International Film Festivals in India are no longer a prerogative of the big cities. Kolhapur in Maharashtra, one of the earliest filmmaking centres in the country, has shown a glimpse of things to emerge in future by organizing first international film festival.
The festival is part of the initiative undertaken by the Federation of Film Societies of India (FFSI) which is celebrating its golden jubilee this year.
Inaugurated on June 3rd, Kolhapur IFF went on till June 9th. The FFSI’s member in Kolhapur the Kalamaharshi Baburao Painter Film Society (KBPFS) had shouldered the responsibility of organizing the international film festival with support from district adminstration and world cinema distributor NDTV Lumiere.
Script writer of Tare Jamin Par Amol Gupte inaugurated the IFF Kolhapur at Keshvrao Bhosale Theater. Inaugural function was attened by actor Sachin Khedekar and FFSI’s deputy chairman Kiran Shantaram. During the function Oscar awardee costume designer Bhanu Athaiya and veteran actress Sulochana was honoured with life time achievement awards. The Chorus (France) was screened as an inaugural film.
The IFF Kolhapur evoked an overwhelming response from the public. The houseful boards had to be put up outside the KBPFS offices two day before the beginning of the IFF Kolhapur. 600 delegates participated in the festival, out of which 150 were students.
In world cinema category Jellyfish (Israel), The Yacoubian Building (Egypt), The horse thieves (France, Belgium, Canada), Turtles Can Fly (Iraq, Iran and France), The Edge of Heaven (Germany, Turkey and Italy), Spring Summer Fall Winter and Spring (Korea) were screened while in world classics La Dolce Vita (Italy), My Uncle (France), Jumping Over Puddles Again (Czech) were shown.
While there was a package of few documentaries by the Films Division which include Oscar nominated The House that Ananda Built. While as a tribute to late Vijay Tendulkar, the film Manthan was screened. On other hand milestone Kannada parallel films Chomanna Dudi, Ghatasharaddha and Samskara were also shown.
In New Wave Marathi films’ section Harishchandrachi Factory (director Paresh Mokashi), Gabhricha Paus (Satish Manvar), Gandh (Sachin Kundalkar), Jogwa (Rajiv Patil), Marmabandha (Dinesh Bhonsle) were screened.
The closing ceremony took place at Keshvrao Bhosale Theatre on June 9 of which Films Division’s director Kuldeep Sinha was the chief guest. The personalities who attended the ceremony include director Jabbar Patel, FFSI’s general secretary Sudhir Nandgaonkar, National Film Archives of India’s director Vijay Jadhav.
The film Harishchandrachi Factory got the public choice award. While accepting the award the film’s director Mokashi said the award was not only for his film but also for all the five in New Wave Marathi Films’ section.
Addressing the closing ceremony filmmaker Jabbar Patel said, “The youths have creativity and talent in abundance and the future of the Marathi films depends upon them”. NFAI director Vijay Jadhav underlined the importance of the film preservation while Film Division director Kuldeep Sinha spoke regarding screening of the Films Division’s documentaries in the theater. The closing ceremony concluded by the screening of “The Presidents Barber” (Korea).
The open forum evoked a good response. Bhanu Athaiya, Sachin Khedekar, Amol Gupte, actresses Sonali Kulkarni, Neena Kulkarni, film critiques Abhijit Deshpande, Santosh Pathare, Sandeep Manjarekar, Suresh Gudale, Arun Naik, Neena Mestri-Naik, theater activist Vijay Powar, author Rajan Gavas, producer Prashant Pethe participated in the open forums on different days. All the forums were moderated by former editor Dashrath Parekar. The issues regarding the importance of the IFF and the participation of the media, film criticism and appreciation, the new wave Marathi cinema, different issues pertaining to marketing and distribution aspects of the Marathi cinema were debated in the open forum.
KBPFS’ president Chandrakant Joshi and secretary Dilip Bapat coordinated the IFF Kolhapur while the district collector Laxmikant Deshmukh presided over the organizing committee. The IFF was backed by the various industrial houses and organizations in the district including Sanjay Ghodawat Group of Industries, Kolhapur Hotel Malak Sangh, Radio Mirchi, Hindalco Industries Limited, SG Phyto Pharma pvt limited supported the IFF Kolhapur.
For maintaining the continuity of the IFF Kolhapur a trust has been formed. The state government has also released Rs5 Lakh grant for the IFF Kolhapur. The initiatives have been started for arranging the Asian Film Festival in Kolhapur by October. The district administration has a plan for starting film club in the city.
After successful organization of the IFF in Kolhapur, the FFSI now has announced that the IFF would be arranged in various smaller towns. IFF is scheduled in Solapur (August 15) and Nagpur (September 11).