Saturday, December 29, 2007

National Theatre Festival

The National Theatre Festival organised by the Kendra Sangeetha Nataka Akademi in association with the Department of Information and Public Relations ,Govt. of Kerala in Trivandrum was inaugurated by Kerala Chief Minister Mr V.S Achuthanandan . While inaugurating the festival he said that globalization has its influence in the art as general and in theatre like performing arts in particular. This trend leads to an erosion in the cultural heritage of our country , Mr. Achuthanandan said. Due to this shift viewers are slowly becoming the consumers rather than the connoisseurs of art . Amol Palekar , noted theatre personality from Marathi and film director, was the chief guest at the function .He highlighted the buoyancy of drama. “Theatre is a force that binds the length and breadth of this country,” he said. Palekar also applauded the theatre loving audiences of Kerala and observed that theatre has survived the onslaught of mass media. “Today the success of any venture is governed by the hype that precedes it. This has made us wonder whether drama will survive this onslaught. But I am convinced that theatre will retain all its glory,” Palekar said. The festival will stage eight dramas in six different languages. The festival opened with a play in Kannada, from Natana, Mysore , ‘Gandhi Ambedkar’ directed by C. Basavalingaiah. ‘Ghumayee’ (Dogri) from Natrang Jammu, Zindagi Retire Nahin Hoti (Hindi), CEVA Drama Repertory Company were staged in the second and third day of the festival . Khuli Hewa Ki Talaash Mein-Hindustani/Punjabi ,Quick Death-Hindi/Malayalam ,Super Market (Malayalam) from Sangeetha Nataka Academi, Thrissur ,Tritiya Juddeha-Bengali ,Evam Indrajeet-Hindi ,are other plays to be staged in the ensuing days.

Award for the most promising Director and Award for the most promising Director and Special Jury prize in the IFFISpecial Jury prize in the IFFI

Thailand's Pongpat Wachirabunjong received the award for the most promising director for his film 'Me Myself'. This film is about a man who suffers from amnesia and sets out to find his true identity. Wachirabunjong received a silver peacock and Rs.500,000 from Tony Rodrigues , Mayor of Goa. Special jury award of the year was shared by Golam Rabbany Biplob , Bangladeshi director for 'On the Wings of Dream' and Julia Urbini , Child Artiste in the Mexican film ' MORE THAN ANYTHING IN THE WORLD 'for playing an imaginative girl whose dreams turn into nightmare when she starts believing that her mother is possessed by the vampire-like man next door in . A cash prize of Rs.250,000 and a silver peacock were given to them byMr. S.C. Zameer ,Governor of Goa .Digambar Kamat Chief Minister, Goa, V.V. Pyarelal, Joint Secretary (Film) , Neelam Kapur Director of Film Festival, Nandani Paliwal, CEO , Goa Entertainment Society (ESG) Shekhar Kapur , Indian filmmaker and Kabir Bedi ,Actor were attended the award presentation ceremony.



Taiwan Film “THE WALL“ directed by Lin Chih Ju bagged the Golden Peacock in the competition section of the 38th International film festival concluded here today .The Silver Peacock has been shared by Bangladesh Film“ ON THE WINGS OF DREAMS “ directed by Golam Rabanny Biplab and Mexican Film “ MORE THAN ANYTHING IN THE WORLD “ of the director duo Andddre Leon Becker & Javier Solar . Lin Chih Ju also received the best director award .

Other films competed were Me Myself by Pongpat Wachirabunjong from Thailand , The Debt by Assaf Bernstein from Israel ,The Satanic Angels by Ahmed Boulane from Morocco ,Khuda Kay Liye by Shoaib Mansoor from Pakistan ,A Ton of Luck by Rodrigo Triana from Colombia ,The Postmodern Life of my Aunt by Ann Hui from China , ,Olga, Victoria Olga Time Without Time by Mercedes Farriols from Argentina ,, Cruel Embrace by Anuruddha Jayasinghe from Sri Lanka ,Svani by Soso & Badri Jachvliani from Georgia,EK Nadir Galpo by Samir Chanda and Rathrimazha by Lenin Rajendran both from India..

The festival, which began on November 23, ended with the screening of Fados a Portugal-Spain film directed by Carlos Saura. Mr Samir , Governor of Goa, Mr Digambar Kamat Chief Minister of Goa , Ms Marta mezaros ,Jury Chairperson , Kabir Bedi ,Actor ,Mr. Pyarelal , Joint secretary ,Ministry of I&B , Mr Singh ,Chief Secretary ,Goa etc attended the closing ceremony. As the Parliament is in session Mr P.R. Dasmunsi , Minister for Information and Broadcasting, could not attend in the finale .

In it’s 38th edition and 4th in Goa the festival passed off without any acrimony or protests. This edition of the festival gave focus to films and excluded the carnival from the fest agenda. Even though the new ticketing system created some initial technical problems in the very outset it quickly corrected the flaws and airborne till the end. The upgraded festival infrastructure, including more screening theatres, also found favour with the audience. But one theatre , Asoka failed to keep the screening standards of an international film festival .The Film Bazaar organised by the National Film Division Corporation attracted good response from representatives of film marketing firms from India as well as abroad. A total of 176 films from 46 countries were screened during the 11-day festival. The Indian Panorama presented 21 feature and 15 non-feature films.

Festival greatly improved

Shri J. P. Singh Chief secretary of Goa, and Smt. Neelam Kapur Director, DFF, in a press conference held here today with a view to apprise the media of their assessment and also to elicit media response on various issues related to the Festival said that the 38th edition of International Film Festival of India has been a smooth affair but for minor irritants . Shri J. P. Singh said that the whole effort has been to improve film culture in the State so that Goa attains recognition at the international level. The joint effort of Directorate of Film Festival and the Govt of Goa greatly improved the content as well as infrastructure for the current edition of the fest he said. The Film Bazaar this year has been a tremendous success and hoped that National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) would further strengthen the role of Film Bazaar in future. The software used in the Festival this year has been a great leap forward and is likely to result in smoother operations in the coming years. The newly introduced system of ticketing was a great success and vastly facilitated the operations, he added. ‘Plans are already under discussion to bring about improvements during the next year. Steps for facilitation of delegate and media registration are being examined and would be put in place in due course. We need to work on improving the international participation in the Festival “ said Smt. Neelam Kapur ,Director of the Fetival. To the suggestion of raising prize money to invite larger international participation, it was among the measures being contemplated in this regard she added. She also clarified that mainstream cinema was taken off from this year’s Festival by the Film Federation of India and its affiliated bodies due to certain reservations/constraints on their part. Smt. Kapur felt that greater publicity is needed to ensure more entries in the Indian Panorama section so that the number of entries is larger and diversity of Indian cinema can be truly reflected. The publication of Festival daily news letter in Hindi will be looked into, the Director said.

"Goal " being screened in the IFFI

A special screening of Hindi movie `Goal' is included in the schedule of the 38th IFFI .The decision is based on the suggestion made by P R Dasmunshi,Minister for Information and Broadcasting . Screening is scheduled on Monday. "The minister expressed the wish to show the film to the delegates and football fans in Goa. We have decided to screen this film, which will be its Goa premier", Director of Film Festivals Neelam Kapoor said.The film will be screened in a four-screens in the INOX multiplex. The movie, starring John Abraham , Arshad Warsi, Bipasha Basu and Boman Irani Goa, which has football as its main sports, has four professional clubs shining nationally including Dempo Sports Club, Salgaocar Sports Club, Sporting Clube de Goa and Churchill Bros.

“Fados” ,the Closing Film in the IFFI

“Fados” , the new masterpiece from award-winning Director Carlos Saura and the latest instalment in his musical cycle initiated more than 15 years ago by “Sevillanas” (1992), “Flamenco” (1995), Oscar nominated “Tango” (1998), “Salome” (2002) and “ Iberia ” (2005) is the closing film in the 38th International Film Festival of india . “Fados” opens a new chapter and sets new challenges for the famous director – now 75 - as it attempts to capture the elusive nature of the Portuguese “saudade” and to depict a faithful portrait of the Portuguese soul through its most emblematic musical genre.
Using Lisbon as its iconic backdrop, the movie explores the intricate relationship between the music and the city, and Fado´s evolution over the years from its African and Brazilian origins up to the new wave of modern Fadistas. Under the musical supervision of Carlos do Carmo, the movie features one of the finest “World Music” soundtracks to date, gathering the best of new Portuguese talent like Mariza or Camané, together with foreign legends Caetano Veloso and Chico Buarque or up-and-coming stars Lila Downs and Lura.the cast include Chico Buarque de Hollanda, Carmané, Carlos do Carmo, Lila Downs, Cesaria Evora, Toni Garrido, Alfredo Marceneiro, Mariza, Miguel Poveda .

