Debjani Mukherjee

Profile of Debjani Mukherjee

Debjani Mukherjee
Ph.D. IIT Bombay). Ph.D. Topic “Indigenous Art Pedagogy: A study of Visual Narratives in the Bhil Artist Community of Bhopal, India”
M.Des. Animation Film Making (NID Ahmedabad)
B.Sc. Economics (Hons.) Math, Statistics (Calcutta University)
‘Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.’
– Henry Ford
The most exciting experience I ever had was when I discovered how filmmaking and the arts could be used as an effective and powerful medium to explore, express and even raise social concerns while working with the children of the artist communities, NGO’s and schools in India. As an artist and filmmaker, I have enjoyed exploring traditional narrative styles, indigenous art forms and objects through stop-motion animation and picture books.To further engage with my subject and to turn my passion into a sustainable social model, I cofounded ‘BOL – Community Filmmaking Platform’ in 2010 where we aimed to teach children and youth with no background in filmmaking, and co-created with them films based on indigenous and community stories through stop-motion animation, theatre and music. BOL works in collaboration and partnership with other non-profits and organizations, promoting art as an effective tool for selfdiscovery, self-expression and social change. During the past years, I have had the opportunity to participate in some interesting projects like design/author a series of 3 books called ‘Draw Your Rights’ introducing Child Rights to young adults, mentoring a series of animated documentaries on the powerful topic of gender based violence and another series on ‘Of Peaceful Days’ at Yangon Film School, Myanmar.

With the need to structure and analyse my work, and to make the learning modules grounded and local on one hand and global on the other, I chose to take a step forward in academics, to pursue a PhD. My research topic is “Indigenous Art Pedagogy: A study of Visual Narratives in the Bhil Artist Community of Bhopal, India” under the supervision of Prof. Mazhar Kamran from IIT Bombay and Prof. Disha Nawani from TISS, Mumbai. My practice based research involves working with the Bhil artist community of Madhya Pradesh, India, learning their indigenous art style from the community artists and proposing a learning structure based on my methodology of ‘experiential ethnography’. I am also in the process of co-creating an animated documentary film and picture book with Bhuri Bai, a Bhil community artist. Presently, apart from being a full-time research scholar, I am a Teaching Assistant at Industrial Design Center, Indian Institute of Technology (IDC School of Design, IIT Bombay).

Subjects taught at UID
Academic Awards and Scholarships
• 2019 EMRU TOWNSEND Awards, SAS
• FOKUS-IAWRT Scholarship 2018
• 1st Jai Chandiram Memorial Fellowship 2017
• 2014 EMRU TOWNSEND Awards, SAS
Awards and Nominations for Films
“Shabdhane” / Take Care

Nominated at Cairo International Film Festival
1st Prize Viewer’s Choice Awards in Professional Category at Anifest’
Screened at IFFI Goa

Sattala Bari / “The Seven Storied House”

Nominated at IAWRT as part of their Travelling Festival Package
3rd at CTSF Awards, Chennai
Nominated at Birds Eye View Festival, London
Nominated at 4th International Documentary & Short Film Festival of Kerala
Nominated at The 16th Golden Elephant Awards, International Children’s Film Festival

Chai Break

1st Place at FICCI Frames BAF Awards
Special Jury Mention at Monstra International Film Festival Lisbon, Portugal
Special Jury Mention at Asifa India
Nominated at Kol.Katha
1st Place at Digicon Tokyo, Japan


1st Place at Monstra International Film Festival Lisbon, Portugal
Nominated at Annecy film festival France
Nominated at Kol. Katha
Nominated at FICCI Frames BAF Awards
2nd Place at Digicon Tokyo, Japan
Nominated at Anifest

