ecology of Rann of Kutch, connecting with its people, experiencing the space and time, and discovering their tangible and intangible heritage. 

Like most AVFI workshops, this one too is anchored in the principle of 3S : Self – Surrounding – Story. At the intersection of the self and surrounding, what are the emerging stories? We will work towards building up cinematic narratives that spring from an authentic interaction of the self with the surrounding.

Challenging questions like the purpose of filmmaking or the position of the filmmaker, for instance, being an insider or an outsider, the perks of the position, the point of entry or the line of enquiry, the field of access, the sensitivity or the dynamism while approaching the subject – will all be a part of the workshop. The workshop thus will have an approach of personal and reflective anthropology – while working out practical processes of filmmaking. 

Bhuj, Dholavira, Dhro, Lakhpat Border and adjoining areas will be explored for fieldwork for the workshop, while the village of Hodko will be our base camp. 

Richa Hushing and Rrivu Laha, both documentary filmmakers, will be the directors of the workshop – aided by scholars and subject experts joining the workshop for special lectures and field visits. 

The 35 day workshop (14 Nov to 18 Dec 2022) will be conducted broadly in 5 units.

  1. Introduction – 3 Days
  2. Landscape Orientation + Basic Film Orientation – 9 days 
  3. Developing Ideas + Forming groups + Pitching for films – 9 days 
  4. Production – 5 days
  5. Post Production – 9 days

Production of short films and ancillary media artifacts thematically bound will be the output – ready for exhibition at the culmination of the workshop. 


For aspiring, early career or mid career filmmakers, film technicians, artists, social scientists, anthropologists, ethnographers, journalists, media professionals, photographers, travel and tourism professionals, architects, ecologists, conservationists interested in the medium of film, creative writers, storytellers and explorers of all kinds. 

It is an intermediate level workshop – open for participants from all over India and abroad.

A minimum of 20 participants necessary for the workshop. 


For Indians: ₹51000 ; For International Applicants: $1000 

*Fee includes accommodation and meals – for 35 days of workshop tenure. 

(Accommodation will be on a sharing basis – 3 to 4 people in one room in traditional Bhungas of Kutch. Basic breakfast, lunch and dinner will be available whenever at the basecamp and on organised landscape tour.) 



Please fill the application form and write the statement of purpose thoughtfully. Selection will be on strength of application i.e on the basis of merit and motivation to join the workshop. Applications will be processed within 4 days of receipt. Selected participants will be notified within a week after receiving application. Fee payment is expected within a week of selection. Participation will be confirmed upon verification of payment. 

We request early applications as early selection can enable better planning of logistics for the participants. 


We believe the equipment you have is the best equipment to make your film with. As you are familiar with your own equipment, you can learn to utilize it better for your own film. However, it is not mandatory to have your own equipment to participate in this workshop. 

In case you do have any piece, like a camera or a tripod or any grips or an editing laptop or any recorders, we encourage you to bring it along. Participants will be making films in groups, so your equipment will be utilized for your own group.  We hope the groups to be self-sufficient in terms of basic equipment like a camera, a tripod and a recorder.

From our side we will provide for what is missing in each group.


Richa Hushing & Rrivu Laha are documentary filmmakers and co-directors of Auroville Film Institute. While Rrivu works as a director-cinematographer, Richa’s films are often character portraits; and portraits of indigenous communities in liminal states. 

‘Nicobar, a long way…’  a documentary observing Nicobarese identity and resilience in wake of Tsunami – is one of their latest works, winning accolades in anthropological and environmental film festivals (Special Mention at the Millennium Film Festival, Belgium in 2017; Pêcheurs du monde, Lorient, France, 2018; Film South Asia, Kathmandu, Nepal, 2017; Viscult – The festival of Visual Culture, Joensuu, Finland, 2017; World Film Festival, Tartu, Estonia, 2017; Royal Anthropological Film Festival, Bristol, 2017; Ethnografilm Festival, Paris, 2017; Smaragdni Eco Film Festival, Hrvatska Kostajnica, Croatia, 2017 and International Documentary and Short Film Festival of Kerala, India, 2016)

Their previous works have also won international accolades like – Rrivu’s debut film ‘Amchi Kasauti (2005) winning best documentary at Jeevika film festival of livelihoods; best documentary at IBDA Dubai; selected in Mumbai International film festival; Tehran International Film Festival. His ‘Vasudev’ -the singing minstrels of Maharashtra won special jury mention at Youth New Wave Film Festival, Sri Lanka, 2008. Richa’s debut film, ‘Love Song…’ (2008) was selected at the International documentary and Short Film Festival of Kerala, Bangalore Queer Film Festival; Her 2013 film ‘Devrai’ on the sacred groves of Maharashtra won the best documentary award at the Maharasthra State Film Awards. Rrivu’s short ‘Dhananjay Kulkarni ‘Chandragupt’ (2009) and Richa’s ‘Director Painter Shri Baburao Laad’ both were selected to be a part of  Retrospective of Indian Documentaries at Iran International Film Festival in 2013, among other selections.  

After a decade-long practice based in Mumbai, in 2017 Richa and Rrivu moved to Auroville, an international township in South India. In Auroville, they co-founded the Auroville Film Institute, working as co-directors and curriculum designers – offering cinema-centric learning journeys. Films produced under their mentorship have have been selected in several international film festivals, latest being the Mumbai International Film Festival where they showcased a package of 11 student films from 3 workshop series : ‘I See Ghosts’ focusing on cinema and psyche; ‘Lockdown-Unlock’ chronicling the pandemic times; and the ‘Ladakh Documentary Filmmaking Workshop’ anchored in the principles of deep ecology. 

Gopi Desai, Alumni of FTII (Film and television Institute of India) and the NSD (National School of Drama), is an acclaimed actress and Director. She is a member of the Sangeet Natak Academy and has acted in many plays. She has made several documentaries and has assisted many directors like Jahnu Barua, Ketan Mehta, Mahesh Bhatt and Ramesh Sippy among others. ‘Mujhse Dosti Karoge?’ her debut feature is a masterpiece of Indian cinema.


Certificate of participation will be issued jointly by Auroville Film Institute and Omniverse. 90% attendance is compulsory to get a certificate.  


For further details and queries if any, reach out to +91 9969879319 / support_filminstitute@auroville.org.in


*Please note that fees once paid will not be refunded unless the workshop itself has to be cancelled due to emergencies like COVID, riots or lockdown. In case the workshop is cancelled, a refund will be organised, otherwise not. 

*Curriculum Design, Workshop Direction and Faculty is provided by Auroville Film Institute. Strategic Partner : Omniverse.

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