Emotional Arithmetic

Christopher Plummer with a friend in Toronto International Film Festival

Emotional Arithmetic screened twice of the 38th International Film Festival of India. Emotional Arithmetic is a story of redemption, healing, and reconciliation ignited by the re-union of three survivors of Drancy, the WW II internment camp just outside of Paris. In 1945, Jakob Bronski, a young dissident held at Drancy, takes two children, Melanie and Christopher, under his charge. 40 years later Melanie (Susan Sarandon) is grown up and has a family of her own: husband David (Christopher Plummer), son Benjamin (Roy Dupuis), and grandson Timmy (Dakota Goyo). Melanie discovers that a now elderly Jakob (Max von Sydow), whom she believed had been taken from Drancy to Auschwitz and killed, is still alive. She immediately invites him to live with her and her family on their farm in Canada. Jakob arrives with Christopher (Gabriel Byrne) as a surprise for Melanie, and she and Christopher must face the truth of the bond between them. The past explodes into the present (the mid-1980s) in an unexpected and tender love story, which is life altering for them and for those around them. The film was the closing film in the Toronto International Film Festival, 2007.


“IFFI Goa Film Treasures “ Concludes

A five-day screening programme, named IFFI Goa Film, designed to underline the importance of the world’s film heritage, will conclude today with the screening of Kenji Mizoguchi’s “The Legend of Bailiff Sansho”. Along with this classic four other films — a restored print of Jean Renoir’s “The Grand Illusion”, Charlie Chaplin’s “Modern Times”, Jacques Becker’s “Le Trou” (The Hole) and Ernst Lubitsch’s wartime drama “To Be Or Not To Be” were screened.The event is organized as a partnership between the IFFI and the Paris-based Thomson Foundation for Film & TV Heritage.“We hope to make this section an annual feature of IFFI,” says Severine Wemaere, adding: “The need to step up efforts to preserve our film heritage has never been greater.”Says Wemaere: “Films are a vivid art of representation, a tremendous source of inspiration and they have a strong effect on the mind and imagination. But sadly, they are at risk of loss and disappearance.“By participating in IFFI Goa Film Treasures, the Thomson Foundation aims to reach out to a larger population to emphasise the importance of film heritage.”It is with that aim in mind that the Thomson Foundation is also spearheading a newly introduced course on film preservation at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune.“The course was launched in April this year,” Wemaere says. “We are now on the threshold of the second year of what is going to be a mandatory programme for every first year FTII student.”The idea, he points out, is to sensitise the future generation of Indian filmmakers to the importance of preservation. “It is crucial to train them right at the outset, instead of trying to catch them when it is too late.”The FTII course devised by Thomson Foundation is being supported by Ketan Mehta and Anurag Kashyap .Shyam Benegal is a member of the board of directors.

‘The Last Lear’ premiered

‘The Last Lear’ in English directed by Rituparno Ghosh ,a Director from Bengal who won national awards ,has been premiered at IFFI. This fim has Amitabh Bachchan and Preity Zinta in the lead.

"one should make films the way he wants" - Adoor

Other festivals in India are slowly occupying the space of IFFI as IFFI is not applying their mind in promoting films in the Indian Panorama .At one time the films shown in Indian Panorama were getting 10 lakhs for screening in Doordarsan and that was a sure return for the good cinema. Subsequently DD reduced the amount and then stopped screening panorama films.,eminent filmmaker Adoor Gopalakrishnan said in a press conference held in Goa after the screening of his latest film Naalu Pennungal in the 38th International Film Festival of India(IFFI) here .He criticized the process of sending entries to foreign film festivals, saying it was responsible for the large number of rejections. "India can send better entries to these festivals provided we have a thorough screening and a procedure to short list fewer entries", he said speaking at a press conference after the screening of his latest film Naalu Pennungal (Four Women) at the on-going 38th International Film Festival of India(IFFI) here. Naalu Pennungal was based on short stories by the Gjan Peedh award winner and famous writer in Malayalam Thakazzhi Sivasankara Pillai. Though these stories had been written at different times, but he chose them because of they go together thematically. Adoor said that he enjoyed complete freedom in adaptation to the film form. In fact, he had gone beyond the author and infused sub-text and layers. The four stories, each independent and set in a specific time(between 1940s and 60s).Giving a reply to another question, he said that the reason that he could make only ten films in his about 40-year-long career was that it was so difficult to make the films the way one wants. He said it was so hard these days to find platforms for showing good movies The film was premiered in Toronto and has gone to London , Nantes .Warsaw Film Festivals,he said..

Turkish actress Cumbul keen to act in Indian movies

Ms Meltem Cumbul ,Turkish actress and a jury in the competition section of the International Film Festival of India here expressed her desire to work in any of the Indian Films. "I would love to be in Bollywood.Cumbul, a graduate in drama , has won the 'best actress' award at Ankara International Film Festival-2000 for her film "Durusma". " I would love to be in Indian cinema..if given an offer I would accept it,", she said. The Cumbul-starred Turkish film "Love Lorn", directed by Yavuz Turgul, is being screened in 'Cinema of World' section of the IFFI. A fan of Raj Kapoor, Cumbul complains that Indian cinema is not shown in Turky .. "

'AIDS Jaago' films

The four films on AIDS shown at the 38th International Film Festival of India Tuesday was just as overwhelming . Mira Nair, Vishal Bhardwaj, Farhan Akhtar and Santosh Sivan have directed the four short stories, highlighting different aspects of the HIV epidemic in India and clubbed together under the title 'AIDS Jaago'.In Mira Nair's words, the idea is to tap into the Indian craze for movies to spread awareness about AIDS through films that entertain even as they educate. 'I therefore opted for three of my favourite Indian directors to team up with me and we roped in known Indian movie stars,' she said. Each film in the 'AIDS Jaago' series, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has a distinct style and rhythm, but all of them make for uniformly riveting viewing. Especially outstanding is Sivan's Kannada-language 'Prarambha' (The Beginning).
With a cast headed by B. Saroja Devi and Prabhu Deva, the lively and utterly unpretentious 'Prarambha' is about of a truck driver who finds a runaway boy hiding in his vehicle. The latter has been expelled from school because he is suspected to be HIV positive. The truck driver takes it upon himself to get the boy back into school. Mira Nair's segment, 'Migration', starring Shiney Ahuja, Irrfan Khan, Raima Sen and Sameera Reddy, addresses the fate of a migrant worker who has an affair with the bored wife of closet homosexual. The dalliance has tragic repercussions -- the migrant worker's wife and newborn child back in his village test positive for HIV. Vishal Bhardwaj's 'Blood Brothers', featuring Siddharth, Ayesha Takia and Pankaj Kapur, adopts a thriller-like approach to narrate the tale of a man who allows his life to hit the skids when he, in a case of mistaken identity, is handed an HIV positive report by a diagnostic clinic. When he finally tracks down the man that he has been confused with, he discovers an individual who lives life to the lees despite being aware of his medical condition.
Perhaps, the least engaging of the four films (but strictly in comparative terms) is Farhan Akhtar's cinematic essay, 'Positive...'. It is about a young man, exasperated with his father's philandering ways, who leaves for South Africa to study photography only to return, at his mother's behest, to be by the side of the HIV-infected, terminally ill old man. With actors of the calibre of Boman Irani and Shabana Azmi holding it together, the film gets its point across despite its verbosity.

Overwhelming response to Five Malayalam films shown in the IFFI

Five malayalam films viz Nalupennungal (Four women )directed by Adoor Gopalakrishnan , Orekadal (The Sea within )of Shyamaprasad , Thaniye ( Alone ) by Babu Thiruvalla and Kaioppu (Signature ) of Ranjith in the Indian Panorama section and Ratrimazha (The Night Rain ) directed by Lenin Rajendran in the competition section of the International Film Festival of India have attracted acclaim from the delegates and critics attending the fest .

10th edition of the Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF)

The 10th edition of the Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF) for documentary, short and animation films will be held from February 3 to 9, 2008 at Mumbai. Films from 37 countries for the International Competition section and 543 films have been entered in the Indian Competition section.

Exhibition ‘Behind the Frames’ in the IFFI

An exhibition in the IFFI venue titled ‘Behind the Frames’ has been organized by the Films Division ,Govt. of India with cameras and other equipments used for making films of yester years to modern. Apart from these, props and rare photographs collected from different sources are also exhibited. “The rare equipments on display will give an insight into the technical nuances of film making, over the times. Films related to history of Indian cinema, film making and related subjects are also being screened at the Exhibition venue. The Exhibition is intended to take the cinema lovers to a journey down the memory lane from the magic world of film making of the yore to the digital age”, Shri Sinha informed.

