Rat-hole mining in Jaiñtia Hills to feature in film festival at NEHU

Shillong, Feb 27: A documentary film on rat-hole mining in Meghalaya that won awards at the Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF) will be screened at the festival here from Wednesday to Friday.

The documentary film “Fireflies in the Abyss,” related to rat-hole coal mining in Jaiñtia Hills of Meghalaya will be shown along with some other fine cinematic work from countries like Romania, the UK and Australia in the festival.

The festival is being organized by the department of journalism and mass communication of North Eastern Hill University (NEHU) and the Films Division of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting at the auditorium of NEHU old guesthouse.

Films Division senior branch manager Sumay Mukherjee told reporters today that altogether 19 films that won awards at the Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF) would be screened along with “Fireflies in the Abyss,” and “Little Terrorist.”

Little Terrorist, which was nominated for Oscar award in 2005, will be also screened also in festival. Little Terrorist,  is the story of a 12-year-old Pakistani Muslim boy who crosses the minefield-strewn border and enters India by mistake. A Hindu schoolteacher finds him and has to figure out how to hide the boy from Indian soldiers looking for a “terrorist”. Fireflies in the Abyss, directed by Chandrasekhar Reddy, tells about rat-hole mining in the Jaintia hills where in the hostile pits, men and boys risk their lives every day to scratch coal out of hard rock, burrowing into narrow tunnels, armed with nothing more than a pickaxe and a torch.

Mukherjee said the objective of the festival is to encourage students, especially budding filmmakers, from the region

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