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A mobile TV app for Indian diaspora

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Indian diaspora

Kochi: Come April and the Indian diaspora across the world will have movie infotainment in their hands via an easy-to-use app, Moviestaan TV, India’s first exclusive mobile TV. Announcing this here in Kochi, the promoters of the novel concept said initially the mobile channel will have news and content on Malayalam movies, which will be spread in phases into Bollywood,  Tamil Telugu and Kannada movies as well. In a function held here, Cine director Sibi Malayil released the logo of Moviestaan TV, which will be officially launched on April 14, 2016.

“The unique app, which is free, will cover the latest news from shooting locations, reports, trailers, songs and new launches. It will serve as a platform for launching short films too. Moviestaan TV will analyze, review and bring forth unknown facts, both ‘live’ and ‘video on demand’ formats. The endeavor is to pack in everything a movie lover would be interested in and want to know,” said Ram Mohan Nair, the Founder, and CEO, OM Ventures, promoters of Moviestaan TV.

This article was first published at newindianexpress.com

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Facebook Acquires the Anonymous Teenage Polling App ‘tbh’

An official statement from Facebook said: "tbh and Facebook share a common goal -- of building community and enabling people to share in ways that bring us closer together"

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tbh
Facebook brings the developers of 'tbh' app to share and expand a common goal of making stronger communities. Pixabay

San Francisco, October 17, 2017 : Facebook has acquired ‘tbh’, an anonymous polling app for teenagers which has over 5 million downloads and 2.5 million daily active users in the US.

The app lets teenagers anonymously answer kind-hearted, multiple-choice questions about friends, who then receive the poll results as compliments, TechCrunch reported on Tuesday.

“When we set out to build tbh, we wanted to create a community that made us feel happier and more confident about ourselves. We felt that people craved genuine and positive interactions in their online experiences,” ‘tbh’ said in a statement.

“Over the last few weeks, over 5 million people have downloaded tbh and sent over a billion messages. More importantly, we’ve been inspired by the countless stories where tbh helped people recover from depression and form better relationships with friends,” it read.

ALSO READ How Facebook is Helping Its Users Fight Identity Theft

Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed but according to TechCrunch, it is likely to be somewhere around less than $100 million and will not require regulatory approval.

“As part of the deal, tbh’s four co-creators — Bier, Erik Hazzard, Kyle Zaragoza and Nicolas Ducdodon — will join Facebook’s Menlo Park headquarters while continuing to grow their app,” the report added.

“When we met with Facebook, we realised that we shared many of the same core values about connecting people through positive interactions. Most of all, we were compelled by the ways they could help us realise tbh’s vision and bring it to more people,” ‘tbh’ said.

In a statement to TechCrunch, Facebook said: “tbh and Facebook share a common goal — of building community and enabling people to share in ways that bring us closer together”. (IANS)

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“The Restorers” : Kenyan Girls Use Technology to Combat Female Genital Mutilation

5 Kenyan Girls and Dorcas Owinoh, the team’s mentor have together created an app called i-Cut, which connects girls at risk of FGM with rescue agents and offers support for those who have already been cut

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  • They have created an app called i-Cut which connects girls at risk of FGM with rescue agents and offers support for those who have already been cut
  • The pain of having your clitoris cut just because someone wants to have you go through a rite of passage

“It’s still fresh in my mind, the scene of female genital mutilation,” said Purity Achieng, a 17-year-old from Kenya.

Achieng was speaking on stage in the finals of the Technovation Challenge World Pitch Summit, a competition that invites girls from around the world to come up with tech solutions to local community problems. Since it began in 2009, 15,000 girls from more than 100 countries have participated in the competition.

Achieng and her team of four other Kenyan teen girls call themselves “The Restorers.” They are taking on Female Genital Mutilation or FGM. They have created an app, called i-Cut, which connects girls at risk of FGM with rescue agents and offers support for those who have already been cut. It also provides information for anyone seeking to learn more about the practice.

ALSO READ: In Malawi, a Kenyan NGO trains Girls in Self Defense to counter Sexual Abuse

“The pain of having your clitoris cut just because someone wants to have you go through a ‘rite of passage,’” said Achieng, during her pitch at the competition. “It’s painful and no one wants to listen to you. You cry and there you are, almost dying but nobody is caring about that.”

At least 200 million girls and women have undergone female genital mutilation or FGM in 30 countries, reports UNICEF and 44 million are girls 14 and younger. The practice involves cutting out all or part of a woman’s clitoris, which is said to eliminate almost completely a woman’s sexual pleasure, in hopes of ensuring her virginity and keeping her faithful in marriage.