Now Where 2

This was my first short film. It was awarded ‘special mention’ by the Short Filmmakers Association for the Kolkata Film Festival
BOL Films screened at International Film Festivals/Conferences
SAS Conference, Toronto, Canada
Busan International Kids Film Festival, South Korea
INEFFEST, Indonesia
MICE, Spain
Schlingel International Kids Film Festival, Germany
Cairo International Film Festival, Egypy
Jury Member
Anifest Awards – TASI, Mumbai
Eureka – International Children’ Film Festival, Taiwan
Anifest Awards – TASI, Mumbai
Anime India Awards, Mumbai
Agafa Awards, New Delhi
BOL Workshops Conducted
We make independent community films and conduct educational workshops with children, using art and animation as an effective learning tool and develop creative modules on alternative education for school children. We have been working on the lines of simplifying communication of complex ideas, educational topics and even social issues through diverse visual media. This involves creation of illustration and comic books (on history topics), pop-up books demonstrating human body systems like digestive system, explaining motion and lever mechanisms in physics through paper engineering, interactive books and educational toys through workshops for school children.
At BOL community filmmaking sessions, we introduce the techniques of animation to community youth, usually with no background in filmmaking and enable them to communicate their indigenous stories with limited resources but effective visual communication tools of filmmaking.
Inter-Country Collaborations and Workshops
• Animation mentor at the Yangon Film School (Jan-Feb 2018) where I trained the students to produce 4 animated documentaries on gender-based violence.
• Animation mentor at the Yangon Film School (Jan-Feb 2018) where I trained the students to produce 4 animated documentaries on ‘Of Peaceful Days’.
• Conducted a sand animation workshop at the ‘Spirit of Fire’ 19th International Film Festival, 2017 at Khanty Mansisky, Russia.
• Have worked for National Innovation Foundation, India to make shorts on scientific innovations made by children explaining breakthrough concepts, ideas and prototypes. These videos are used by national seminars and help them to demonstrate, spread the word and get patents.
• Workshops at Birla Industrial and Technological Museum, 14th Nov 2012, Kolkata.
• Conducted seminars and Workshops at Cairo International Kids Film Festival, March 2012, Egypt
• Have conducted workshops on “Acting for Animators” and “Claymation” for students and faculty of Arena Animation, in 7 cities around India. Also at Roopkala Kendro, Ministry of Culture, State Government in 2011.
• Seminar at Film and Radio Dept at Jadavpur University, Kolkata in 2010.
• Workshops at Curzon and Renoir Cinemas, March 2011, London.
• Workshops at 3 primary and middle schools in March 2011, London.
• Conducted several Screenings and Community Activities, Cultural Programs for American Center, British Council, Max Mueller Bhavan, Goethe and Indonesian Embassy from 2009 onwards.
• Author of Children’s Picture Book: ‘Dotted Lines’ 2019, Katha Publication.
• An article in Cinelog 01 (IDC, IITB), called ‘Chasing the Elephant in the Living Room: Animated documentary as a social tool’.
• Co-Author of Children’s Book Series (Book 1,2,3): ‘Draw Your Rights’, Kindle Publication.
• Co-Author of Children’s Book: ‘The Little Girl and the Magic Needle’, Sampark Publication, India.
Journal Paper
• Titled ‘Animated Documentary as a Social Tool’ also presented at SAS Conference, June 2019
to be published in June 2020.
Editorial/Publication in Print
• Chapter in the Book ‘Indian Animated Media and Culture.’ compiled and curated by Dr.
Timothy Jones from Robert Morris University – School of Communication and Information Systems
(In print Sept-2020).
• Co-Author of ‘Stop-Motion Animation for Children’ (Taiwan, In print-2020).
Conferences and Seminars Participated
• Title: “Exploring Animated Documentaries as an Ethnographic tool” – Winter Workshop at Diphu, Assam, India. An Anthropologists conference, meet and workshop. On Jan, 2020.
• Title: “Animated Documentaries: Stories of Love, War and Peace” – Presentation in Nov 2019 at Chitrakatha 2019, Vijayavada, India.
• Title: Chasing the ‘Elephant in the Living Room’: Animated documentary as a social tool. Workshop and Paper Presentation at the 31st Society of Animation Studies Annual Conference – June 2019, Universidade Lusófona De Humanidades E Tecnologias, Lisboa, Portugal.
• Paper Presentation at INSIGHT 2018, NID Ahmedabad, India.
• Paper Presentation at Society of Animation Studies – June 2016, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
• Paper Publication and Virtual Presentation: “Narrative Illustrations: A comparative study of illustrations from children from different art education backgrounds”, at International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation (ICERI Nov 2015), Seville, Spain.
• Seminar at National Palace Museum – July 2015, Taipei, Taiwan.
• Paper Presentation at Society of Animation Studies – June 2014, Toronto, Canada.
• Showcased and Presented my Graphic Novel at the Kolkata Literary Festival 2012.
Other Activities
• Live sand performance with Live-music for a play called ‘Melancholia’ along with Shayok Banerjee.
• Sand art projections for a play called ‘Jam’ by Annie Zeidi.
• Storytelling and Art Therapy workshops at various Literary Festivals and Book Fairs.
Recently conducted a Workshop at the Children’s Museum, CSVM in Nov and have an upcoming workshop at the Kochi International Book Fair, on 6th Dec 2019.
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