Filmmaker Aashish Kumar, an associate professor in the Department of Radio, Television, Film, will host a private screening of his new documentary, “Software from Hard Rocks,” tonight at COFFEED, 37-18 Northern Blvd. in Long Island City at 8 pm. It is the first time the film will be seen in the United States; it premiered in India in July.
The film is an intimate look at how globalization and the post-1990s global tech boom affected the lives of people in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad. “The film provides a space for the many voices that are engaged in a contest to define what modern Indian cities should represent,” said Professor Kumar. “It is intended as a provocative entry point for every global citizen, urban activist, and city planner to engage in vibrant discussion about how to lay bare our collective histories in a world threatening to erase and flatten them.”
Prof. Kumar won a Fulbright Fellowship in 2008, which enabled him to travel to Hyderabad to teach documentary film at the University of Hyderabad and complete most of the filming for “Software from Hard Rocks,” which has now been submitted for consideration at film festivals this fall.
He has been recognized for several films championing grassroots advocacy, including “The Community I Serve,” which called for the humane treatment of those with mental illnesses by law enforcement. It won “Best of Festival” and the “Award of Excellence” at the 2009 Festival of Media Arts by the Broadcast Education Association, and honorable mention a the Columbus International Film and Video Festival.
At Hofstra, his work at the Lawrence Herbert School of Communication is focused on engaging media production students in community advocacy issues. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in documentary, advocacy videos, single and multi-camera production, digital post-production, and television studies.