Among the Bollywood celebrities who have been approached to inaugurate the 11th edition of Bengaluru International Film Festival (BIFFes), scheduled to be held from February 21 to 28 at Orion Mall in Rajajinagar, are Vidya Balan, Rani Mukerjee and Rekha. Organisers expect one or two of these actors to be present for the inaugural ceremony.
This year’s BIFFes is likely to have more than 250 films from 60 countries shown on 11 screens. Nagathihalli Chandrashekhar, Chairman of Karnataka Chalanachitra (Film) Academy told Metrolife, “Keeping in mind the drought situation and the Kodagu floods, the budget for this year’s edition has been cut by half. This has been done without compromising on the quality of cinema. More emphasis has been laid on the content rather than the grandeur of the festival.”
Nagathihalli says there are a few interesting additions to the festival. “As it is the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, we have included the best of Indian and world cinema on Gandhi. We also have a section on women-centric films. There will also be more focus on films from Poland because directors there are making remarkable films and scoring on the intellectual front,” he says.
Interestingly, this year’s jury has representation from all categories such as Chamber of Commerce, producers and directors’ associations and cinematography association.
“My intention is to have a non-controversial film festival because we have heard people complain that some of the films were chosen without any consultation. It is not so. We want the whole process to be as democratic and transparent as possible. We have screened every film that is being shown at the festival. Discussions on the same have been held and every judgement that has been given is in writing with the signatures of all the jury members,” explains Nagathihalli.
He says that all the films that have been chosen from outside have been thoroughly scrutinised.
“We have scrutinised every film to understand how many awards it has won, what kind of critics appreciation it has got and what credentials it has to be included in the festival,” he adds. He also says that the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce has given a list of Kannada commercial films. “We will pick and choose from the list,” he adds
Nagathihalli adds that there will also be masterclasses on all seven days. “We will have masterclasses on scriptwriting, cinematography, dance, choreography, sound engineering, virtual reality and film marketing. We will also include a segment on filmmaking and co-production, especially for the Kannada film industry. These will have limited seats for only those who have registered,” he says, adding “This year, we are working towards getting an international accreditation. This is being done to streamline the festival.”
N Vidyashankar, artistic director, BIFFes, says the jury members are from the Netherlands, Israel, Turkey and Kyrgyzstan and a few critics may come in from Europe as well. “The thrust will be on conducting academic activities on various aspects of cinema,” he says.