‘A Voyage to Discover the Spirit of Freedom’

An Exhibition titled‘ A Voyage to Discover the Spirit of Freedom’ of select Indian film posters was formally inaugurated by Shri Digambar Kamat, Chief Minister of Goa ,. This the Exhibition showcases various facets of India ’s freedom struggle under five different categories. The categories are, Birth of Indian Cinema and the India’s Freedom Struggle; Reformation - films on social reconstruction; The Dawn of Independence; Armed Aggression on India and Revisiting the Past – films made on the 1962 Indo-China war, the 1965 and 1971 wars with Pakistan and the recent Kargil war and Neo-Nationalism-depicting posters of films since 1990 showing aggressive nationalist in ‘Border’, ‘Sarfarosh’, ‘Keethu Chakra’ etc and of those films which foster pride and guide the youth to take the charge of the nation as in 1942-a Love Story, Train to Pakistan, Gadar-Ek Prem Katha, Rang De Basanti, The Rising etc..Mr Sasidharan, Director of National Film Archive of India (NFAI) who has piloted the exhibition told that this endevour brings alive the heritage of Indian cinema from its beginning to the modern days though the medium of photographs and film posters. NFAI’s role involves collection of films and associated material for the purpose of preservation and permanent access in the broadest sense – research, re-use, re-release. The emphasis is on archiving for cultural purposes – to ensure the preservation and accessibility of films and related material as part of the national cultural heritage. The Documentation Section strives to trace, acquire, collect and preserve for posterity the heritage of Indian Cinema in the form of supportive documents including photographs, posters, song booklets etc. apart from the films

Retrospective of Tapan Sinha films

38th IFFI-2007 witnessed with the screening of films of Tapan Sinha ,the veteran film maker. Four of his movies are being screened include his highly acclaimed film Kabuliwala., ‘Sagina Mahato’, ‘Adalt O Ekti Meye’ and ‘Aadmi Aur Aurat’ The film Kabuliwallah is based on a story by Rabindranath Tagore of the same name, the film is a touching tale of Rahmat Sheikh, a pathan who came from Afghanistan to Kolkata to make a living. However, he is homesick and seeks the company of children, particularly little girls as they remind him of his own daughter back home. One day he meets Mini, a five-year-old daughter of a writer, and they become great friends. The beautiful friendship that develops is suddenly interrupted by Rahmat’s being sent to prison for assaulting his landlord. Years pass, and when Rahmat is released, he goes back to see Mini. Still expecting to meet the charming little girl he had left behind, he is stunned to realize that he has reached on Mini’s wedding day and that she no longer recognizes him. He also realizes that his won daughter must also be of a similar age and tears well up in his eyes. Mini’s father presents him the money kept for the decoration of the house during the wedding and urges him to return as soon as possible to his house in Afghanistan .

Belgian Retrospective Flanders ”s image opens with the screening of “Gills “

Belgium films ‘Gilles’ directed by Jan Verheyen narrates the story of a young talented soccer player ‘Gilles’ whose father Bert’s passionate support and coaching feed their dream that Gilles will make it to the Red Devils pro team. When Bert’s enthusiasm causes a heart attack, a grieving Gilles finds a way to bring his father back to life so that he (but no one else) sees his dad everywhere, especially when playing soccer. But there’s a downside to Bert’s continuing presence: When Gilles learns that soccer might jeopardize his future, Bert still pushes Gilles to keep playing. Is this Gilles’ desire too, or only his father’s? While his mother urges him to quit and his friends offer encouragement, in the end Gilles must rule an offside, either as his penalty or his father’s trap.Under this section four Belgian films will be screened. The other three films are, ‘King of the World’ (Director: Guido Henderickx), ‘Love belongs to everyone’ (Director: Hilde Van Mieghem) and ‘The Intruder’ (Director: Frank Van Mechelen).

The Film India World Wide (FIWW) begins

The Film India World Wide (FIWW) started today with the screening of the film ‘The Pool’ directed by Chris Smith. This has been shot entirely in Panaji, Goa by 36-year-old Chris Smith, and is made in Hindi, a language the director does not know. Its story follows Venkatesh, who works as a hotel house-boy alongside his staunch buddy, Jahangir. The two make extra money selling plastic bags to pedestrians. Venkatesh is mesmerized by the aquamarine glow of a backyard swimming pool, which he gazes from a mango tree. He gets to know the owners, a wealthy man (Nana Patekar) originally from Mumbai and his edgy daughter Ayesha, who take to him in their separate ways. This encounter changes the lives of the two boys, aspiring to better themselves without the benefit of any education or skills. The film’s leisured pace and seemingly effortless telling captures the essential spirit of Goan living, from its mansions, its music, its street life and its work-force. Director Smith is known for his searching, introspective documentaries and their natural setting and universality of theme – attributes that he brings with gentle understanding to his film, The Pool. The other movies to be screened in the FIWW Section are: ‘AIDS Jaago’ comprising of four short films directed by Mira Nair, Santosh Sivan, Vishal Bhardwaj and Farhan Akhtar and ‘Amal’ directed by Richie Mehta.Retrospective of Tapan Sinha’s movies began at IFFI-07 with the screening of highly acclaimed film Kabuliwala. Under the section, four of his acclaimed movies would be screened. The other movies are, ‘Sagina Mahato’, ‘Adalt O Ekti Meye’ and ‘Aadmi Aur Aurat’.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

No Bollywood,No Carnival IFFI at Goa is improving in content also.

Except Shah Rukh Khan the , Chief Guest and a couple of Hindi movies it seems that the IFFI does not include any Bollywood star in the festival. It is a departure from the policies adopted in the other three festivals conducted in Goa in the last three years. In IFFI 2006, which the Bollywood had Hindi blockbusters such as ‘Lage Raho Munnbhai’, ‘Krish’ and ‘Rang De Basanti,’ ‘Bollywood centric ’ Syndrome is vanishing from the festival is good sign . Suparn Sen ,. Federation of India Secretary said that, “We will try and organize the segment next year as this year were informed about it a little too late.” Sen added, “The organisers were not too keen on segregating Indian Cinema into Bollywood and non-Bollywood. Nor were they keen on tagging Bollywood cinema as mainstream.” This is a good sign .let the festival directorate stick on to the latest policy.The DFF also said films to be screened at the festival need subtitles and few Bollywood producers willing to provide them.


A Film Bazaar organised by the National Film Development Corporation is on from 24th to 26th November, 2007 in the IFFI venue ..The aim of the Bazar is to provide an interactive platform between prospective buyers and sellers of film rights from India and abroad. Global Film Initiative, Back Up Films, Onoma International, Mauritius Broadcasting Corporation, Shanghai Film Group, China Film Co-production, Arclight Films Malaysian Broadcasting Corporation, Astra and Miriam Arab of Cannes Market are the international participants, among Sales agents and financiers including Fortissimo Films and Paris based Memento Films, and Germany’s Pandora are also attending the three-day event. 15 pre-selected projects drawn from all over India are being presented to the participants. These projects are at different stages of Development. The NFDC is also organizing a Script Development Workshop, Screenwriters Bloc which is scheduled to begin in Goa .


While inagurating the proceedings of the Open Forum Ms Neelam Kapoor , IFFI Director informed the august gathering that the IFFI will constitute the International Film Critics Award commonly known as FIPRESCI AWARD from the 39th edition.. In the International Film Festival of Kerala , the FIPRESCI award is being given from its 4th edition held in Cochin . Mr Sudhir Nandgaonker ,the General Secretary of the Federation of Film Societies in India and the artistic Director of MAMI ,who chaired the inaugural function said that FIPRESCI is closely associated with 40 prestigious film festivals all over the world including Cannes and Berlin .Mr Sudhir also expressed his satisfaction over the conduct of the IFFI and the importance given to the Open Forum .He hoped that the IFFI conducted in Panaji would benefit the film society movement of Goa.

Common people cannot afford multiplexes- DasMunsi

Speaking at the valedictory session of ‘ India – The Big Picture’ Conference 2007, Sri Dasmunsi advocated for low cost theatres. He further said that in the long run digitalization has to ensure that technology is made available at affordable cost to sustain the cinema – seeing habits of the common man. He said, of late building up of good theatres is confined only to set up multiplexes which a common film goer cannot afford. Additional investments on creating more single screen theatres are warranted, he added.He further said that the core group set up by the Ministry on Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) has made its presentation to the Ministry and a view in this regard would be finalized by this year end.

Indian Panorama inaugurated

Shri P. R. Dasmunsi ,Minister of Information & Broadcasting and Parliamentary Aff inaugurated today the Indian Panorama section of the IFFI 2007. The Malayalam film ‘Ore Kadal’ (Malayalam ) was the inaugural film., Shri Dasmunsi in his speech said that Indian panorama provides to the viewers a comprehensive perspective of Indian Cinema. It gives an insight into the Indian ethos and film industry as a whole. The Minister appreciated the role of juries for Feature and Non-Feature Sections for the nice selection of films to be screened in this category. Mr.Shyamaprasad ,Director of the inaugural film Orekadal and his crew members were also felicitated during the occassion.The members of the two jury were felicitated on the occasion. The jury are headed by renowned film makers, Mr. K S Sethumadhavan (feature films) and Arun Khopkar (non-feature films). Mr. Shyama Prasad, director of the opening Feature Film ‘Ore Kadal’ (Malayalam), Bisnu Deb Halder, director of the Non-Feature Section opening film, ‘Bagher Bachcha’ (Bengali) and main cast of the two films were also felicitated.In all, 36 films will be screened in Indian panorama. Of these, 21 are Feature and 15 Non-Feature Films. The selections were made from 119 Feature Films and 149 Non-Feature Film entries.

