Online only booking for BIFFes irks cine enthusiasts

The process for booking tickets and passes for the upcoming Bengaluru International Film Festival (BIFFes) has been made into an online procedure via a single platform –, irking many cine enthusiasts.

“Making bookings online is not an issue, but making it mandatory to book online with no option of physically buying passes is wrong. The option to physically buy passes must also be provided. Several senior citizens are not comfortable booking online,” said Avinash K., a cine enthusiast and a techie.

Effort to go paperless

However, Sunil Puranik, chairperson, Karnataka Chalanachitra Academy, said most film festivals had this system and people would get used to it, though he acknowledged there would be some teething trouble. He said the decision was made to make the festival paperless.

Sharing credentials

What has also irked many is that the platform has made giving out credentials – Aadhaar or Driving License or Passport Number – mandatory for booking passes. Many have argued they are not comfortable giving out their credentials to a private firm and it was wrong to make this a prerequisite for booking a pass.

“It is unethical of the government body to allow a private firm to access our credentials. We are forced to give out our credentials if we want to book a delegate pass. This is a violation of data privacy protocol,” said K. Phaniraj, an academician and film enthusiast. He also pointed out a recent Supreme Court order struck down Section 57 of the Aadhaar Act that allowed corporate entities or even individuals to demand Aadhaar credentials for goods and services.

Mr. Phaniraj has started a mass e-mail campaign to BIFFes organisers. “We oppose succumbing to a business booking platform for gaining total control for registration. It is patently unethical for a private business platform to access our private data by asking to upload our credentials”, the email reads.

Mr. Puranik said he will look into the concerns of giving out credentials on a private platform. However, another senior organiser of the festival said at most festivals across the world, furnishing credentials was a must for a delegate pass and it was not like just booking tickets for a movie.

BIFFes selection list

BIFFes recently announced the list of films selected for all the four competition sections – Kannada, Kannada Popular Entertainment, India and Asian. But the selection, or rather the omissions, in the Kannada section has drawn criticism.

The exclusion of three films – Arishadvarga directed by Arvind Kamath, Gantumoote directed by Roopa Rao that have been selected for multiple film festivals, and Mohandas, a film on Mahatma Gandhi’s childhood directed by multiple award winning director P. Sheshadri – have now become bone of contention.

“I am surprised that my film was not selected. It is the first film on Gandhi’s childhood and is an ambitious project made in three languages shot at locations related to the Mahatma. It is also based on a Sahitya Akademi winning Kannada book by Bolwar Mahammad Kunhi. I was looking forward to première the film at the home festival,” Mr. Sheshadri said.

What has also drawn the ire of filmmakers and enthusiasts is that certain films have been repeated in multiple sections. For instance, Bell Bottom and Kavaludaari are being screened in Kannada and Kannada Popular Entertainment sections, while the recent release Mundina Nildana is being screened in the Kannada and Asian Film competition section.

N. Vidyashankar, artistic director, BIFFes, said the selection of films was the call of an independent screening committee for each category. “The committee has representatives from film directors, producers, technicians and critics. The seven-member committee also includes three from outside the State. Sometimes we may differ with the selection or omission of certain films, but our hands are tied as any intervention will be arbitrary,” he said.

There were 126 Kannada films, of which only 14 had to be selected for the Kannada competition that would obviously leave 112 unhappy, he said, and added, “We will have to live with it.”

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Printable version | Mar 28, 2020 9:41:22 PM |

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