The first FFSI International Film Festival, to be organized by the Federation of Film Societies of India (FFSI), will kickstart from the city on August 3 this year. The five-day long travelling film festival will then be held in more than 20 cities across the country. Bangladeshi director Mostofa Sarwar Farooki will be in town to present his ‘Ant Story’ as the festival’s inaugural movie.
While film societies in India have long been gasping for breath, many feel that organizing such a festival is just the right move to help them step out of the intensive care unit. As of now, eight among the 10 films have been shortlisted for the festival.
Says Premendra Mazumder, general secretary of FFSI, “This is the first time the federation is organizing such a travelling international festival. The response has been fabulous. None of these movies have been officially screened in India before. We are getting calls from film societies across India to take the festival there. The inauguration ceremony will be graced by Buddhadeb Dasgupta and Bratya Basu.”
After Kolkata, the festival will travel to Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Bhubaneswar, Guwahati, Berhampur, Midnapore, Siliguri, Jorhat, Tejpur, Nagpur, Kashipur, Patna, Port Blair, Trivandrum, Pune, Burnpur, Karimnagar, Kohlapur, Jamshedpur and Vishakhapatnam, among other cities.
Farooki, who will be in Kolkata on August 2, is extremely happy with the initiative. Talking to TOI from Bangladesh, Farooki says, “Festivals of any sort is good for cinema. But a festival like the one FFSI is going to organize has a different significance. Film societies have always played a major role in shaping the journey of cinema in this part of the world. I know, FFSI represents hundreds of film societies that are active in India. So, when a body like this selects a film for a festival, it carries a different value.”
A selection at this festival, Farooki feels, will take the movies to film activists and aspiring directors. “On top of that, this is a touring festival that takes one’s film to different cities and reaches the most updated audience,” he adds.
Apart from Farooki’s film, there are movies from Aghanistan, Kazakistan, Serbia, Argentina and Philippines. Iranian director Pouran Derakhshandeh — whose ‘Mute Contact’ was the first feature film to be directed by a woman after the 1979 revolution — has agreed to send her most recent film to this festival. Kazakhstan’s official film entry to the Oscars in 2013 — ‘Myn Bala: Warriors of the Steppe’ — will also be screened at the festival.
Another film — ‘The Kids from the Marx and Engels Street’ — was selected as the Montenegrin entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 87th Academy Awards. The icing on the cake is the news that Croatian director Dalibor Matanic, whose ‘The High Sun’ has won the jury prize at the Un Certain Regard section of the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, has consented to send his ‘The Mother of Asphalt’ to this festival.
(Times of India)