Shahrukh Khan inaugurated the 38th International Film Festival of India (IFFI-07)

Shahrukh Khan , the actor ,inaugurated the 38th International Film Festival of India (IFFI-07) today at Goa in the august presence of Shri P. R. Dasmunsi Minister of Information & Broadcasting and Parliamentary Affairs, Shri Digambar KamatChief Minister of Goa,the Tamil actress helped the dignataries lit the inaugural lamp. Shri Dasmunsi in his remarks announced the decision of his Ministry to confer life time achievement award on the veteran actor Dilip Kumar. Melody queen Lata Mangeshkar will be conferred with the life time achievement award for film songs. Shri Dasmunsi said that in the present era of technological innovations, a new vision is needed to ensure its fruition for the benefit of commoners. Affordable cinema for the huge mass of film lovers in the country should be ensured by harnessing new technology. Indian film legends like Raj Kapoor, Amitabh Bachchan and Shahrukh Khan have been the true cultural ambassadors of India commanding worldwide following. He described Shahrukh Khan as a true icon of Indian youth and sports.Shri DasMunsi also said about the submission of report by the committee set up to suggest measures to tackle piracy in the film sector . Government is likely to finalize its view on Optical Disc laws for this purpose by December end.
While addressing the gathering Shahrukh Khan said " this premier event is a pride of the nation. Recognizing the contribution of the ordinary man in raising the popularity of cinema, he said ‘lets dedicate 38th IFFI to ordinary people." Mr. Khan said, cinema provides people independence from loneliness and a perceived bond with the celluloid characters. This enlivens the dreams and a course to look up to. He said, through the medium of cinema we try to reach out to others crossing cultural barriers. Shri Kamat Chief Minister of Goa felt that brand IFFI would make Goa a sought after destination for foreign as well as Indian film makers. Secretary (I&B), Smt. Asha Swarup, Chief Secretary, Goa, Shri J. P. Singh, Panjim Mayor, Mr. Tony Rodrigues, Festival Director, Smt. Neelam Kapur and prominent film personalities were among those present.Romanian film ‘4 months, 3 weeks & 2 days’ was screened as the opening film. The Director of the opening film Mr. Cristian Mungiu and the main actress, Anamaria Marinca were felicitated at the inaugural ceremony. Foreign delegates from Netherlands, China, Poland and Mexico were also present.

Poster- IFFI-2007

Rendez-vous with French cinema in Goa

The French Embassy and the Alliance Française in association with the Festival Directorate present 15 long features and co-productions, representing the diversity of French cinema.The veteran filmmaker and Indophile Alain Corneau, , will be leading the very talented and prestigious French delegation, which include directors, actors and film critics like ,Mr. Alain Corneau, Director of the film «The Second Whistle»Florent Emilio Siri, Director of the film « The Intimate Enemy»Fanny Valette, Actress of the film «Change of Address»,Jan Kounen, Director of the film « 99 Francs »,Samira Zaibat, International Correspondent, « Critic’s Week », Cannes festival,Pierre-Olivier Labbé, Senior Journalist, France 2 (French national TV), Séverine Wemaere, Director of Thomson Foundation, Serge Toubiana, Director of Cinémathèque Française (famous French film magazine),Jean-François Rauger,Deputy Director of Cinémathèque Française (famous French film magazine), Olivier Assayas, Film maker and last year's Cannes jury member.

Opening Film at IFFI 2007

The 38th IFFI, Goa starting November 23rd open with 4 months, 3 weeks and 2 days. A Romanian film acclaimed internationally ,The director, Cristian Mungiu, and the film’s remarkable lead actors will attend the inaugural function. 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, is a film on an young student’s days of pregnancy.The film follows the two women as they book their hotel room where they meet their stone-faced abortionist Bebe, a role which actor Vlad Ivanov makes less repellant with the shades he brings to it. Bebe is the lowdown bully who has learnt to argue and extort all that he can. After all, his illicit trade has its own dehumanising process. Ivanov gives him a magnetic edge as he traps the two vulnerable girls into stoic submission. Marinca and Vasiliu give their roles a validity that pulls at the heart - they are beguiling and deeply affecting. The film uses loose tracking shots or long single-take scenes which makes its settings and scenes appear completely natural.

All set for the opening ceremony - IFFI-2007

The Palme D’ OR winner of Cannes 2007- titled “4 months, 3 weeks & 2 day “ would be the opening film –
-Shahrukh Khan ,the celebrated actor would be the Chief Guest at the inaugural ceremony of 38th edition of International film festival of India to be held at Kala Academy on 23rd evening.

The inaugural function will be attended by Shri P. R. Dasmunsi ,Minister of Information & Broadcasting and Parliamentary Affairs, Shri Digambar Kamat ,Chief Minister of Goa , and a number of film personalities. The inaugural lamp will be lit with the assistance of Priyamani, known actress from south. Mr. Cristian Mungiu , the Director of the opening film and the main actress, Anamaria Marinca would be present at the inaugural ceremony. Other foreign delegates from Netherlands , China , Poland and Mexico . A major delegation from Poland and China will also be present.The Palme D’ OR winner of Cannes 2007- “4 months, 3 weeks & 2 day” would be the opening film at International Film Festival of India – 2007 (IFFI-2007.

Optical Disc Law to check piracy and the creation of a National Centre for Excellence in Animation

Govt of India is examining a draft Optical Disc Law to check piracy in the film sector according to Smt. Asha Swarup , Secretary, (I&B), in her remarks at the “India – The Big Picture Conference 2007”, organized by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in Panaji ,Goa today. The draft law has been prepared by the members of film sector at the initiative of Government of India. The Government is encouraging digital exhibition as it helps access the market easily, she added. Mrs Asha Swarup said that the Government is attempting to enhance the benefits relating to custom duty also for this sector as digitalization reduces the cost of distribution of films and also helps films in reaching B and C category centres very fast, besides acting as a deterrent to piracy. Shri B. D. Garga ,veteran film historian from Goa , was felicitated at the event. Chief Minister of Goa , Shri Digambar Kamat who attended the function, appreciated the role of CII .

Pakistan and Georgia making their first Showcasing

About 200 films from around the world ,including Pakistani and Georgian films making their first appearance ,at the 10-day extravaganza ,the International Film Festival of India in Goa . Manipur will make a come back to the festival after a gap of 11 years. 14 feature films from Asia, Africa and Latin America will be showcased in the competitive section .Celebrating India's 60 years of independence, a special section is scheduled with documentaries from films division besides feature films from three languages.This section is titled "India@60", the section will highlight the spirit of freedom and patriotism.

Indian Panorama Films in International Film Festival of India - 2007

The two juries for feature and non feature films headed by renowned filmmakers K S Sethumadhavan and Arun Khopkar selected 21 feature films from eight languages and 15 non-feature films for the Indian Panorama section of the forthcoming 38th International Film Festival of India starting on 23rd November in Goa . RATRI MAZHA (Night Rain- Malayalam) directed by Lenin Rajendran and and Samir Chanda’s EK NADIR GALPO (Bengali) will represent the country at the Asian, African and Latin American Competition of the Festival. ORE KADAL (Malayalam) directed by Shyamaprasad will open the Indian Panorama feature film section and BAGHER BACHA (Bengali) directed by Bishnu Dev Halder will open the non-feature section.The films in the features selection include five Malayalam, four Marathi, three each in Kannada and Bengali, two each in Hindi and Tamil, and one each in Assamese and Manipuri. The non-features include six in Hindi, four in Malayalam, three in English, and one each in Bengali and Manipuri.Both renowned filmmakers Adoor Gopalakrishnan and Buddhadeb Dasgupta have films in both the feature and non-feature sections. The films by Adoor Gopalakrishnan are NAALU PENNUNGAL and THE DANCE OF THE ENCHANTRESS and and those of Dasgupta AMI, IYASIN AR AMAR MADHUBALA and NAUSHAD ALI - THE MELODY CONTINUES, The selections were made out of 119 feature and 149 non-feature films. The members of the feature film jury were filmmakers Manju Borah from Guwahati, Leslie Carvalho from Bangalore, Abhijeet Dasgupta from Kolkata, Dr. Mrunalinni Patil Dayal from Mumbai, and Delhi critic Shubhra Gupta. The non-feature film jury comprised Delhi filmmaker Pankaj Butalia, Mumbai filmmaker Kavita Chaudhary, and Guwahati filmmaker Gautam Saikia.

Monday, December 24, 2007


The IFFK main jury announced that two films share the highest level of artistic integrity and declared that the Suvarna chakoram and cash prize of INR 10 lakhs for the best film will be shared equally between XXY directed by Lucia Puenzo from Argentina, and 10+4 directed by Mania Akbari from Iran. The Rajatha chakoram and cash prize of INR 2 Lakhs for the Best director goes to Mania Akbari from Iran for her film 10+4.. The Rajatha Chakoram and cash prize of INR 3 lakhs for the Best Debut Film of a director goes to Lucia Puenzo from Argentina for her film XXY. The Jury of the 12th IFFK awards a special jury prize to the director, Abdullah Oguz of the Turkish film BLISS, for its very efficient expression of the universal problem of the oppression of women in traditional societies .NETPAC Award for the Best Malayalam Film goes to Ore Kadal directed by Shyamaprasad . NETPAC award for the Best Asian Film in competition goes to Getting Home Director Zhang Yang.Fipresci Award for the Best Malayalam Film goes to Ore Kadal and fipresci Award for the Best Film in competition goes to Sleepwalking Land Director by Teresa Prata. V.S.Achuthanandan, Chief Minister of Kerala ,M.A Baby ,Minister for Cultural Affairs ,Vijayakumar ,Minister for Law ,Panniyan Raveendran .M.P , Director K.P Kumaran , Actor Murali etc participated in the finale. .

