A National Award-winning film critic & journalist-turned-filmmaker and alumni of IIT-Roorkee, Utpal Borpujari has extensively written on cinema, politics, society, literature and culture, among other things, before turning a scriptwriter and filmmaker.
As a professional journalist since 1993, he covered leading political parties, Parliament proceedings, Central government ministries, Assembly and Lok Sabha elections, Northeast India, international film festivals, et al.
As a filmmaker, Guwahati-born Borpujari made his first documentary film “Mayong: Myth/Reality” in 2012, which was screened in several film festivals and released nationally on DVD by Junglee Home Video, a unit of Times Music.
His next documentary “Songs of the Blue Hills” (2013) was invited to nearly 20 international film festivals and also screened as part of world music course at the famous Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, China.
His other documentaries, “For a Durbar of the People” (2013, made for Union Ministry of Panchayati Raj) and “Soccer Queens of Rani” (2014, made for Rajya Sabha Television) have also been well appreciated.
He has just completed his new feature-length documentary “Memories of a Forgotten War”, which focuses on World War II’s famous battles in Northeastern India.
His fiction debut, a Assamese children’s feature film titled “Ishu” is currently on the editing table.
Borpujari has been a script consultant to the bilingual feature film “As the River Flows” (Hindi) / “Ekhon Nedekha Nodir Xhipaare” (Assamese) produced by the National Film Development Corporation of India. He has written scripts for several documentaries.
As a member of the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI), he served on several prestigious film juries. Borpujari has also directed and scripted several public service documentaries and ad films for leading multilateral and government agencies and NGOs, such as UNESCO, Population Services International, Smile Foundation, Ministry of External Affairs and Films Division, Government of India. He is also active as a film festival organizer and curator.
- Mayong: Myth/Reality (2012) – documentary, produced by Darpan Cine Productions – 6th IDSFFK (Kerala, 2013); Silent River Film Festival (California, 2013); Cinema Verite International Documentary Film Festival (Iran, 2103); 5th CineASA Guwahati International Film Festival (Assam, 2013); Indie8 Shillong, 2013; Special screenings at IIM-Bangalore, India International Centre-New Delhi, Jamia Milia Islamia University-New Delhi. DVD released internationally by Junglee Home Video.
- For a Dorbar of the People (2013) – documentary on the traditional village assembly system in Meghalaya, produced by Ministry of Panchayati Raj, Government of India. Telecast on Doordarshan and Lok Sabha Television channels. Screened at National Tribal Festival organised by Ministry of Tribal Affairs, New Delhi (2015).
- Songs of the Blue Hills (2013) – documentary on contemporary Naga folk Music practices, produced by Centre for Cultural Resources & Training (CCRT), Government of India. – 11th Eyes & Lenses Ethnographic Film Festival, (Warsaw, Poland, 2014); New York Indian Film Festival (2014); Gothenberg Indie Film Festival (In Competition, Sweden, 2014); Visions du Reel, International Doc Market section (Nyon, Switzerland, 2014); World Music & Independent Film Festival, (In Competition, Washington, 2014); Signs 2014 (In Competition, Kochi, 2014); Ischia International Film Festival (Ischia, Italy, 2014); Ladakh International Film Festival (In Competition, Leh, 2014); International Documentary and Short Film Festival of Kerala (Thiruvananthapuram, 2014); 21STArtXXI (Bucharest, Romania, 2014); 8th Asia Pacific Screen Awards (In Competition, 2014); 2nd Parma International Music Film Festival (In Competition, Parma, Italy, 2014); Guanzhou International Documentary Film Festival, China (2014); 2nd Silk Road International Film Festival, Xi’an city, Shaanxi province, China, October 2014; 9th Seattle South Asian Film Festival, November, 2014; Tura Film Festival (Meghalaya, 2014); Rajasthan International Folk Festival, Jodhpur (Special of Screening, 2014); 18 Degrees Festival, Shillong, Meghalaya (Special Screening, 2014); Samvaad: All India Tribal Conclave, Jamshedpur (Special Screening, 2014); Indian Panorama, 45th International Film Festival of India (IFFI), Goa (2014); North Carolina Global Film Festival (USA, 2015); screened as part of World Music course at Central Conservatory of Music, Beijing, China (April, 2016).
- Soccer Queens of Rani (2014) – documentary on a Football coach’s effort to train a bunch of economically-underprivileged tribal girls in a remote Assam village, produced by and telecast on Rajya Sabha Television (RSTV).
- Memories of a Forgotten War (2016) – feature-length documentary on the battles of World War II fought in Northeastern India.
- Ishu – feature film (Assamese) – under post-production
- A Real Cultural Revolution (2011), produced by Films Division – documentary
- Documentary on Odia culture (2011), produced by Govt of Odisha
- Resurgent Manas (2006), produced by Ministry of External Affairs – documentary
- Several CSR documentaries for Save the Children, Population Services International, Smile Foundation, etc.
