Good cinema on a platter

Good cinema on a platter

Film festivals

Good cinema on a platter

The City has always welcomed films in various languages with open arms. The turnout at the Bangalore International Film Festival (BIFFS) and the International Children’s Film Festival says a lot about the film buffs in the City.

vibrant A folk performance at the recently held International Children’s Film Festival.

Though the concept of hosting film festivals is old and they have been held in the City for sometime now, these festivals are now becoming bigger and better. From bringing in eminent film-makers and artistes to inaugurate the fests and present their works to organising elaborate cultural performances on the concluding day, film festivals in the City have gone a step higher. 
German film-maker Harun Farocki says that it is the open-minded attitude of the people here that makes film festivals a success. “I enjoy talking about films here as people are quite knowledgable and open to experimenting. I guess one no longer perceives ‘art cinema’ as boring,” he adds. 

People’s demands and interests have increased so much so that many film societies like Suchitra, Collective Chaos, Vikalp and even institutes like Alliance Francaise or Goethe Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan screen movies from different countries. Avinash, who attended some of the screenings at BIFFS, shares the same sentiment. “The City used to have film festivals but not of this grandeur. In the last five years or so, the popularity of film festivals in Bangalore has increased. It’s almost like ‘the’ place to be in,” he adds.

Unfortunately, these days, films in any language and from any region are easily available in pirated versions at the  hole-in-the-wall stores. One can also download them from the web or simply watch world cinema on TV.

So, one wonders whether attending film festivals is also about being seen in the right place?  
Revathi, a professional, says, “According to me, film festivals are more about people with similar tastes coming together under one roof. What makes it more interesting is the chance to meet the film-makers and even interact with them. For some, these may seem like a fad but there are people who see it as an opportunity to watch good cinema as not everybody has access to internet or technology.”

Abhay Simha, a Kannada film-maker, has not only attended many film festivals in India and abroad but has also received an opportunity to screen his first film Gubbachigalu at a film festival.
“Interestingly, when I had screened my movie at the film festival, we got a packed house for ticketed shows. But when we screened it at a regular theatre in the same city, there was hardly any crowd,” he adds.

While he too feels that there is a huge audience for world cinema, he believes that very few people have cinematic knowledge. “It’s a good thing that there are so many film festivals being held in the City but what’s the point if nobody learns anything from them. Festivals must also try to educate people on how they should view cinema so that they too can gain from it,” he says.

But is this kind of demand seen in other cities too? Nagabharna, the president of Karnataka Chalana Chitra Academy, says that the demand was always there but the means to screen movies in a big way was not available.

“Now the government has become more lenient and even places like Ahmedabad and Lucknow are getting to host film festivals in a big way. We definitely welcome this trend and see it as a good way to introduce good cinema to people,” he sums up.

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