All set for the closing ceremony of the 12th edition of the International Film Festival of Kerala

The current edition of the IFFK ,which attracted thousands of film enthusiasts of younger age and film lovers of serious genre, will conclude today at the Nishagandhi auditorium . But raising a note of caution, a large number of delegates said the festival would make a lasting impact only if there was follow-up action at multiple levels. Two issues that require urgent attention are initiating production of good films and evolving effective mechanisms to reach them to the discerning within the country and outside. The fact is that we always speak about the past and not updating and adapting drastic changes in the media and its appreciation.Film makers are totally ignorant about the changes in the social realities.They are still living in the world of dreams and moneymaking. As filmmaker Miguel Littin said recently: “If you continue to do what you have been doing in the 1960s, or ’70s or ’80s or ’90s in this decade also, there is the danger that you will end up living in the past.” Sri V.S Achuthanandan ,Chief Minister of Kerala will inaugurate the ceremony in the presence of Mammooty ,Murali and Suresh Gopi . Awards will be declared by the respective juries.The awards are the Golden Crow Pheasant Award ,Suvarna Chakoram and a cash prize of Rs. 1,000,000/- (about US$20,000) to the best feature film to be shared equally by the director and the producer.The Silver Crow Pheasant Award ,Rajata Chakoram and a cash prize of Rs. 300,000/- (about US$6,000) to the best director.Best Debut Film Award,Rajata Chakoram and a cash prize of Rs. 200,000/- (about US$ 4,000) to the best debut director.Audience Prize ,Rajata Chakoram and cash prize of Rs. 100,000 (about US$ 2,000) to the Director of the most popular film voted by the festival delegates.FIPRESCI Award ,A FIPRESCI Award for the best film chosen by the Fédération Internationale de la Presse Cinématographique.The competition section is restricted to films produced in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Netpac Award ,Netpac award goes to the best film in the competition section from Asia. This year there are two more awards from the fipresci and the Netpac who separately award the best Malayalam films at the festival.

‘Co-productions posing favourable situations’

Attending a Press Conference Zhunag Yuxin, director of the Chinese film “Teeth of Love’, Nei Buboi, director of Philippian movie “The Casket for Hire”, Teresa Prata, director of the Portuguese film “Sleep Walking Land’, Natasha Briar, director of Photography of the film XXY opined that Co-productions and world wide productions are posing much favourable situations for the development of Cinema, according to the directors of the competition movies. “International festivals are the new generation media through which one can communicate his ideas without the constraints of the box office” said Agnidev Chatterje, the director of “Lord! Let the Devil Steal My Soul”. According to Natasha Briar, one of the greatest challenges in Argentena was insufficiency of funds. By braving this difficulty new Argentenian Cinema has been born. “If you have an idea and strong determination to make a movie half of the part is done, you can even make films using a mobile Camera” says Natasha. Teresa Prata said that the most Herculean task she faced to make a movie was the inavailability of talented actors. It took two months for casting the characters with their appropriate role’, she recalled.The free economy of Philippians is much supporting for the film industry in Philipians, opined Neel Bubo ‘More and more producers in Philipians are coming for film making as they find it as a favourable means for better earning. As the Hollywood movies are taking advantage of the popular stardom and the sophistication of technologies in movie making, Chinese movies were facing depletion even in Chinese land, said Zhuang Yuxin. “Harry Porter and James Bond movies are crowd pullers in China, Chinese people have a misconception that the big budget movies are the real good ones, that’s not true” - Yuxin added. “Everyone is having a better chance of taking the Suvarn Chakoram home” was the comment made by the competition film makers when they were asked about their chances of winning. There occurs a variety of notions regarding the digital Cinema and cinema shot on film. Despite of the whether it is digital or film, the cinema is basically of the director rather than producer, most of the directors opined.

‘Festival and Changing Audience Profile‘

Increase in the number of knowledgeable film lovers should be a criteria for judging quality and not the mere increase in the number of films, said film critique from West Bengal ,Vidyathri Chatterjee. He was talking on the subject ‘Festival and Changing Audience Profile’ in the final session of the Open Forum of the 12th International Film Festival of Kerala held at A.K.Hameed Pavilion. K.G.George, Sridhar ,Ajnja. And V.C.Harris participated.While opening the deliberations, George said that the festival has witnessed a change from regular and repeat audiences to greater participation of youngsters. There is seen an increased participation of students from different streams of communication education in the last three to four years. While appreciating this increased youth participation, he said he was saddened at the intolerance and impatience shown by some segments of youth. Expressing oneself through hooting and catcalls is not reflective of our culture, he added. The festival provides an opportunity to assess our filmmaking and learn from foreign films. When compared to foreign films, India is lagging behind in filmmaking. He expressed fear at the growing technological invasion in filmmaking and said that he was pained by the fact that cinema is being removed from humans and their lives. While remarking that the Kerala festival has seen a remarkable spurt, Chatterjee emphasised the need for cinematically aware audiences; audiences that have the capability to understand cinema and have the knowledge of politics. Cinema is both a medium of art and a vehicle of social discourse. There is lesser awareness among the audience of today on the latter role of cinema, he said. Chatterjee remebered that the open forum was first started in cinema. He however had a note of optimism and said that the raw edges that the festival now faces will disappear through regular appreciation courses. “We will have knowledgeable audiences in the next couple of years”, he added.Sridhar felt that the Kerala festival is more “accessible”; one can approach the authorities freely and discuss with them. He said that the introduction of the ten minute rule has enforced a sense of discipline and called for greater awareness of public screenings. Sridhar termed screening of delegates “impractical” and added that he was not in favour of ticketing system. He described hooting as part of the viewing experience. Stating that language of cinema has underwent a drastic change from the 1980s to the present, Ajnja, had words of praise from Hana Makhamlbaf, the 19 year old director of ‘Buddha Collapsed Out of Shame’ for taking up a bold subject. Commenting on the signature film, which witnessed diverse opinions, she said that the film tries to break away from the convention. The panelists said that youth segment of the audiences should see cinema as not just a medium of entertainment but also a medium for conveying serious subjects. There should be greater appreciation for serious cinema, Chatterji said.There emerged varied opinions, suggestions and complaints from the participants Improved transportation facilities for delegates, improvement in description of films in the festival book and avoiding mistakes also were called for. The need for improving projection qualities of theatres was also sought for. George accepted the fact that projection qualities were not appreciable and said that attempts at standardisation of theatres have not been possible.There should be youth participation in the selection of films, in keeping with the changing audience profile, noted Harris. Responding to opinions on signature films, he said that he has asked for the inclusion of a package of signature films in the next IFFK, he concluded.

Resist Hollywood and Bollywood Culture: Sasikumar

A seminar on “Is cinema of resistance possible?” was conducted in connection with IFFK here. Noted journalist Sasikumar opened the discussion by pointing out the need to resist the culture of Hollywood films and mainstream Bollywood films. He also spoke about bridging the void between lived reality and artistic reality. He stressed the need to breakdown stereotype foreign cinema. He questioned why rural India was using represent in popular cinema. Teresa Prata, the director of “Sleepwalking Land’ a feature in competition section of the IFFK 2007, Sasikumar, Journalist and academician, Madhusree Dutta documentary filmmaker and Vidhyarthi Chatterje, noted film critic were the participants in the seminar. N. Madhavan Kutty , senior journalist moderated the discussion. Teresa Prata, who spent her childhood in Mozambique, was of the opinion that filmmakers must have the motivation for the resistance of culture. For this they have to communicate on an acceptable aesthetic as well. She spoke of her use of surrealism as a platform to explain the resistance of culture, which she used in her film ”Sleepwalking Land”. The film she has brilliantly dealt with the subject of civil war in Mozambique.
Madhusrce Dutta , spoke of resistance as a genre and contended that culture of representing resistance had become prior over the reasons or things that the resistance was aimed at this. She was of the opinion that homogenization of people’s sensitivity. She claimed at that resistance itself could lead to hegemonies.
The seminar was well attended, with delegates from all over the world raising concerns and voicing their opinions of having a voice be it and or pro establishment.

Aravindan took Indian films to the world: Madhav Prasad

While delivering G Aravindan Memorial Speech in connection with the 12th International Film Festival of Kerala Sri Madhav Prasad, noted film critic and researcher said that G Aravindan played a great role in taking Indian cinema to the world forum ,but the new generation is unable to understand the creative world of Aravindan.
As a filmmaker Aravindan reflected his times. Sorrows and anxieties of the individuals and the society filled his celluloid ventures. Naturally, his films became flagposts of Kerala’s transcending life and culture, said Madhav Prasad.
Good films come out of struggles within a society. Human actions always undergo changes. In a world of rapid changes only good communucators can be good filmmakers, added Madhav.
Commercial films are designed to sell. So they are inevtably suffering from market compulsions. Most creations nowadays in Hollywood are succumbed to box-office pressure. It is to such a situation in Hollywood that Indian filmdom is looking for new pastures. Hence, the number of path-breaking movies in India is a matter of fingers’ count. Films like Rang De Basanti comes to this catagory of handful films, said Madhav to a well attended gathering at Sree Theatres.
In the function, the logo of IFFK designed by G. Aravindan was handed over Chalachithra Academy by Paul Zakaria, the noted writer. By receiving the logo K R Mohanan, Academy Chairman, said that the logo is an invaluable imprint on the filmworld.

