The 1st Delhi International Film Festival, to be held in December, was announced in the Capital recently
The fairly barren film calendar of Delhi is suddenly abuzz. Close on the heels of the recent revival of the Osian’s Cinefan Film Festival (OCFF), came the announcement that the city will host the 1st Delhi International Film Festival (DIFF) in December.
In a press conference at The LaLiT hotel, the President of the festival Ramkishore Parcha said that while Osian’s looks at Asian and Arab cinema, DIFF — slated to be held between 21 and 27 December — will look beyond. Over 150 films from 70 countries will be presented.
The festival will be organised by The Social Circle and held at Siri Fort auditorium and NDMC Cultural Centre. The advisory board of the festival, which consists of Anurag Kashyap, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Shriram Raghavan and Shiney Ahuja among others, will be chaired by Adoor Gopalakrishnan, the Malayalam filmmaker and recipient of the Dadasaheb Phalke Award.
Delhi has previously hosted the International Film Festival of India, but there has been a vacuum ever since it moved to Goa permanently. DIFF aims to address this lack, and the organisers see it as fitting into Delhi’s constellation of history and culture. The prizes to be awarded at the film festival confirm this vision. The best among each of the proposed ten sections shall receive the Golden and Silver Minar awards. The Minar-e-Dilli award will be conferred on persons with notable contributions to the field of cinema. Additionally, Zohra Sehgal will be the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award, Parcha said.
Shedding light on the world cinema section of the festival, Suresh K Goswami, Festival Secretary, outlined the various collaborations it has entered into. The festival will be supported by organisations such as the Broadway International Film Festival, Los Angeles, Slade School of Fine Arts, London, Media Box, Bangladesh, Nantes Film Festival, France, and Cineteca Nacional, Mexico, among others. DIFF will receive films from these organisations which will then be selected by the festival’s jury, Goswami said.
The jury of the festival comprises Alain Jalladeau who established a branch of the Cinematheque Francaise in Nantes, Ashwani Kumar, a film journalist, Katia Melatesta, Founder, Religion Today Film Festival, Italy, and Erez Pery, Program Director, Cinema South International Film Festival, Israel, among others.
Films from Israel will be the subject of a special focus. Speaking at the press conference, Chana Zalis, Cultural Attache, Embassy of Israel, New Delhi, said while India has featured tangentially in a lot of Israeli films, she is looking forward to a co-production between India and Israel. Another noteworthy focus of the festival is its NRI Cinema section. At least 15 films made by NRIs will be presented as part of this section. The trailer for Oass by Shiv Tiwari from New York was shown at the conference.
Tigmanshu Dhulia, director and actor, welcomed the idea of the film festival and hinted at the potential for Delhi becoming a film city, “as there are hordes of filmmakers in the city and Mumbai is not a primarily Hindi speaking city.” A proposal to this effect was also mooted at OCFF this year. Also present was Shiney Ahuja, who launched the website of the festival.