Saturday October 20, 2018

British filmmaker zooms camera on blind Indian chess players

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New Delhi: The world of visually challenged but skilled and calculative chess players in India enraptured Britain based sociologist and filmmaker Ian McDonald to such an extent that he captured their lesser known lives in his documentary “Algorithms”, releasing across India on Friday.

“Blindness is not so much a disability, just an alternative way of existence. It is a more humane world,” McDonald told IANS in a telephonic interview from Chennai, where a special screening of the film was held with an audio-described theatrical preview.McDonald, who was himself a chess player, said the idea for the film was born out of “sheer curiosity”.

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“I came across a newspaper report, which talked about blind children playing chess. I carried the newspaper report for two years and we did more research, and we contacted Charudatta Jadhav, the general secretary of the All India Chess Federation for the Blind.
“He invited us to the national blind chess championship in Mumbai in January 2009 where I saw hundreds of blind and visually impaired chess players playing. That’s why I thought to make a film on this subject,” he said.

The film, whose shooting began in 2009, culminated over a period of three years, said McDonald.

“January 2009 was the first shoot and then we invested three years into it. The last shoot was in January 2012. After three years, 250 hours of footage, we have a final product, which is a 100-minute film,” he added.

McDonald also stated that “Algorithms”, which was first premiered in India at the International Film Festival in Goa in 2012, is “very much an Indian film”.

“We took it to international festivals. We got selected in 30. It picked up quite a few awards and now we are bringing it to India again,” he said of the movie, which is being released in theaters across Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kochi by PVR Director’s Rare.

Talking about his experiences with the blind chess players while shooting the film, McDonald said: “I don’t direct, I don’t take interviews, I just capture the events as they unfold. I spend enough time with my subjects so that I can capture the drama. Even though they are aware of my presence, they are less conscious of the camera. They have a realistic response.”

As a filmmaker, McDonald believes he is “dependent” on technology, but the blind people are not.

“I’d follow them in hotel rooms, which would be poorly lit. And I needed lights for the shoots. To that, they would say, ‘That’s your problem, Ian. We don’t need light, you are the disabled one’,” he said.

“As a filmmaker, I am dependent on technology, but they are not. This was a revelatory moment. Of course it is a disability. We use technology to empower us, to overcome our inabilities. If the same technology would be used for the blind people, then I don’t see how they can’t participate in society,” he added.

(IANS)

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Elon Musk Apologises to UK Diver for Calling Him a ‘Pedo’

He also said that he would like to see "peace, quiet and execution" at the electric car company

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Musk faces lawsuits for 'paedo' remark, Tesla tweet. (Wikimedia Commons)

Bowing to pressure from investors amid falling Tesla stock, Elon Musk on Wednesday apologised to famed British cave explorer Vern Unsworth for calling him a “pedo” after he saved 12 boys and their coach who were trapped in a cave in Thailand.

Unsworth had dismissed the “mini-submarine” idea from Musk to save the boys, called it a “PR stunt” to which, Musk reacted in a bizarre way.

“Nonetheless, his actions against me do not justify my actions against him, and for that I apologise to Mr Unsworth and to the companies I represent as leader. The fault is mine and mine alone,” Musk tweeted.

“My words were spoken in anger after Mr Unsworth said several untruths and suggested I engage in a sexual act with the mini-sub, which had been built as an act of kindness and according to specifications from the dive team leader,” the Tesla CEO further tweeted to a user.

Earlier, Musk’s Twitter posts sparked backlash from shareholders and Silicon Valley analysts, who called his behaviour “immature and an impediment to the car company’s success”, The Guardian reported.

The company saw “the end of carbon as essential” but, was “frustrated that the real steps towards this are being overshadowed and undermined by this saga,” James Anderson, a partner at Baillie Gifford, Tesla’s fourth-largest shareholder, was quoted as saying.

Elon Musk
Elon Musk apologised to famed British cave explorer Vern Unsworth for calling him a “pedo”

Anderson said he agreed with some of Musk’s past remarks calling out critical analysts, “but this is different. We are in contact with the company and we are hopeful that it is being taken with due seriousness.”

He also said that he would like to see “peace, quiet and execution” at the electric car company.

If Musk’s behaviour did not change, “it could have a dramatic negative impact on the company. It has to start with an apology,” Gene Munster, Head of research at Loup Ventures, a venture capital firm, was quoted as saying.

Twelve boys and their football coach were rescued from the Tham Luang cave complex last week by an international team after a week-long intense drama.

Musk has faced increasing scrutiny in the past few months over his bizarre tirades on Twitter and his aggressive attacks on journalists, regulators and other critics.

Also read- Why Elon Musk has Suddenly Gone Ballistic on Twitter

The scandals come amid continuing complaints about workplace safety and a struggle to meet production goals at Tesla. (IANS)