Coming as a proud moment for India, especially for New Delhi based Jamia Millia Islamia, three of its alumni from AJK Mass Communication Research Centre have been invited by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (AMPAS) in USA to judge the Oscars. All the three alumni – Nishtha Jain, Shirley Abraham and Amit Madheshiya are postgraduates from Jamia’s AJK MCRC.
Sharing their uncontained excitement on Twitter, Shirley wrote on the micro-blogging site, “As an independent filmmaker, I know the value of the legitimacy of my voice, of a place at the table. Honoured to be invited by @TheAcademy to join as a member. Such blazing talent, our class of 2020. A world of work ahead of us and I’m so ready (sic)” and Amit’s tweet read, “I am incredibly honoured to be invited to join @TheAcademy ! And thrilled to be in the class of 2020 with my brilliant collaborator @shirley_abraham and many wonderful friends (sic).”
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Shirley Abraham and Amit Madheshiya have been nominated for their documentaries “The Hour of Lynching”, which is a powerful 2019 film on the case of Muslims being lynched by cow vigilantes and “The Cinema Travellers”, their debut feature-length documentary which received a standing ovation at Cannes Film festival. The film has won 19 awards including the Presidents Gold Medal in India apart from the rare festival trifecta of Cannes, Toronto and New York Film Festival. The duo graduated from the AJK MCRC in 2006 and have won numerous prestigious awards.
While their work has been supported by the Sundance Institute, The Pulitzer Centre, New York Times, MacArthur Foundation, IDFA, BBC among others, Shirley and Amit were felicitated as distinguished alumni who had contributed significantly to the Documentary Arts by their alma mater in 2017.
On the other hand, Nishtha Jain has been invited after her phenomenal work in the 2012 release “Gulabi Gang” and 2007 release, “Lakshmi and Me”. Gulabi Gang won Nishtha the National Award for the Best film on Social Issues in 2014. With 25 international and national film awards to her credit, sher films including The City of Photos (2004), Family Album (2011) and Gulabi Gang are key texts at AJK MCRC for the study of still and moving images.
Apart from the Fulbright-Nehru Academic and Professional Excellence Fellowship to teach and research at the University of Texas (Austin) during 2019, Nishtha is also a recipient of several prestigious fellowships that include the Global Media maker Award (2019).
Interestingly, the Academy has surpassed the goals of its A2020 initiative to double the number of women and underrepresented ethnic/racial communities by 2020. In a statement released by the body, Academy President David Rubin said, “The Academy is delighted to welcome these distinguished fellow travelers in the motion picture arts and sciences. We have always embraced extraordinary talent that reflects the rich variety of our global film community, and never more so than now.”
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