BIFFES 2019: Kannada films poised for world stage

Nagathihalli Chandrashekhar

Chandrashekhar is chairman of Karnataka Chalanachitra Academy.

Metrolife spoke with Nagathihalli Chandrashekhar, Chairman, Kannada Chalanachitra Academy, who is this year’s BIFFes festival director. Known in the world of Kannada cinema for hits like America America and Amritadhare, he runs the Tent Cinema film school in Banashankari. In a chat with DH’s Suma Nagaraj, Nagathihalli shares thoughts on his association with BIFFes 2019, his future plans, and the emergence of Kannada cinema on the world stage.

 What excites you about this year’s BIFFes and your association with it?
There are two elements to this. One is procuring significant, relevant content in films, which is very challenging. It needs at least a year of planning. It needs research, visiting different film festivals, talking to film activists and critics, social relevance, etc. Remuneration, customs, censor board, government policy between two countries, GST – we have to consider all these aspects. Second element is coordinating a festival of this magnitude. I want to be transparent in my dealings because this is public money. Because this is a government set-up, we should be very careful. The guy who buys a pass to this festival is important for me, either as an invitee or a VIP. As far as possible, we want to make it hassle-free for every filmgoer. I conduct film festivals in my village as well. This (BIFFes 2019) is the time where we unify the people and cinema is such a powerful medium for that.

How does something like KGF fit into a film festival like BIFFes?
In the case of KGF, yes, it was a huge commercial success. The KGF team really achieved something big in the trade. So, we cannot ignore this. Which is why we are conducting one event: success story of KGF at BIFFes 2019.

How has BIFFes contributed to or changed the Kannada cinema landscape?
We have to give significance for Kannada cinema in a film festival like BIFFes because it is happening in Bangalore. We have to respect our native language, native culture. There are three main genres in films: commercial, artistic, and the middle path, the path that I am travelling. The word ‘artistic’ is subjective. But with films like KGF, Kannada cinema now is seen in different languages in and outside the country.

Has KGF raised a lot of expectations in the Kannada film industry?
Yes, it has. Certainly, we can expect more KGFs in the future. Not everyone can make a KGF, but its success can inspire more quality filmmaking using both international and local technicians. But the flip side is that we are seeing volumes increasing in films, not quality. There is no quality control. That is not healthy for any industry. We are trying to educate through active means including rural film festivals, through masterclasses at BIFFes, etc.

Name a few Kannada films from the last few years that you liked and why.
Last few years, young filmmakers have come forward with creative ideas. They are not big budget movies like KGF. To name a few, Godhi Banna Sadharana Mykattu, Sarkari Hiriya Prathamika Pathashaale, Rama Rama Re, Ammacchi Nenapu, Shuddhi: some of these young talents give hope for Kannada cinema.

How do you plan to better organise BIFFes going forward?
We are actively working towards international accreditation. Over the next three years, I will make some changes here. I strongly believe that.

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BIFFES 2019: Kannada films poised for world stage

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