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Participation in international film festivals stressed

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MUMBAI: The session "Festivals - Broadcasting Horizons" held in the latter half of the first day of Ficci FRAMES 2003 saw a very objective analysis of the various film festivals held around the globe.

Uma daCunha served as the moderator, while the panel comprised Michael Fox (Common Wealth Films Festival), Steve Gravestock (Toronto Film Festival), Luca Marziali (conducting Florence Indian Films Festival since the last three years - the only festival in Italy dedicated totally to popularise Indian cinema), Theresa Hayes (Palms Springs Festival) and Sarah Mckenzie (involved in the marketing aspect of film festivals).

 

Underlining the importance of the films festivals, Uma daCunha said, "There is much more to it than what meets the eye - how you launch a film festival; why you launch one; where do the finances come from; what is the motive behind these festivals; and lots more. "

The brief panel speeches followed by a few questions from the audience drew up the following conclusions:

* Film festivals bring nations closer; cinema knows no caste and creed. When one appreciates a particular nation's cinema, one develops a bond with that nation.

* Moreover, these help the filmmakers to get good buyers for their products. For example, a film called Tale of a Naughty Girl had three buyers vying with each other, the moment its screening got over at a film festival!

* The criteria of selection of a film to be screened cannot be outlined. Though a tight script is certainly a must, the film need not be essentially brilliant technically. What counts is how skillfully the filmmaker has made use of his/her available resources. And of course, the film must hold the jury's interest throughout its run. The less predictable it is, the better.

* If a filmmaker desires to send his film to a film-festival, he/she need not go through government agencies. He can directly approach the film-festival he wants his film to be screened at. There are websites for all the film-festivals today. The entry forms are available on these sites.

* There is a need for the film-festivals to encourage participation of students. Most of these festivals do not have a provision of permitting a student to enter his/her film if he/she has made one.

* Certain film-festivals like Toronto Film Festival for one, have started accepting even animations and documentaries. Others must follow suit.

* Screening the films at these festivals does create the hype required to win an Oscar. Theresa Hayes was quite vocal about this when she said, "Most of the films which have won an Oscar have been screened at Palms Springs Festival which is held just a little before Oscar."

* The governments must take up a larger part of sponsorship than what they're doing presently. It is very dicey to rely on private sponsorships.

* Film festivals are a boon to the filmmakers. These makers get to view the creamy stuff, and thereby, learn a lot of tricks and trade on how to make their next product superior.

* Six Indian films Bandit Queen, Lagaan, Devdas, Monsoon Wedding, Everybody says I am fine and Mr & Mrs Iyer have impressed the international audience greatly, in the recent past.

One would have loved to know from the panel's opinion on why Lagaan could not win the Oscar?', or say, why No Man's Land scored over Lagaan?, but somehow the topic did not come under discussion.

Uma daCunha winded up the pleasing and informative session by saying, "I badly need a cup of tea. How about you?", but not before, offering a vote of thanks.

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