The festival began on October 21 and it featured around 140 films in various categories including Competition, Focus, Cinema of Performance, Cinema of Resistance and Artists Cinema. The festival also had seminars and open forums.
The film tells the story of Laibi, a lady auto driver based in conflict torn Imphal city. In order to support an ailing husband and education of her two sons, she took up this profession defying a traditional society. Starting off as a daily wage labour in a brick farm where she earn only 60 rupees for loading 1000 bricks, she now has to face the discrimination of the passengers who shun lady auto drivers.
The film also portrays how daily wage earner like Laibi’s livelihood is severely affected by the frequent bandhs in Manipur. In the year 2014 itself, there were three economic blockades which led to closure of the highways for 19 days. And in the same year, there were 83 bandhs which affected 165 days.
Meena Longjam has done her Masters in Communication from the prestigious Madras Christian College and she has done her dissertation on eminent filmmaker Aribam Syam Sharma’s life and films. Since 2013 she has been working with national broadcaster Doordarshan Imphal as Scriptwriter, Narrator and Interviewer on contract basis.
Other than giving talks on a number of national and international seminars related to media, she has attended a number of film workshops. Auto Driver was a part of Project Development Workshop organized by Documentor, Kolkata in association with TC Foundation Manipur and mentored by international award winning filmmakers.
In November, Auto driver will be screened at 12th Jeevika: Asian Livelihood festival in New Delhi and at 21st Kolkata International film festival in the competition section.
Auto driver has been co-produced by Ourvillage Films and Post-Production fund has been supported by L. Ibomcha Singh (MLA), Sanmati Traders, Lt. Col Joyraj Chungkam, Sangeeta, Kishalaya Namaram, Moirangthem Nagendra and Longjam Bedana.