Young Filmmakers Out to Conquer the World

Film making is a way of life for the two Greek film makers, Dimitrius Apostolou (‘In the Shadows’) and Thophilos (‘Show time’), who are seeking an identity through their films. They represent a small country and are trying to find ways to reach out to the world through their art. They echoed the universal problems of the dearth of money to produce and distribute their films at a press conference held at the IFFK Media Center today.
Talking of the current status of Greek cinema Dimitrius said, “Today it is the best than it has ever been but it is not good enough.” He added, “The shortage of funds curbs the creativity of the director to make the quality films he wants to. Not only is the starting up of a film difficult but there is a danger of getting lost in the middle. If the film is completed there are the marketing hassles.”He was appreciative of the platform that the film festivals offered for the promotion of films. He felt it was a medium through which he could share his expression with the rest of the world.
Thophilos listing out the various aspects of film making said that it ‘was all about taking individual decisions but one cannot decide the budget or choose the festivals where the films have to be screened.’ He listed the drawbacks of Greek film makers. He opined that they made films which lacked universal appeal. Secondly, there was the inability to find producers with a vision to make a film happen. In such a scenario filmmaker had to don several roles –that of a director, producer, promoter, distributor and sometimes even the actor. He went on to say that film making was 50% talent and God’ grace and 50% networking. He said ironically the people with real talent were not acknowledged whereas mediocre filmmakers enjoy the limelight.
These pioneers of Greek independent cinema felt co-production was a solution to meet the financial demands. This also opened up a channel for networking which meant a great deal in promotion of films.
Indian filmmaker Anand Subramanian spoke about his debut film ‘Doosra’. He told that it was a black comedy which viewed the underworld from the flipside and is based in Bangalore. This film depicts the foolishness of the underworld and is without the typical shoot-out scenes and gory blood bath the underworld is synonymous with. He was nostalgic that his first film was screened at the IFFK, Thiruvananthapuram being his birthplace.
Earlier on actor Murali released the book ‘Chithranjali’ and the first copy was received by producer, T.V.Chandran.

Tomorrow’s Cinema is e-Cinema’: Anand Parthasarthy.

Digitalization is the order of the day. This seemed to be the maxim that everyone was chanting at the fourth seminar of IFFK conducted by Kerala State Chalachithra Academy and Kinfra Film and Video Park at Hotel Residency today. Anand Parthasarthy, Consultant Editor of ‘The Hindu’, Jayendra Panchapakesan, Director, Real Image Media Technologies, Anthony Gedang, Digital Filmmaker from Phillippines, Agnidev Chatterjee, Indian Film maker, R. Harikumar, and K.Sudhakaran, Chairman and Manager respectively, of Kinfra Film and Video Park participated in the seminar titled ‘New Trends in the Digital Revolution.’ Moderator R.N. Subramanian of LV Film and TV Academy.
Overviews of upcoming trends in digital filmmaking, India’s promising position on the global front in terms of the digital use, and the apathy to this digital boom by some of the film fraternity were the areas which Anand Parthasarthy laid bare.His comprehensive PowerPoint presentation showcased how changing technology has impacted the making of films from yesteryears to this day.
Quoting veteran Adoor Gopalakrishnan he said that the ‘dream like quality of black and white films was shattered by digitalization’. He also quoted Film Archivist P.K. Nair who felt that digitalization was just another business gimmick which poses a threat to the creativity of the film makers. Real Image Media Technologies Director, Jayendra Panchapakesan highlighted how this company played a pivotal role in ‘providing cost effective solutions to break the digital divide’. Lower distribution costs but higher quality, effective means to battle video piracy, ensuring accountability by the distributors and providing digital archives for convenient storage of old as well as new films are some of the advantages of digital cinema which he listed out. He explained that the indifference to adopt new technology was because the exhibitor would reap no benefits and huge investments had to made to upgrade theatres.
Antony Gedang, producer cum businessman from Phillippines, talked about digital distribution and exhibition of films. He threw light on new concepts of digital marketing. He described how encoding, compressing and packaging of films without compromising on quality are possible with the latest technology. Such films will be accessible to any screen anywhere and anytime. He also spoke about the difficulties independent film makers in his country have to face due to financial constraints as well as the competition from the national TV channels which produce and market their own films.

Indian filmmaker Sridhar Rangayan added that besides these obstacles independent film makers found it difficult to publicize their films as against commercial films with mainstream actors. Kolkatha based film maker Agnidev Chatterjee raised many a skeptical eyebrow when he aid that his movie ‘Lord Let the Devil Steal My Soul’ was made on a meager budget of 5 lakhs. He thus proved how it is possible to rise above financial constraints and make decent films with the aid of digital production.

K. Sudhakaran spoke on Kinfra’s contribution to the industrial growth in Kerala. He added besides providing top-notch post-production facilities at Kinfra they also aimed at producing ‘industry ready’ animators.

Anand Parthasarthy had the last word when he said that the number of digital films and theatres with digital projectors will increase significantly and that ‘tomorrow’s cinema will be e-cinema’.

Malayalam Cinema: Changing Patterns of Consumption

Lively and animated are the adjectives by which one may describe the fourth day’s Open Forum on the subject ‘Malayalam Cinema of Today’. Held as part of the ongoing 12th International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) at the A.K.Hameed Pavilion the fully packed venue reflected the interest of the audiences in the subject. Commenting on the situation today, Chairman Kerala State Film Development Coparation K.G.George said that parallel filmmakers have to contend with the super star system, which has become a pre-condition of the market. He agreed that money is important in filmmaking. Sharing their thoughts on the subject were panel members, Shyama Prasad, Director, ‘Ore Kadal’, Avira Rebecca, Director, ‘Thakara Chenda’, Roshan Andrews, Director, ‘Notebook’ and Sunil, Director, ‘Kaliyorukkam’. The moderator, Reji.M.Damodaran opened by hoping that this platform would emerge as a forum to deeper issues pertaining to Malayalam cinema. On filmmaking, Shymaprasad said that the subject of the open forum that should determine the approach. Also the situation today is one where there can be no water-tight compartment as Malayalam cinema. “More than the identity of Malayalam cinema, I am more concerned about the identity of cinema as a medium of expression in general” – he said. Agreeing with Shyama Prasad, Roshan Andrews said that the approach is determined to suit the concept. His films drew from his experiences and what he has has read, heard or seen. In the case of Notebook, he said that it was the love for the concept that prompted him to make the film. Stating that he had different views from the other panelists, Avira Rebecca said that cinema can be viewed either as a craft or an expression of the human mind. His films are removed from the technical and aesthetic attempts of filmmaking and attempt more at reflecting the human mind. He reiterated that he gave more importance to ideas than techniques. Sunil, Director of Kaliyorukkam spoke about his 50 minute film and described it as a political one. This venture was supported by the Grama Panchayat of Kannapuram in Kannur district. This film, which was filmed in 10 days, received some support from Kerala State Film Development Corporation with the elders and children in the village acting in it. When asked about his plans for their wider screening, Sunil replied that he bore no aspirations for a wide release for his film and had plans of screening it with the support of Film Societies. A participant while observing that filmmakers of today shy away from venturing into bold subjects and restrict themselves to orthodox subjects, said that Ore Kadal and Thakara Chenda were examples of ventures that dared to convey bold themes. As such they deserved to be in competition section of the IFFK. This was received by the audience with a round of applause. In making films like these, the producers are left with no profit and wanted the Chalachithra Academy to help youngsters who wanted to explore such themes and subjects. Films such as these must be screened at least once a week in all the districts of Kerala.

On the subjects and treatment of films, Shyama Prasad said that it was upto each filmmaker to decide the content and subject of their films. Films could reflect human problems or their personal problems. The choice of amplification of subject should be left to the filmmaker. Andrews said that the message that he wanted to convey through Notebook was that children are best raised through parents. The idea emanated from his his experience of staying in a boarding school. There was witnessed an animated discussion between a lady participant and the director on the issue of portraying ‘weak’ women through his film. Andrews replied by seeking a clarity on the term ‘weak’. He said that he tried to project girls/women who have the freedom of seeking love and said that these could not be characterised as weak. He had also tried to show a positive role of the media, especially in enlightening his character on the issue of abortion.

The discussion then steered to the importance of money in filmmaking. Avira Rebecca said that he had invested 40 lakhs in his film but has not been able to get any returns. Cinema needs promoting by the Government

On the positive and negative aspects of films today, Andrews said today’s cinema revolves more around the hero. There are happening societal and global changes which impact cinema. Agreeing with his fellow director, Shyama Prasad said that the environment of consumption of cinema has changed. In the 1960s cinema used to be the main medium of entertainment. Today when there are other channels of entertainment, the filmmaker works in a crowded environment. There is also the entry of films from otehr languages, Hollywood films and films from the Internet. The challenge of the filmmaker today is to bring more audiences in a short period. The profile of audience is changing. Audiences come to the theatres looking for a dynamic, visual experience. On why popular films are perceived as anti people, Shyama Prasad clarified that each subject required a different treatment, which is in-built in it. “I believe in making an engaging story and not necessarily superficial entertainers, he reiterated.

