The 25th Kolkata International Film Festival (KIFF) offers a complete bouquet of choices for the cinemagoers to choose from. While there is a complete category of selected German animation films, on the eve of Children’s Day KIFF is going to have a special screening of four films and a selection of animated movies for children today.
The premises of Nandan complex, the film and culture centre in Kolkata and the primary venue of Kolkata International Film Festival (KIFF) is abuzz with the movie-lovers queuing up to watch their favourites from a stellar line-up of movies, most of which are having their India premier at the festival. With a few Oscar nominations from different countries also in the list, the line-up this year has set a record of screening the highest number of films in this festival with 366 movies from 76 countries.
The eight-day festival (November 8-15) has an amalgamation of cinemas from all genres, catering to the different audiences along with intriguing lectures, masterclasses, seminars and talks lined up to give a more in-depth look at the film industry. The evening sessions held with eminent personalities from the Bengali film industry has touched upon various topics ranging from music in films to transition of screen from ’70 mm to screen’ to the budget of the movies- they discussed about everything that is a part of the films.
The Unheard India section in its second year has also provided a great confluence of cinemas in different languages ranging from Bodo to Tuli, stressing on the requirement to keep these rare Indian languages alive.
Platform for independent film-makers
Vikas Kalpana Dwivedi who is in Kolkata with his movie Atlas in the competition on Indian Language Films expressed his gratitude towards KIFF for giving a platform to filmmakers like him. This is the first film in Bagheli language of central-Indian state Madhya Pradesh to be selected for an international festival which showcases the intricacies and balance in a married life and familial bonds. While talking with Media India Group, he expresses his happiness for being selected at KIFF, “I’m really happy for the opportunity given by the Kolkata International Film Festival to my movie. People in Madhya Pradesh will also now watch my movie because it was shown here. I feel that film should not be made to make money but to express your thoughts. Life has birth and death…we have already taken birth. So let’s do something impressive and fruitful before we die.”
Another independent filmmaker Satyajit Dutta is at the festival with his debut film Monalisa which is being showed in the Bengali Panorama category. “My movie is about emotions and celebrating 25th year of KIFF is also an emotion, so it is really great to have my first film, a milestone for me to be screened at such a great platform,” says Dutta to Media India Group. The lead actress of the movie, Aparupa Banerjee, a dancer and an MPhil student also expressed her excitement for their first venture getting such a big platform.
A colourful bouquet of international films
The Kolkata International Film Festival has got some of the finest international movies to have their Indian premier. Not only have these films garnered applause at the festivals in Berlin, Cannes, Venice and Toronto, a few of them are this year’s Oscar entries from respective countries for the Best Foreign Film category. Czech Republic’s The Painted Bird is competing in the International Competition: Innovation in Moving Images; Russia’s Beanpole is being screened under Cinema International category, while Spain’s Pain and Glory, Romania’s The Whistlers and Palestine’s It Must Be Heaven are being shown under Maestro category.
“I think for us, many Bhutanese, we have high regard for Kolkata. For us Kolkata is known for its art and artistry. Coming here we are so much overwhelmed as there is so much support from public. The government is supportive here when all around the world support for art and artistry is going down. In Kolkata it is still strong and vibrant and I just wish that it remains the same and everyone can look up to its collaborative effort from government and public,” says Pawo Choying Dorji from Bhutan who is at the festival with his directorial debut Lunana- A Yak in the Classroom in the International Competition category, while talking to Media India Group.
The movie was shot on location in the world’s most remote school, the Lunana School, situated in the Himalayan glaciers. Due to the lack of resources at the location, it was shot on solar energy. One of his friends from India, Kakee Keith Liao was at the festival for the first time to support him and said, “I am really moved by the way he has portrayed the emotions of the whole journey. For me this was also an experience, as I don’t get these feelings in multiplexes or commercial movies. This is how like film is communicating emotions and feelings which can’t be explained. So many people from different walks of life are coming together here to watch a movie, it is exciting.”