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Kolkata Int'l Film Festival deferred to January next year

Kolkata: The Kolkata International Film Festival (KIFF), scheduled to be held in November, has been deferred to January next year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said on Thursday.

Initially, the 26th edition of the KIFF, with a limited number of visitors, was scheduled to be held from November 5 to 12. It will now be organised from January 8 to 15, 2021.

Banerjee posted on her Twitter handle: "After receiving global film fraternity's consent, I hereby inform all stakeholders of Kolkata International Film Festival & cine lovers that our festival has been rescheduled, given the current circumstances.

"It will now be held from Jan 8-15, 2021. Let the preparations begin!"

There had been many speculations over KIFF this year amid the pandemic. Proposals of organising the same virtually had come up while a few days ago Chairperson of the 25th KIFF Raj Chakraborty had given a positive note in regard to holding the event in the physical format after the Centre issued the Unlock 5 guidelines.

According to a senior state government official, a move was taken to hold the 26th edition of the film festival from November 5 to 12 with the involvement of a limited number of people keeping in mind the present Covid situation. "We were ready with most of the work including the selection of films. So there would not have been any problem in screening the films in November itself. But it would have taken place with the involvement of a maximum number of people that had been the endeavour of the present government since it came to power in 2011," the officer said adding that as per the Centre's guideline it would have been possible to accommodate only 50 percent audience as that of the capacity of an auditorium. So a large number of cinema lovers would have been deprived if it had taken place in November.

"It is considered that the pandemic situation might improve in January and the maximum number of people can get involved in the annual carnival of films like all the previous years," the officer said adding that even the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) has been postponed for the time being.

International delegates had to miss the KIFF this time if it had taken place in November with flight services yet to get normalised.

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