K.G.George concluded the discussion by stating that he anticipated some changes in the patterns of exhibition in the near future. The entry of mutliplexes will enable this change and help recover costs. KSFDC has plans in this direction, he added. When he asked about the inclusion of films like Ore Kadal and Thakara Chenda in the competitive section, he said that the selection of films by the Jury is based on a common decision. Jury Committees have their limitations. While awards are very important, it is not enough the judge the quality of the award.

Malayalam Film Packages for Foreign Festivals

The Kerala State Chalachitra Academy would make special packages for screening Malayalam films in festivals abroad, the Kerala State Chalachitra Academy Chairman K.R.Mohanan said.The package would include classics as well as new films. Most foreign film festivals are based on themes and as such packages would be developed along various themes. In the first phase, Malayalam films with Spanish, English and French subtitling will be made. The work of collecting films for this purpose will be started. This is part of the efforts to find a market for our films in the global market, he added.

Aravindan Memorial Lecture Tomorrow
The Aravindan Memorial Lecture, as part of the ongoing 12th IFFK, held on 12th December. M Madhava Prasad, film critique delivered the lecture, in the Sree Theatre.

Discussion on Ethnic Cinema Evokes Mixed Reactions

The Open Forum on the subject ‘Cinema from Ethnic Societies’ held at the A.K.Hameed Pavilon at the New Theatre premises today (10th December) brought out mixed opinions from the panelists. The panel members included, Jafar Panahi from Iran and Jury Chairman, Dimitris Apostolou, Director of ‘In the Shadows’ from Greece, Gonul Domez Colin, Turkish writer and critique and Nedzad Begovic, Actor/Director of “Totally Personal” from Bosnia-Herzgovania. Opening the discussions, Gonul Domez Colin described the situation in Turkey and Turkish cinema. There are around 17 million Kurds in Turkey, who could be described as ethnic. The Greeks, Armenians and Jews (most of whom are leaving) constitute the minorities. While the minorities can open their schools, ethnic Kurds cannot open their schools. Till a few years back, Kurds were forbidden from speaking their own language. Turkish cinema has for long ignored the issues of the minorities and the Kurds. Turkish cinema had really no place from the ethnic groups, the Kurds. Filmmakers had to code messages because they could not convey their messages directly, she said. Kurds were relegated to the background and were represented as Turks from the mountains. The situation has now changed for the better, with the opening of a Cultural Centre where young people can make documentaries, short films and can present their culture through films. She also acknowledged the role of Greeks, Armenians and Jews to Turkish cinema, especially women from these parts who filled in women characters in a country which forbid women.
Dimitris Apostolou, Director, ‘In the Shadows’ said, “he was not sure if there is anything called Greek ethnic cinema”. Characterising his film as having ethinc content, he described the story of the film. His film is set in the 1950s, which has been a hard time for the Greeks and travels through the eyes of a young man who has had no dreams. The protagonist is inspired by the travelling shadow theatre and begins to have dreams. His intent through the film was to bring out the fact that everyone had a right to dream. Adding to the dialogue, Gonul Domez Colin spoke about the exchange of Turks from Greece to Turkey and vice versa. While this was a success on paper, it caused much pain and miseries to the families, who lost their homes in the process of migration. Dimitris Apostolou added that there was however no hostility between the families who lived as neighbours. Nedzad Begovic, the actor/director of ‘Totally Personal’ from Bosnia-Herzgovania spoke of the horrible period of aggression in Bosnia-Herzgovania during 1992 – 1995. Bosnia-Herzgovania consists of a mixed society, with Muslims, Orthodoxs, Catholics and minorities. “Our value reflects mixed society and films and our perspective protects mixed society. We are not comfortable with divisions”. He said that the Serajov Group of Authors (SAGA) was started with a intent to bring out the conditions during the period of aggression. The collaborating filmmakers made 50-60 films in barely subsistence conditions. These films were screened in over 250 cities of the world, he said with a tinge of pride in his voice. The floor was then open to questions. A member from the audience wanted to know if cinema is a medium to convey social messages or is it a medium of humour. In response to this, Dimitris Apostolou said that cinema is a reflection of ideas. The idea might stem from anything, including an irking thought or what one has heard, saw or read and which strikes interest. Nedzad Begovic shared similar thoughts and noted, “My experience has been that people understood artists more than politicians”. Speaking of his experience in his first film he said, “I was filming in a war situation. I was not sure if I would survive but the thought that bothered me was that the film project would be killed if I am no more. As artists we cannot change the world but we can touch somebody. Our work is just a small part of a large mission”. Jafar Panahi, who joined in late, said he gets his ideas from social themes and from the place he lives. “I see my people, their lives and understand the themes and problems. It is important for a filmmaker to keep one’s eyes and senses open to find ideas”. When he was asked as to why he was not leaving Iran in spite of so much pressure, he narrated the incident in 2003 when he was interrogated by the Government. He was asked as to why he was not fleeing the country. He said that it was the policy of the Government (Iranian) so that open minds would leave the country. “I am doing what I feel is the best and the most sincere way of serving my society”.Jafar Panahi said that he made his film “Offside” based on his daughter’s entry into a football stadium. In Iran, women are forbidden from watching football match in the stadium. His daughter expressed his interest to watch a match and remained insistent even after Panahi explained to her that it was not possible. Panahi agreed to take her along on the condition that she should return back if she is not let in. At the stadium, Panahi pleaded that his daughter be let in, but the authorities did not recede. He asked his daughter to return back and proceeded to the stadium to watch the match. Within ten minutes, he heard his daughter call ‘Papa’ from a seat behind his. Panahi was perplexed and wanted to know how she got in. His daughter refused to tell him and said, “Women would find a way”. His film “Offside” is based on this incident and explains the processes by which a woman can watch a football in a stadium.
Panahi also narrated another incident which transpired earlier in the evening today. His daughter called him from Teheran and was crying. The reason, she was under detention for the past 10 hours for not wearing a long enough skirt. He questioned the participants as to if he should rush back leaving his duty to be with his daughter? Or carry it in his mind and portray to a larger world through the medium of films?

Clichéd ‘song and dance sequences’ would soon die out -Nasseruddin Shah

Nasseruddin Shah ,the renowned actor said that contemporary Indian cinema was synonymous with Bollywood and this was not a positive trend. While the films from the other regions of India were isolated he predicted that the fascination with these clichéd ‘song and dance sequences’ would soon die out. He was talking at the second edition of the Open Forum of the 12th IFFK which debated ‘Contemporary Indian Cinema-Challenges and Prospects’. Jabbar Patel, P.T. Kunjumohammed and Sridhar Rangayan were participated. B.Unnikrishnan moderated the proceedings .On a lighter note Shah added that Indian cuisine had substance which was lacking in Indian cinema. He said unless filmmakers take steps to salvage Indian cinema, a revolution in Indian cinema could not be a reality. Noted filmmaker Jabbar Patel opined that it was the content of Indian cinema accessible to the world that should be focused on. He added it was the onus of the upcoming filmmakers to create meaningful cinema as against mainstream Bollywood cinema. He said that ‘Middle Cinema’ will continue the new wave generated by parallel cinema earlier on. Parallel cinema lacked genres while gaining expertise on specific themes. He stated that the Parallel cinema lacked in genres while gaining expertise on specific themes. Middle cinema will transcend these limitations. Sridhar Rangayan, gave an overview on the struggles of ‘underground’/‘queer’ film makers to deal with contemporary themes. Though the digital trends were a boon, he said production and distribution expenses and censorship have curtailed the wings of the new age Indian film makers. He described the stigma associated with making films on homosexual and transgender themes.P.T.Kunjumuhammed said how it is an inferior mindset that has caused many a regional film not reaching a global audience. He said this in the context of his film ‘Paradesi’ being rejected at a film festival as it dealt with an international rather than a regional theme. This resulted in some members of the audience saying that being a regional film was the film’s identity and strength and not a weakness.Jabber Patel said cinema was a visual medium and therefore language took a backseat. The need of the hour was to take Indian cinema to a universal level by depicting universal themes. Economic, political, and familial issues are global and presenting these with an Indian perspective is where the future of Indian Cinema lies.

A DAY OF 44 films in the IFFK

The second day witnessed the inauguration of the Malayalam Cinema and the Indian Cinema packages at the IFFK. A total of 3 homages have been screened – Swedish director Ingmar Bergman, Indian Cinematographer K.K.Mahajan, and Malayali film maker P.Bhaskaran. The open forum was inaugurated at New Theatre by noted Chilean Director Miguel Littins. Actor and jury member Nasuruddin Shah presented the film “Khuda ke liye”, one in which he has acted. Other notable films of the day were:

1. Father :- It is a Russian Movie directed by Ivan Solovov. The movie captures the emotional turmoil of a Russian War hero, who on his way back home meets a young girl with whom he spends 2 days but is reminded of his duties midway and goes back to his family. The movie has already won accolades at the Montreal World Film Festival – 2007.

