City of pearls all decked up to host 16th International children's film festival

NEW DELHI: Over eighty films from around twenty countries are to be screened during the 16th International Children’s Film Festival commencing here on Children’s Day, 14 November.

The films include 15 films in the international competition, 18 in the Asian Panorama, 36 in Children’s World, sixteen films made by children for UNICEF, and a package of German shorts. A five-member international and ten-member child juries will judge both sections.

The Festival is being organized by the Children’s Film Society, India, in collaboration with the Andhra Pradesh State Film, Theatre and Television Development Corporation. The Festival, which will have its inauguration and closing ceremonies at the Lalitha Kala Thoranam, will close on 20 November.

Andhra Pradesh Information Minister J Geetha Reddy said at a press meet here that Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni and Andhra Chief Minister K Rosaiah will be present at the inauguration which will be managed by children. Filmmakers Gulzar and Vishal Bhardwaj are also expected to be present, in addition to stars like Venkatesh, Nagarjuna, Trishna and Darsheel Safary.

She said a mini-film festival would also be held in the Andhra Bhavan in Delhi.
CFSI Chairperson Nandita Das said the jury members include Nagesh Kukunoor, Revathy Menon, Ashish Vidyarthi, Geetanjali Rao, and Dr Shanta Sinha of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights.

She announced that the opening film will be ‘Mozart in China’ after a cultural programme by the Children.

She gave an assurance that Hyderabad will continue to remain the permanent venue for the Festival.

Ms Karin Hulshrof who represented UNICEF said around 15 films made by children from India and overseas will be shown in a special package put together by UNICEF at the 16th ICFF to mark the twentieth anniversary of the Convention of the Rights of the Child. The Convention was signed on 20 November twenty years earlier.

She said the films in the package had been made by child reporters on issues affecting them. She reflected that children were able to make better films when they were able to talk to other kids and adults candidly. There will be a workshop on training children as reporters during the Festival.

A total of around sixty delegates were coming from overseas for the Festival, which is held every second year and alternates with the Mumbai International Film Festival for Documentary, Short and Animation Films (being held in February 2010).

Das said the Festival will also have an open forum on different subjects everyday. Two of the subjects for the open forums would include discussions on introducing films in school curriculum, and what constituted a children’s film.

Nagesh Kukunoor who was present said cinema was an extremely strong platform to get the message across. But he regretted that children’s films do not sell that well.

Mr Sushovan Banerjee, Chief Executive Officer of the CFSI, said around 16,000 children from different schools were expected to come for the festival, and at least two child delegates had come from each state in the country. He said there will be two shows everyday at Indira Priyardarshini for blind children. These will be CFSI films with audio description facilities.

APSFTTDC Managing Director C Parthasarthi said after this festival, the films will be taken to several districts to be shown there. The Corporation will acquire the films from the CFSI.

The Festival films will be screened in Prasad Multiplex and eight other screens. The open Forum will also be at Prasad’s Multiplex.

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