We support filmmakers, media organisations and journalists to explore different ways of understanding the conflict and potential for peace in Kashmir.
These partners seek to play an important role in shaping public opinion, thus creating an environment conducive towards dialogue and the peace process over Kashmir.
The power of filmmaking
Filmmakers from both sides of the Line of Control (LoC) have made a series of unique films about life in Jammu and Kashmir. For each documentary, they have separately shot the footage and worked to produce the films, with support from Conciliation Resources.
As a cross-LoC collaborative project, the process of jointly shooting and editing the film is as important as the messages it contains. It has transformed the attitudes and relationships of those who have participated in the project.
"It taught us to understand nuances, to reach common ground despite differences and be sensitive to each others' problems. It bridged our perception gaps …The process taught us that the constraints of borders and line of control can be challenged."
Pawan Bali, Journalist from India-administered Kashmir
The filmmakers were not able to meet or communicate easily throughout the process of making the films.
A limited number of meetings supported by Conciliation Resources and held outside the region enabled them to come together to jointly edit the films.
As well as supporting the filmmaking process, Conciliation Resources also works alongside the filmmakers to ensure these films are screened both within the region and across the globe.
"I found the Kashmir films incredibly moving. What gave them special impact was the fact we saw and heard from ordinary people who are still suffering the pain of being separated from their families. I feel strongly that these films need to be shown to a range of groups."
Rita Payne, President Emeritus, Commonwealth Journalists Association
These four films showcase the challenges of life in one of the most militarised zones in the world:
1. A journey through River Vitasta
The initial film in the series poignantly tells the story of the harsh division of Kashmir by the Line of Control – the ceasefire line which was created following the 1947-8 Indo-Pak war and the de facto border between the two countries. It depicts the river along which part of the LoC runs, dividing families and communities on either side of river Vitasta between the Pakistani and Indian-held territories.
2. Faith divided: spirituality caught in conflict
On both sides of Kashmir, there are shrines of great spiritual importance to different faiths. Many people on either side of Kashmir are unable to undertake pilgrimages to the shrines at which they wish to worship on the other side of the LoC.
This film provides an emotive illustration of how this separation has impacted Kashmiris across different faiths. Despite these harsh realities and ingrained divisions, the Kashmiri people continue to display resilience, transcending current circumstances and offering hope to the situation.
3. Emotional capital: building peace through trade
Since 2009 Conciliation Resources has supported Kashmiris on both sides of the LoC to make trade possible between both sides – a ‘confidence building measure’ aimed to create a friendly environment for political negotiations.
This film captures the initiative of the cross-LoC trade process – how trust emerged, how it gained traction and support, and how it has opened a space for positive engagement between the two governments and the parts of divided Kashmir.
This is an extremely powerful process in a context where the official peace process has seen little progress in recent years.
4. Disaster: the common enemy
A team of four filmmakers from both sides of the LoC have produced Disaster: the common enemy to raise awareness of the importance of working across the divide to improve disaster management.
As well as making disaster management more effective, and therefore potentially saving thousands of lives, a shared response could help build confidence between different groups and support long-term peacebuilding efforts in Kashmir.
Enhancing the links between peace and journalism
If change is to occur in the long-running Kashmir conflict, it will be vital that the public has access to a diverse understanding of what a sustainable peace settlement could look like. Journalists have a key role to play in shaping those perceptions.
Conciliation Resources has accompanied and supported a range of journalists on both sides of the LoC.
To contribute towards peacebuilding, we have supported a group of journalists from either side of the LoC to found the Kashmir Journalists’ Forum.
The Forum aims to strengthen freedom of information, protect the legal rights of journalists and promote journalism that is sensitive to the conflict in Kashmir.
An initial and historic meeting held in August 2015 in Islamabad involving a delegation of journalists from Indian-administered Kashmir enabled participants to explore mutual cooperation, such as peace journalism and conflict sensitive reporting, and contributed to building relationships across the divide.
"A ground breaking initiative in the history of the Kashmir conflict… an opportunity for journalists from both sides of Kashmir to understand each other, build linkages and get credible and reliable information about the issues and perceptions of the other side."
Correspondent from Pakistan-administered Kashmir (referring to the Kashmir Journalists’ Forum)