2. All About My Mother : As a Director who enthralled the audience at the previous edition of the IFFK with his movie ‘Volver’. Pedro Almodovar is not a new face, so much so tht a whole package is in store for the audience this time around. All about my mother is a Spanish movie which deputes the dilemma of a single mother who is forced to recite the story o her transvestite husband to her son on his birthday, and who is in the end goes in search of her husband after her son died in an accident.

3. After the Wedding: is a Danish Movie directed by Sussane Bier. It portrays the life of Jacob, the protagonist who dedicated his life to help in street kids in India. When the orphanage he was working was under the threat of closing, he gets a peculiar offer from a Danish businessman, who offers him 4 million dollars in return for Jacob attending his daughters wedding. The wedding becomes a meeting between the past and present for Jacob and puts him in a dilemma.

The Iranian film Buddha collapsed out of shame heralds the beginning...

M.A. Baby , Minister for Education and Culture presided over the inaugural ceremony. Noted Chilean filmmaker Miguel Littin has described cinema as a tool that provides light to the hearts of people. Mr. Littin was speaking at the inaugural ceremony of the 12th International Film Festival of Kerala, which witnessed a colourful opening at the Nishagandhi Auditorium. Mr. Littin, who was the chief guest of the function, said cinema has the “power to forge love, friendship and relationships.” Kamal Hassan, Actor , recalled his career as a dance assistance in a Thiruvananthapuram studio. “I started my career here,” he said. Thirteen artistes from the Malayalam film world were honoured on the occasion.The inaugural function was followed by a cultural presentation ‘Rhythm of Kerala’ featuring the folk arts of the State..
A total of 238 films from 58 countries will be screened at the eight-day event, which also includes retrospectives of Spanish film-maker Pedro Almodovar and Czech director Jiri Menzel. Around 7,000 delegates have already registered for the event

Buddha collapsed out of shame

The 12 th edition of the International Film Festival of Kerala' will open today with a film from Iran ‘Buddha collapsed out of shame' directed by Hana Makhmalbaf, the nineteen year old younger daughter of the Iranian Director Mohsen Makhmalbaf.. 'Buddha collapsed out of shame' - which bagged the award for the best debutant director in Montreal festival and special jury award in the 55thSan Sebastian film festival. The 48th edition of the Thessaloniki Film Festival, which concluded in Greece last week, praised Hana Makhmalbaf ‘s first feature “Buddha Collapsed Out Of Shame” with its “Woman and Equal Opportunities Award . It has also been screened many festivals including Toronto International Film Festival 2007.

The organisers of Tokyo Filmex Film Festival, who are planning to publish a book of photography on Tokyo city through the eyes of famous directors in coopration with Kodak, have invited Hana Makhmalbaf as the youngest director to take part in the project. During the festival, Fuji TV is also shooting a documantary on Hana Makhmalbaf . The title of the film comes from Hana’s father, Makhmalbaf.

According to Hana, Mohsen Makhmalbaf meant that “even a statue can be ashamed of witnessing all this violence and harshness happening to these innocent people and, therefore, collapse.” Hana says that “most of the film is shot under the remains of Buddha statutes, which were destroyed by Taliban in 2001, in Bamian of Afghanistan. I visited many schools in Bamian and its suburbs for my actors. I saw thousands of children and auditioned hundreds until I cast the few whom I felt best suited my story. I visited many schools in Bamian and its suburbs for my actors. I saw thousands of children and auditioned hundreds until I cast the few whom I felt best suited my story. Directing the children is hard but rewarding at the same time. It was hard because they weren’t familiar with cinema. In their city there has never been a film shot before. They have never even had a local TV station so they could get used to seeing their own image in a box. It was rewarding because to see all those different children with so much energy and beautiful innocent faces.”

The beauty and grief of present-day Afghanistan receives epic, poetic treatment from Hana Makhmalbaf, the youngest member of master director Mohsen Makhmalbaf. Set in Bamian, the actual town where the Taliban’s destruction of cultural treasures sickened the world, Buddha Collapsed Out of Shame is an exotic and frightening journey into the minds of the children who live in that deserted area – and children affected by violence everywhere.
Like many Iranian filmmakers, Hana chooses a little girl as her narrative engine. When we meet this extraordinary young girl, Baktay (Nikbakht Noruz), all she wants to do is to go to the school for girls that has opened up across the river. But she must overcome the Herculean obstacles to attend, starting with her family’s extreme poverty and her mother’s indifference. In one astounding sequence, she has to negotiate the purchase of the requisite pen and paper through a complex transaction involving stolen eggs. She must also traverse a no man’s land populated by a band of wild boys who delight in war games. She is “captured” by them going both ways – once as an American spy, then as a Taliban spy – and these scenes encapsulate Makhmalbaf’s thesis about how violent “liberation” refracts in a child’s mind.
This 81 minutes film feels extremely authentic, largely due to the stripped-down neo-realist style of the Baf family’s projects and the fact that they cast local non-professional actors for all the roles. But this is not a documentary. The film artfully reveals all sorts of storyline surprises and political critiques despite its simple exterior. The little girl is almost too cute for words, evoking gushes of compassion toward her abundant trials.
The film is produced by Maysam Makhmalbaf for Makhmalbaf Film House/ Wild Bunch , Cinematographer :Ostad Ali ,Screenplay :Marziyeh Meshkini ,Editor: Mastaneh Mohajer ,Sound: Hossein Mahdavi Music: Tolib Khan Shahidi .The cast including Nikbakht Noruz, Abdolali Hoseinali, Abbas Alijome.
Hana Makhmalbaf was born in Tehran. She has been studying cinema at her family’s Makhmalbaf Film School since she left elementary school in the second grade. She was a script supervisor and still photographer on several of her family’s films before she directed her first short, The Day My Aunt Was Ill (97). “The Day My Aunt Was Ill”, was presented at the Locarno Festival in 1997, when Hana was only 9. At the age of 14, she made the documentary called Joy of Madness about her sister Samira Makhmalbaf directing At Five in the Afternoon . At the age 15, Hana published her first book of poems entitled “Visa for One Moment”.. Buddha Collapsed Out of Shame is her first feature film..

Nikbakht Noruz in ‘Buddha collapsed out of shame'

Fipresci, NATPAC and Media Awards in IFFK

Fipresci (International Film Critics ) NATPAC (Network for Promotion of Asian Cinema) and Media Awards in the IFFKIFFK venue ,ThiruvananthapuramA.MeeraSahib ,Columnist The IFFK is the only festival in India which constituted both Fipresci and NATPAC awards .Fipresci jury is headed by film journalist Sheila Johnston. Turkish director Cunyet Chebenoyen and Indian documentary director Varala Anand are members. In NATPAC (Network for Promotion of Asian Cinema) award section Anne Dem Geroe, founder of Brisbane International Film Festival is in the chair of the jury. The other members are Lebanese film personality and critic Jocelyn Saab, film director K. Hariharan.There will also be special awards for media reporting in both print and broadcast categories.

Nalupenugal and Paradesi in Competition

Another attraction of the festival is the competitive section in which 14 films which were selected from 450 entries received from 44 countries. Among these Adoor Gopalakrishnan’s ‘Nalu Pennungal’ (Four Women) and Paradesi (Non Citizen) by P.T. Kunjumohammed are included.

Retro and Homage in the IFFK 2007

In the ‘Retrospective section films of Im Kwon Taek, Jiri Menzel and Pedro Almodovar will be showcased. 19 films will be shown in the ‘Homages section’. It is the tribute to Ingmar Bergman, Michelangelo Antonini, Istvan Gal, Edward Yang, P. Bhaskaran, C.V. Sreeraman and K.K. Mahajan by screening their movies.

Kamal Hassan to inaugurate the 12th edition of International Film Festival of Kerala

Kamalhassan , celebrated actor , will inaugurate the 12th edition of the International Film Festival of Kerala to be held here from 7th December . The curtains of the festival will go up at 6 pm at the Nishagandhi Auditorium, Kanakakkunnu in Thiruvananthapuram. Miguel Littin , renowned Chilean Director will be the Guest of honor .Preparations are in full swing for the annual event, as Thiruvananthapuram gears up to celebrate 231 films from over 54 countries. The inaugural function is followed by a cultural event organized by the Folklore Academy and directed by Pramod Payyannur named ‘Rythm of Kerala’. Hana Makhmal Baf’s ‘Buddha Collapsed out of Shame’ will be screened thereafter. More than 7000 delegates are expected to participate in the in the eight day long festival.. Jafar Panahi ,illustrious Iranian Director will chair the Jury . The jury members are Naky Sy Savene, (African Actress ), Agneizka Holland (Polish film Play-wright ), Naseeruddin Shah (actor ), and Rigoberto Lopez ( Cuban film academy director ) .Thirteen film personalities, who made outstanding contributions to Malayalam cinema during 1960’s Film producers M.O. Joseph, K.N. Ravindranathan Nair, R.S. Phrabhu, former director of film archives P.K. Nair, Music director M.S. Viswanathan, M.A. Arjunan, playback singer S. Janaki, Art director S. Konnanattu, actresses K.P.A.C Lalitha, K.R. Vijaya, T.R. Omana and Santha Devi, Makeup artist K. Velappan will be felicitated at the inaugural function.