Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Shillong to host Indian Film Fest

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SHILLONG: The Pine City will be treated to the best of recent Indian cinema at the Indian Panorama Film Festival, to be held in the city from March 3-6.

Collaborating in organising the festival is the Directorate of Information and Public Relations and the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting through the Directorate of Film Festivals.

Eleven films would be screened over the four-day event that will also include a range of workshops open to filmmakers, students and the general public. Entry is free to all events.

Cinema, as was pointed out at a press conference to announce details of the festival on Wednesday, has a way of breaking boundaries and can also prove to be a major contributor to the local economy.

Leading names in the Indian film industry have been invited to attend. Noted actors Farhan Akhtar, Abhay Deol and Nawazuddin Siddiqui, well known directors Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, Veena Bakshi, K Hariharan, Boney Kapoor and Giorgio Garini from Italy are expected to add to the Festival’s success.

One of the films that will be screened is Ka Lad by Meghalaya’s Dondor Lyngdoh and Gautam Syiem. Bhaag Milkha Bhaag will open the celebration of cinema. Other films on offer include Satyanweshi (directed by late Rituparno Ghosh), Ship of Theseus, Lessons in Forgetting and The Coffin Maker. Cinematic delights in Assamese (Baandhon, Ko.Yad) and Manipuri (Leipaklei) will also be screened.

Films will be screened at U Soso Tham Auditorium, while the State Convention Centre will play host to a seminar and workshops on filmmaking, cinematography, audio in cinema and acting.

The Convention Centre will also be the location for an exhibition on 100 Years of Indian Cinema, which will be organised in partnership with the Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity (DAVP).

Speaking at the press conference on Wednesday, Rajeev Jain, Director of the Film Festivals, explained that one of the reasons for taking the Film Festival around the country is to promote the culture of filmmaking.

“Indian Panorama is a section of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI), the largest film festival in the country,” Jain said. “The films selected represent the best of Indian cinema and are examples of cinematic and aesthetic excellence.

“We hope that the Festival is able to promote the culture of filmmaking in Shillong,” he said.

Besides channelling the interests and aspirations of filmmakers in the State, a special session will be conducted during the Festival to promote Meghalaya as a film destination and will see the participation of Chief Minister Dr. Mukul Sangma who will inaugurate the session.

Jain described this as a particularly important aspect of the Festival and one that could have immediate benefits for the State.

“Films also have a way of uniting people of different cultures and languages,” pointed out Shankar Mohan, Director of IFFI.

“Cinema speaks a common language,” Mohan said. “It has an immediacy of transcending barriers whether cultural or political. It’s able to connect immediately with any cultural ethos. And with a view to bringing in more of a divergent cinema, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting held a huge section of North Eastern Cinema at the IFFI in November.”

Around 20 films from the region were shown at the IFFI in Goa last year, he added.

“With these kinds of initiatives, the DIPR is laying the seeds for a long-term project. Like any State in India, if the economy is to improve and culture spread, the next generation has to know more about Shillong and that can be done through the medium of cinema,” Mohan added.

The inaugural function will be held on March 3 where Governor Dr. KK Paul will attend as chief guest. A surprise screening and the closing ceremony will be held on the concluding day.

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