61 minutes | Documentary | Anandana Kapur
In Bihar, where “Sarkar mera bada bhai hai…” (The government is my older brother) is the righteous response to why one may illegally acquire electricity connections or not pay bills, a team of academics work on the ground to activate RLSS—the Revenue Linked Supply Scheme—and are met with various degrees of opposition and success. The film explores the complex relationships people have with the State through the lens of electricity. Is it a right? Or is it a commodity? In a country with limited resources, can it be a social right if the government needs funds to keep the grid functional? And if so, can the normalization of non-payment of bills be reversed? Is it possible to create an ideal citizenry?
Anandana Kapur is an award winning filmmaker and co-founder of CINEMAD, India. Previously an executive producer for nonfiction programming on TV, she has worked on information and video campaigns for UNICEF, IYF and IEF among others. Her films have received critical acclaim globally and are taught in courses on Gender Justice, Social Development and Innovation. Anandana also teaches courses on Documentary Practice and Researching Media & Culture. Her writings on cinema and popular culture have been published in anthologies and journals. Anandana is also a recipient of the Fulbright-Nehru Fellowship and the Shastri India Canadian Institute Fellowship for her work on interactive documentary practice. When not filming, she photographs, collects stories, sketches and finds creative excuses to dance.
Subhash Bhanwala is a celebrated video editor and tech geek. He leads an omnipresent digital life. In one of his avatars he makes film for corporates and brands. His past work has been on Sesame Street, Save the Children, UNDP, TERI, Delhi Daredevils, GMR, Philips, ESPN, Nokia Pepsi, NDTV, Airtel, Apollo Munich and NatGeo. He has also contributed to the visual design of non-fiction narratives on development, culture and entrepreneurship. His interests are in virtual reality and new media.
Michael Greenstone is the Milton Friedman Distinguished Service Professor in Economics, the College and the Harris School, as well as the Director of the Tata Centre for Development at UChicago (TCD), the Becker Friedman Institute for Economics, and the interdisciplinary Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago. He previously served as the Chief Economist for President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, where he co-led the development of the United States Government’s social cost of carbon. Greenstone also directed The Hamilton Project, which studies policies to promote economic growth, and has since joined its Advisory Council. He is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a fellow of the Econometric Society, and a former editor of the Journal of Political Economy. Before coming to the University of Chicago, Greenstone was the 3M Professor of Environmental Economics at MIT.
Greenstone’s research, which has influenced policy globally, is largely focused on uncovering the benefits and costs of environmental quality and society’s energy choices. His current work is particularly focused on testing innovative ways to increase energy access and improve the efficiency of environmental regulations around the world. Additionally, he is producing empirically grounded estimates of the local and global impacts of climate change as a co-director of the Climate Impact Lab. He also created the Air Quality Life Index that provides a measure of the gain in life expectancy communities would experience if their particulates air pollution concentrations are brought into compliance with global or national standards.
Greenstone received a Ph.D. in economics from Princeton University and a BA in economics with High Honors from Swarthmore College.
Anant Sudarshan is the Executive Director (South Asia) for the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago. He is also a Senior Research Associate at the Department of Economics, University of Chicago. Prior to working at EPIC, Anant was the Giorgio Ruffolo Post-doctoral Fellow in the Sustainability Science Program at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. He received his PhD in Management Science and Engineering from Stanford University and he holds undergraduate and masters degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (Delhi) and Stanford University respectively. Anant works at the intersection of environmental economics and engineering, with on-going research on a variety of areas including environmental regulation, air-pollution, climate change, energy efficiency, electricity and renewable energy. His present work includes collaboration with India’s Ministry for Environment and Forests to design and evaluate a pilot emissions trading program to regulate industrial air pollution. He is also working with the Government of Bihar on electricity distribution reforms designed to reduce losses and enhance the supply of power.
Sam Ori is the Executive Director at Tata Centre for Development (TCD), the Energy Policy Institute at UChicago (EPIC), and the Becker Friedman Institute for Economics. From 2013 to 2015, he served as Executive Vice President at Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE), a Washington, DC-based organization dedicated to reducing American oil dependence in order to enhance economic and national security. From 2007 to 2013, Sam led SAFE’s policy work on a variety of topics, ranging from global oil and natural gas markets to transportation technology. Prior to joining SAFE, Sam spent four years working in the federal government at the Broadcasting Board of Governors and Department of State, including at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, India.
Jayakrishna Kayalakal is an award wining advertising Creative Director and filmmaker. He consults on brands and communication and makes advertising films. Has lead creative teams in India and in the SAARC region on global brands. His interests are in GUI design, cultural anthropology and language. His films and brand campaigns have won over 16 international awards.
Manoranjan Jena has been a cinematographer since 16 years and he has worked on multiple formats including mobile, drone and 360 video. Has been the DOP for broadcasters including NatGeo, Discovery, ETV and Doordarshan. Has also been the cameraperson for several documentaries on human rights, history and public health. His interests lie in folk music and travel.
Umar Ahmad is a sound recordist and cameraperson. He has worked on multiple formats including news, sports and live broadcasts. Self-taught, he believes that practice is the means to master the craft of cinema.
Madurai International Documentary and Film Festival
Better Cities Film Festival 2020
Indian Film Festival Stuttgart
India International Center Showcase
Chennai International Documentary and Short Film Festival
Kriti Film Club @ The India Habitat Centre
Woodpecker International Film Festival
Global Indian Film Festival
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This film was produced in partnership with
Lighting Up Bihar
Lighting Up Bihar is a project of The Tata Centre for Development at UChicago and Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago India (EPIC India) that seeks to expand energy access and sustainability by incentivizing responsible consumption behaviors.
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