With the recent success of the Sambhavna Documentary at the 2012 West Midlands Human Rights Film Festival, we caught up with director Joe Malone to find out more. Joe Malone and Lotte Hardman, medical students from the University of Liverpool filmed the documentary during their trip to Bhopal in 2010.
1) Glad to hear the screening in Birmingham was such a success- how was it for you? How did you get your documentary included in the West Midlands Human Rights Film Festival?
The screening in Birmingham was great fun, I had submitted the film to the Birminham International Film Society a few months ago and they felt it was such an important issue they set aside a slot to screen it specially on the Saturday with a few other Human Rights shorts curated by a great film programmer called Kino10. We had about 40 people watching which was a great turn out considering it was paid entry for a 20 minute documentary. Really humbled to be shown at the festival alongside high profile films such as 5 Broken Cameras, Putin’s Kiss and Nostalgia for the Light.
2) Why did you decide to volunteer in Bhopal? How did you find it whilst you were there?
We first heard about Bhopal through two people: Lotte’s grandmother, who is a watercolour artist, and an ex-colleague of my father, Laurie Flynn, who made the first UK documentary about the disaster. He is a trustee of the Bhopal Medical Appeal and so put us in touch. A few conversations later and we were off to Sambhavna Clinic for 6 weeks as part of our medical degrees to learn about the healthcare in this part of India.
3) Can you briefly describe your experiences in Bhopal for us? What did you do?
We helped in the General Medical, Paediatric, Gynaecology, Ayuvedic, Panchakarma and Yoga clinics. We wrote a report about the situation in Bhopal for the Institute of Medical Ethics and made this short 20 minute documentary in conjunction with the BMA.
4) Do you any plans to distribute the film more widely?
It’s already been accepted to the West Midlands Human Rights Film Festival, New Horizons Film Festival in Iran, Long Shot Film Festival in Warrington and is due to be screened on the Community Channel. Imperial College have also adopted it as a teaching research in the global health BSc and short course curriculum’s. We’re still waiting on lots of other festivals and universities.
5) What can others do who may be inspired by your film?
Visit Bhopal! Volunteer for Chingari Trust or Sambhavna Clinic. It is an incredible city in-spite of the ongoing tragedy and the citizens are truly warm, welcoming and inspirational people. Next best thing get involved in fundraising or awareness raising in the UK! Every little bit of work helps!