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The Kenyan girls in this competition have not experienced FGM firsthand, as their tribe does not practice it, but they have friends who have. One of Achieng’s best friends was forced to drop out of school and into an early marriage at 15 after FGM, which greatly affected Achieng.

“I think for teenagers to be able to identify problems around them and provide a solution, that is really inspiring,” said Dorcas Owinoh, the team’s mentor, who works as a community manager at LakeHub, a technology innovation hub in Kisumu, Kenya. It was Owinoh who brought the idea of the Technovation Challenge to the team.

ALSO READ: Kenyan girls pedal towards a better future

Achieng said it was her friend dropping out of school after FGM that inspired the team to create the app.

Other teams in the international event came from Armenia, Kazakhstan, Canada, Cambodia, the U.S. and other countries. The Restorers were the only team who qualified from the African continent.

“It’s always better when the people who face the problems, come up with their own solutions because they’re the most organic,” said Tara Chklovski, founder, and CEO of Iridescent, the nonprofit behind Technovation.

Though the i-Cut app has the potential to save lives, it has not been embraced by all Kenyans. “One village elder drove six hours to their school to protest the app because, according to him, that’s an African culture and the girls are being, according to him, Westernized,” Owinoh said.

The man had learned of the app after local media reported of the girl’s acceptance into Technovation. Owinoh said school leaders and teachers remained calm, spoke with him, and then asked him to leave.

ALSO READ: Sexual Exploitation of Women and Girls in Kenya in Return for Food

Technovation comes at a time when women in technology are facing blowback, not just in Kenya, but even at the Google headquarters where the competition was held. A Google employee was recently fired after writing a memo positing that women are biologically inferior to men in regards to working in technology.

“I know the journey won’t always be easy but to the girls who dream of being an engineer or an entrepreneur and who dream of creating amazing things, I want you to know that there’s a place for you in this industry, there’s a place for you at Google—don’t let anyone tell you otherwise,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai told the girls.

The Restorers did not win the Technovation Challenge, but they will continue their fight against FGM and hope to get i-Cut into the Google Play Store soon. (VOA)

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Era of the 1980s Filmmaking was about bringing a change and make it happen: Veteran filmmaker Govind Nihalani

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Veteran filmmaker Govind Nihalani, Twitter (FTTI)

New Delhi, May 20, 2017: Veteran filmmaker Govind Nihalani on Saturday said the era of the 1980s was about bringing a change and make it happen in reaction to mainstream cinema. During that period, people witnessed movies from his generation of filmmakers including Satyajit Ray and Mrinal Sen.

At a time when films like “Qurbani”, “Alibaba Aur 40 Chor”, “Karz” and “Dostana” were ruling the box office with heavy duty star cast, glamour, dance and music, Nihalani says a movement of what was called “new cinema or parallel cinema” started to prove that such elements were not necessary to make a film work.

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“When you ask how the films were made at that time… we had this movement going of new cinema or parallel cinema. That movement essentially started as a reaction to mainstream cinema,” Nihalani said here, during a panel discussion at the Habitat Film Festival.

“It brought out a thought that it was not necessary that you follow a pattern which was established by what we call now mainstream cinema. Which means you must have presence of stars, music, dance, there should be a happy ending… that was very important and that good wins over evil all the time,” he added.

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The 76-year-old and the recipient of six National Film Awards said the filmmakers on the flip side proved that the glamour quotient was not necessary and that films that connect people can also be appreciated and work.

“You can make films that connect with the people. Other elements which connect you with the audience, which requires more human empathy, concern with anything other than being happy a the end of it all… The fact that you can make the difference. You can make the change happen.

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 “When we started making films and the young generation that came in, they came with the idea that you can change something and that change is possible. At the core of it that was the thought. The stories that we chose, it had no stars, glamorous locations… whole thing was about the change and that we make it happen. Stories were chosen in that mood,” he added.

The other panellists include director Buddhadeb Dasgupta and filmmaker Avinash Das.

The Habitat Film Festival is being held until May 28 at the India Habitat Centre.

Other movies which are yet to be screened here include “East is East”, “Maroon”, “Trapped”, “Cholai”, “Sadgati”, “Mukti Bhawan”, “Mantra”, “Aakrosh”, “Veeram”, “Ardh Satya” and “Haraamkhor”. (IANS)