Monday, December 24, 2007

‘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.

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