Curtains fall on 1st M’laya International Film Fest

SHILLONG, March 18: The five-day Meghalaya International Film Festival held for the first time in the city ended on Saturday. The first Khasi film Ka Synjuk Ri Ki Laiphew Syiem produced and directed by (L) Hamlet Bareh Ngapkynta way back in 1981, was screened in the main auditorium where his son Ribor and other family members were present. The film has now been digitised and archived by St Anthony’s College, Media Department after much hard work. A panel discussion followed the screening where at least two actors in that film – AS Mawlong and Bah Signal — gave their views on how the filming happened at the time and how they all acted out of a sense of commitment and not for any monetary considerations.
It may be mentioned that several film producers and directors from Mumbai and abroad were in Shillong to engage with the audience post the screening and to also give workshops to budding film makers on the art of filmmaking which includes scrip writing, dialogues, production, certification et al. Each of the dignitaries from the film world expressed their delight at being in Meghalaya and said that the following year would ensure greater success after learning lessons from the first venture.
Speaking at the closing ceremony, president of the Meghalaya Film Makers’ Association (MeFilMa), Commander Shangpliang, thanked the Meghalaya government for the support given to the event at every step of the way. He said the government has declared filmmaking as an industry and is giving it all the fillip needed. He pointed out that the film industry could be a great employer but there has to be a proper training institution for the various skills needed.
Actress Sonam Uangden of Bhutan who starred in the film Gangnam Girls was all praise for the hospitality provided and regaled the audience with her personal encounters with different individuals. She said, “I am coming back because I love this place and its people.”
Vietnamese Director, Mai Thu Huyen, whose film Kieu was hugely admired walked to the stage in a glamorous maroon and golden gown and created quite a stir among the audience. She too expressed her happiness at the experience in Shillong and encouraged young film makers to make films that would be shown the world over. Amongst those present at the concluding function were Director Barnali Ray Shukla, Sanjay Mishra, actor-comedian who acted in Golmaal, Dhamaal etc.
Chief guest for the closing function, Minister for Information and Public Relations, Ampareen Lyngdoh was all praise for the team of MeFilMa for pulling off a brilliant event. She said that the government is committed to investing in the film industry so that local talent is nurtured. She thanked the artistes, writers, and directors who have brought their films to Meghalaya for the festival.
Lauding Commander Shangpliang and his team, Ampareen said, “The Government of Meghalaya will encourage your leadership to take such events forward.”
Ampareen also lauded flutist Benedict Hynniewta for his enthralling performance. Stating that the Khasi, Jaintia and Garo films have now come of age, Ampareen said that films need an audience and it is the media that can spread the message about the films being screened. “Unless there is an audience, films will not run and the public will watch a film if they hear about it in the media.”
Later there was a jam session for the participants of the International Film Festival.

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