THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: January 26, Republic Day, will find Katharina Pethke at Vizhinjam Harbour, herding a bevy of kids and toting a Canon TOS 60D and tripod. The intent: lapping up the life on the coast for a short movie which will then be screened for parents at the Goethe Zentrum Trivandrum on Saturday.
‘’The children all have been assigned jobs; one is the producer, one the cinematographer, one the director, and so on. It’s a short movie about fishermen,’’ said the young German documentary filmmaker from North Rhine-Westphalia, who is in Thiruvananthapuram for a more serious film project of her own.
The one-day project with children - all aged between 12 and 16 - is in fact part of a film workshop she led for them at Goethe Zentrum. Kerala never ceases to amaze Katharina, who first thought that the betel juice-red on the lips of fishermen at Vizhinjam was blood!
Like many foreigners, Katharina got acquainted with India through Yoga. Last April, she spent two weeks at Neyyar Dam studying it. She even acquired a ‘Hindu’ name in the process - Kamala.
‘’I knew I had to come back. I was so overwhelmed by the colours, the smells,’’ she said, her eyes twinkling merrily. She was back in December, this time armed with a small scholarship for making a movie on Kerala. It won’t be a ‘touristy video,’ she promises.
‘’It will be about my experiences. I think I’ll call it ‘Blind Spots’ or ‘Blind Spot.’ Everything I’ve seen, I can only get a small grasp of what India, Kerala, really is all about. There are so many blind spots.’’
Katharina began her career as a journalist, writing short pieces on culture for two Hamburg papers. She then got hooked to photography and the step to movie-making was natural for her. In 2011, she brought out ‘Louisa,’ a biographical sketch on her younger sister, who is visually impaired.
‘’I began shooting for it in 2008, and completed it in 2011,’’ she said. Katharina believes documentary filmmaking is about being receptive to things. ‘’I learn everytime. With every project I learn.’’ She plans to spend one more month in Kerala working on her project.