Kolkata: The 23rd Kolkata International Film Festival (KIFF) is going to gift a series of new initiatives that are going to mark the event and make it a grand success.
Starting from participation of eminent film-makers of foreign countries to giving a platform to films made in rare languages in India are going to be the centre of attraction in the seven-day long film festival that will be inaugurated by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on November 10 in the presence of stars of Indian cinema including Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Kamal Hasan, Kajol, Kumar Sanu, Mahesh Bhatt and British film director Michael Winterbottom.
The inaugural ceremony of the festival with United Kingdom as the Focus Country will be held at Netaji Indoor Stadium where a 93-minute long internationally acclaimed film, "Yellow" by Iranian director Mostafa Taqizadeh will be screened.
Besides making the event more international with 93 films in "Foreign" category, initiative has also been taken to ensure that it reaches upto the grassroot level of the state. Aroop Biswas, the state Youth Services and Sports minister, said: "This year, too, the Parai Parai Cinema will be organised at Kasba, Tala Park, Behala Parnashree and Tollygunge".
Well-known film makers and artists from countries including Turkey, Morocco, Serbia, Lebanan, Philippines, Bangladesh, Italy, United Kingdom, China, Nepal, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Germany, Argentina, Poland, Iran, Greece, Brazil and Ice Land will be attending the film festival. The films will be screened at Nandan I, II and III, Rabindra Sadan, Sisir Mancha, Nazrul Tirtha, Star Theatre, Mitra Cinema, Navina Cinema, Mani Square, EZCC and Inox City Centre.
Giving details on the films that will be screened at 12 different auditoria, Indranil Sen, the Minister of State for the Information and Cultural Affairs department, said: "Both the Red Road Immersion Carnival and the hosting of the FIFA Under-17 Football World Cup has brought more international recognition to the state and now the 23 rd KIFF is also going to be a part of the state's tourism destination."
Vivek Kumar, Principal Secretary of the Information and Cultural Affairs department, said: "Many new components have been introduced in the 23 rd KIFF."
The competition for best film and best director for which the award money is Rs 51 lakh and Rs 21 lakh respectively was limited only for foreign language films along with the Royal Bengal Golden Tiger Trophy. From this year, there will be a competition for films in Indian languages for which the award money for best film and best director are Rs 7 lakh and Rs 5 lakh respectively.
Hiralal Sen Memorial Award has also been introduced this time. Kumar said: "Hiralal Sen was the first film maker of India. In 1899 he formed Royal Bioscope Company. He worked till 1913 and passed away in 1917. He had not received much fame for certain reasons. Amitabh Bachchan had always mentioned about Hiralal Sen in his speeches in the inaugural function of KIFF in the past few years."
Films in rare Indian languages will also be screened this time. There are some languages including Boro, Khashi, Chakma from North East, apart from that there are Dogri from Himachal Pradesh in North India and one from Goa. The step has been taken to so that they get a place in International platform like this.
Moreover, for the first time, original cameras of iconic film makers including Satyajit Ray and Ritwik Ghatak will be exhibited at Gaganendra Pradarshansala during the film festival. The exhibition has been named as "Look Through".
In the Retrospective section, six films each of British director Michael Winterbottom and Pen-Ek Ratanaruang will be screened in the international film festival.
At the same time a film, "Rise and Fall of the Small Company", that was made in 1986 for only television in France and was released only in the first week of October in France in a cinematic version. This is the first time the film will be screened in India. In the Homage section that has also been introduced this time one film each of Ramananda Sengupta, Om Puri and Tom Alter will be screened.
Meanwhile, the Satyajit Ray Memorial Lecture will be given by Prof Rachel Dwyer of Indian Cultures and Cinema at SOAS, University of London.