Karnataka Chalanachitra Academy have objected to Children’s India’s claim that they were the main organisers of the event and the prominent display of its name on the brochure and other publicity materials

The eighth International Children’s Film Festival organised by Children’s India — a forum for promoting children’s films — is embroiled in controversy with the Karnataka Chalanachitra Academy (KCA) refusing to release funds citing technical grounds.

N.R. Nanjunde Gowda, president, Children’s India, said the festival was scheduled to be held at five centres across the State, including Bangalore, from January 9. As many as 135 films from 25 countries were expected to be screened.

Now, the Academy authorities have objected to Children’s India’s claim that they were the main organisers of the event and the prominent display of its name on the brochure and other publicity materials. Meanwhile, the KCA is planning to hold its own First International Children Film Festival either in April or May.

Mr. Gowda told The Hindu that the government had offered financial support for the event. “However, the Academy is refusing to part with the funds earmarked for it,” he said.

Mr. Gowda claimed that Children’s India had been organising the event for the past seven years and it had succeeded in spreading the culture of watching meaningful films among children. He claimed that the number of children’s movies produced in the State had increased considerably after the launch of the event.

When Children’s India approached the Academy, they were told that the money would be released only if the latter was one of the organisers.

Mr. Gowda or film critic N. Vidyashankar were offered the post of the Artistic Director of the festival. However, Mr. Gowda rejected the offer.

According to sources, the former president of Academy, T.S. Nagabharana, took a similar stand when Mr. Gowda made a demand last year.

Mr. Gowda said: “Why should I accept the offer, when I have enough experience of holding a festival on my own? Academy norms should promote film culture and should not become a hurdle.”

However, Academy authorities pointed out that according to norms, they could not associate themselves with private organisations to hold film festivals.

Tara, president of the Academy, said according to a government communiqué, private organisations could hold film-related events, including film festivals, only in association with the Academy. “The Academy is holding Chinnara Utsava through Beli Mandalas and film festivals since then,” she said.

According to sources, the government has earmarked Rs. 50 lakh for organising a children’s film festival on its own .