The 11th BIFFes is for aspiring filmmakers

The 11th BIFFes is for aspiring filmmakers

The film festival, between Feb 21 and 28 at PVR, Orion Mall, will see sessions on gender sensitivity and virtual reality

(From left) Nagathihalli Chandrashekar, chairman, Chalanachitra Academy; Pankaj Kumar Pandey, secretary, Department of Information and Public Relations; BIFFes artistic director N Vidyashankar at a press conference on Wednesday. dh photo by Janardhan B K

With just 21 days left for BIFFes, the organisers behind the festival are lending final touches to the event that has been Karnataka’s pride and boast for the past 11 years.

No expense has been spared for BIFFes, with the 11 theatres at the PVR at Orion Mall having been booked for the screenings. That was no easy deal for the state exchequer with one of the organisers telling DH, “We are paying PVR through our noses”.

The organisers are planning to issue passes to about 6,000 delegates, which they believe will be sufficient for the maximum capacity of 3,000 at the Orion PVR, as not every delegate will attend every movie. 800 passes have already been booked online.

The selection of films at the 11th BIFFes has kept contemporary crises in mind. In its first edition after the floods savaged Kodagu, the festival will see ‘Nature’s Fury’ as the theme of the documentary section.

Apart from that, there will be four competition sections — Asian, Indian, Kannada and Kannada popular entertainment — the nominees for which have already been chosen.

Keeping in mind its special status as one of the three states in country that sponsors its own film festival (the other being Kerala and Wear Bengal), Karnataka will utilise BIFFes to promote aspiring filmmakers from the state.

Screenwriting and filmmaking “masterclasses”, sessions addressing production and marketing challenges in the digital era, a discourse on virtual reality and a session on gender sensitivity, among other things, have been planned with the aim of getting young filmmakers to make good films.

And the call for gender sensitivity is not the only move to give representation to the underrepresented. The selection committee has been careful to see that good films from areas like the Northeast are not overlooked — there’s even one film from Lakshadweep.

BIFFes’ ambition does not seem wasted: this time around, the festival will see the reputed critics’ body FIPRESCI set up it’s independent jury here, for which three critics, one each from the Netherlands, Israel and India, have been nominated.

The festival’s artistic director N Vidyashankar said that of the 101 films that have been confirmed for screening, most are award-winners and some Oscar nominees.

“In fact, we are sure that one of the films we’ll screen here is going to win the Best Picture Oscar. Because all but one of the nominees are being screened,” he said.

All these initiatives seem necessary and urgent, especially with the Kannada films not getting sufficient recognition at national platforms like the International Film Festival of India.  

This ambitious, topical avatar of the BIFFes will hopefully help nurture filmmakers who can garner more attention to the state, even as it has already grown to become one of the most respected brands of culture in Karnataka.