17th edition of International Children's Film Festival opens

The 17th edition of the International Children's Film Festival, ‘The Golden Elephant,' got off to a colourful start here on Monday evening with Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy announcing that a permanent building would be ready for the next edition in 2013.

Thanks to Chairperson of the Children's Film Society Nandita Das and her team, who ensured that the inaugural event was not filled only with drab speeches of dignitaries, the international delegates and those from India participating in the seven-day extravaganza had a vibrant glimpse of the rich and diverse cultural and musical talent in the country as the performances drew repeated applause from the audience.

Besides the welcome dance interspersed with the background of score of ‘Sare Jahan Se Achha' and Vande Maataram,' the dance recital by a group of Bharat Natyam dancers holding candles in both hands and striking different postures while balancing on a foot on a pot by each of them received wide appreciation. However, the percussion played by master Steven Samuel for a while and later along with Sivamani took the cake with even Mr. Kiran Kumar Reddy smilingly lauding the performance and actor Akkineni Nagarjuna nodding his head.

The Chief Minister, who declared open the festival, said the children's movies besides providing clean entertainment should be message-oriented. They should be of high quality and influence the lives of children. He said the Andhra Pradesh government had earmarked 10 acres for constructing the permanent building for holding the International Children's Film Festival.

He said Andhra Pradesh was the only State which was not levying entertainment tax on children's films. The government was also providing a subsidy of Rs.30 lakh to producers who make children's films.

Union Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Chowdhury Mohan Jatua said the international cinema shown during such festivals would enable the children to know the cultures of other people of the world.

Peep into world cinema

A. P. Information and Public Relations Minister D.K. Aruna said the festival had become the best platform for children's exposure to world cinema. Two films made by directors from her native Mahbubnagar district were being screened at the festival.

Ms. Nandita Das said that 152 films were being screened this time as against 70 in the last edition. The best of the films have been selected and for the first time films from Africa and South America were being shown. A special section on short films was also introduced and this time the ‘in-focus' section would be on films from China.

The festival would have four competition sections in which films from India and abroad would compete for awards. Films are being screened across 13 cinema halls and about 1.5 lakh children are expected to view them. Among others, well-known filmmaker D. Rama Naidu and actors Ram and Samantha were present. Actor Dia Mirza compered the inaugural event.