- Chief Assistant Director: Jalpari – The Desert Mermaid (Feature Film, Hindi, 2012)
- Script Consultant: Ekhon Nedekha Nodir Xhipare / …as the River flows (Feature Film, Assamese/Hindi, 2012).
- Co-director, 4 public service ads on Right to Education Act, produced by UNESCO for Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India (2011)
As Film Critic/Journalist/Festival Curator, Borpujari has had wide experience:
- Winner, Swarna Kamal for Best Film Criticism, 50th National Film Awards, 2003.
- Part of 177 worldwide film critics who were invited by BBC Culture to poll individual Top 10 films of the 21st Century (2016).
- Former Member, International Film Critics Federation (FIPRESCI) – has served on FIPRESCI juries at Montreal World Film Festival (2010), MAMI Mumbai Film Festival (2006), 11th Osian’s Cinefan Film Festival (NETPAC-FIPRESCI Jury, 2009), MIFF (organized by Films Division, 2012 and 2008).
- Panel of 10 critics 10 directors whose selection of 20 films each led to the Top 20 of Indian cinema ‘Master List’ for the ‘T20 of Indian Cinema’ event at 40th International Film Festival of India (IFFI), Goa, 2009 (www.t20ofindiancinema.com)
- Have served on National Film Awards Jury, 51st National Film Awards, 2004.
- Member, selection jury for World Cinema, IFFI, 2016, 2015, 2012, 2010, 2009, 2008.
- Curator: Focus Section on Northeast Cinemas, 44th International Film Festival of India, Goa (2013); “Fragrances from the North East” Film Festivals organised by the Directorate of Film Festivals, Govt of India, New Delhi (2014, 2015) and Mysuru (2016); “Tales of Women: North East Cinema”, 45th International Film Festival of India (IFFI), Goa (2014); “Camera Along the Brahmaputra” Film Festival, commemorating 80 years of Cinema in Assam, at India International Centre, New Delhi (2015); “Young Directors From Northeast India”, 46th International Film Festival of India (IFFI), Goa (2015); South Asian Film Festival, the Maldives (2007); 70 years of Assamese Cinema), 3rd Eye Asian Film Festival, Mumbai (2005); Guwahati International Film Festival (2005)
- Artistic Director, Guwahati CineASA International Film Festival since 2009.
- Director, Guwahati International Short Film Festival, 2011 & 2012.
- Creative Advisor, Brahmaputra Valley Film Festival, Guwahati, 2014.
- Jury to select scripts at the The Indian Children’s Film Lab (International screen writing lab for Indian children’s cinema 2009), organized by Eleeanora Images (India) and Performing Arts Labs (PAL), UK
- Short Film Competition Jury at the 1st Pravasi Film Festival, New Delhi, 2010
- Jury member of WeCare Film Festival, New Delhi, 2011
- Drishti Creative Contest Jury, 2012 (for films, posters and creative works on themes related to blindness)
- Columnist for dearcinema.com (Mumbai) and Eastern Chronicle (Guwahati).
- Have Worked as a Journalist/Film Critic for The Sentinel (Guwahati), Press Trust of India (PTI, New Delhi), indiatimes.com (New Delhi), Deccan Herald (New Delhi)
- Journalistic/Film Criticism work carried in The Hindu, The Times of India, Assam Tribune, North East Times, Deep Focus Cinema, Seven Sisters Post, Outlook, India Today, etc.
- Member, Film Selection Committee, Centre for Cultural Resources & Training (CCRT), Ministry of Culture, Government of India.
- Member, Preview Committee, DD Urdu Channel, 2013.
- As a critic and journalist, has covered Cannes, Nantes, Montreal, IFFI, MAMI, 3rd Eye Asian Film Fest, MIFF and Osian’s Cinefan film festivals over the years.
- Editor, official catalogue of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007 & 2008.
- Member, Executive Committee, Dr Bhabendranath Saikia Institute of Mass Communication, Guwahati.
- Trustee, Film Trust India, New Delhi.
- Trustee, Le France, Guwahati (Check name)
- Member, Advisory Panel (Assamese), National Book Trust, India (2014-17 )
- Member, Indian Panorama (Feature Films), 45th International Film Festival of India (IFFI), Goa, 2014.
- Co-Author, “Secret Killings of Assam” (published by Nanda Talukdar Foundation, Guwahati, Assam).
- Editor-Co-Author, “Assam”, A coffee table book (published by Nanda Talukdar Foundation, Guwahati, Assam)
- Co-Author: Coffee Table Book on Assamese Cinema (published by Bhabani Printers, Assam)