Jagran Film Festival reaches last leg in Mumbai; looks to expand next year

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By Papri Das

Touted as India’s only travelling film festival, the 6th Jagran Film Festival is celebrating its last leg in Mumbai till 4 October. With Fun Cinemas as its screening partner, the festival’s theme this year is Happiness.

Each year the festival travels across the country through big and small cities with an objective of bringing cinematic appreciation beyond the metros to the tier II and other smaller towns.

“We promote and motivate small town professionals to participate in the creative process of filmmaking thereby opening doors for them, creating plethora of opportunities in small towns when there the talent is immense but exposure is nil,” says Manoj Shrivastava, one of the organisers.

What's more, JFF will attempt to up its ante next year by extending the festival to more cities as well as by showcasing a wider variety of films. “Going forward, the festival will extend its franchise and cover more cities. A greater variety of cinema will be shown as the audience appetites have increased. One important aspect of the festival is to educate and inspire the youth to be a part of the world of cinema and the myriad opportunities it provides. Taking this forward, we’ve tied up with Whistling Woods for Master Classes and with APSA on script writing,” adds Jagran Prakashan senior general manager Vinod Srivastava.

After establishing themselves firmly in the annual cultural calendar of the various cities, Jagran Film Festival has raised its bar time and again. The expectation for the festival has risen considerably, and so has the standard of selection, as per the judges.

“Our special sections like Indian Showcase, a competitive section for feature films will be judged by a jury headed by Malayalam film director Hariharan. Similarly, Jagran Shorts, an international competition for short films, will be judged by notable filmmaker, Shaji N Karun. Other categories include Cinema of the Sellers for advertising films,” adds Shrivastava.

Going by one of the judges and popular filmmaker Pooja Bhatt’s words, the criteria for selecting winning films for JFF is quite simple. “Award films that speak from the heart to one's heart as opposed to those that only dazzle in terms of scale and supposed popularity,” she opines.

“What makes JFF unique for me is that it’s inclusive. They have taken it to people and genuine movie buffs across the country and not restricted it to elite moviegoers and opinion makers in cities like Mumbai and Delhi,” says Bhatt, who travelled with the festival to Ranchi this year.

Recounting one of the highlights of the festival, Bhatt shares, “I had the privilege of travelling to Ranchi thanks to the Jagran festival. I must say watching Jism, 14 years after it released, in a packed hall where more than 70 per cent of the crowd were women, was quite an education for me.”

As was reported by Indiantelevision.com earlier, the opening of the seven-day festival in Mumbai brought together films under various  competitive categories. The festival also paid tribute to the films of the golden era in the ‘Retrospective’ section. In its quest to showcase the best of international cinema, this edition presented a collection of 10 Best International Short films under a special section ‘Top Shorts.’

This year’s new category featured films on the 'Happiness' theme, where films like The Pursuit of Happiness, Little Jerusalem, Life Is Beautiful, Casablanca, Gone With The Wind, Ikiru, 3 Idiots, Anand, Bawarchi, Guide and Mera Naam Joker were screened.

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