SCO Film Fest to be held in Mumbai from 27-31 Jan

57 films to be showcased under competition and non-competition sections.

Mumbai: The ministry of information and broadcasting is organising the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Film Festival in Mumbai through the National Film Development Corp. (NFDC). The SCO Film Festival is being organised to mark India’s presidency.

Briefing the media on the festival, additional secretary Neerja Sekhar said that the festival aims to build cinematic partnerships and act as a bridge between the cultures of various countries in the SCO. Through a collective cinematic experience, it will also foster synergies in the film fraternity of SCO members. She also added that the films being showcased in the SCO Film Festival, all brought by the SCO states, will allow spectators to experience different cultures and the films will be a window for people from the SCO countries to get to know each other better.

According to Sekhar, the festival will feature films from the SCO countries in both competition and non-competition screenings. In addition to the film screenings, the festival will have master-classes, in-conversation sessions, country and state pavilions, photo and poster exhibitions, handicrafts stalls, and many more events.

The festival will open with the world premiere of an Indian film. The opening ceremony will be held at the Jamshed Bhabha Theatre, NCPA, Mumbai.

Film Festival screenings will take place at two locations in Mumbai, four auditoriums at the Film Division Complex at Pedder Road and 1 NFDC Theater at the Nehru Planetarium Building at Worli.

The competition section is for SCO member states only and comprises various prestigious awards like best feature film, best actor (male), best actor (female), best director (feature film), and a special jury award.

The non-competition section is for all SCO countries, viz., member states, observer states, and dialogue partner states, in the following categories:

1. The SCO country focus films were chosen to represent each SCO country at the film festival. Thus, enabling exchange among the different countries and acting as a bridge between the cultures of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation members.

2. Director focus films made by a well-known director of the SCO country, an acclaimed veteran who is well respected in the country for their craft and lineage of cinema, contributing to the heritage of the country.

3. Children focus films that educate and entertain the young audience while being easy to understand. Thus, young children's interests are developed and their minds are nurtured.

4. Short films not exceeding 20 minutes in duration that are artistically and cinematically adept and capture the audience's imagination by applying original ideas.

5. Indian classics have been restored, and five films are being showcased.

A total of 57 films from SCO countries will be showcased at the SCO Film Festival. In the competition section, 14 feature films are competing and will be screened, and the non-competition section will showcase 43 films.

A total of 14 films have been nominated for the competition section.

.Godavari, directed by Nikhil Mahajan, and The Last Film Show, directed by Pan Nalin, were both nominated from India's member states.

.The Russian films Mom, I'm Alive!, directed by A. Zairov, M. Mamyrbekov and Paralympian directed by Bairakimov Aldiyar, are nominated from the member state of Kazakhstan.

.Kyrgyzstan member states have nominated the Kyrgyz films Akyrky Koch (The Road to Eden), directed by Bakyt Mukul, Dastan Zhapar Uulu, and Uy satylat (Home for Sale), directed by Taalaibek Kulmendeev.

.The Italian and Chinese films B for Busy by Yihui Shao and Chinese film Home Coming directed by Xiaozhi Rao, are nominated from member states of China.

.The Russian films Don’t Bury Me Without Ivan, directed by Liubov Borisova Sakha and Podelniki (The Riot), directed by Evgeny Grigorev, are nominated by the member states of Russia.

. Uzbek member states have nominated the films Ael Kismati (The Fate of a Woman), directed by D. Masaidov and Meros (Legacy), directed by Hilol Nasimov.

. The Tajik films Dov (Fortune), directed by Muhyiddin Muzaffar, and Okhirin Saydi Sayod (Hunter's Final Prey),directed by Mahmadrabi Ismoilov, are nominated from the member state of Tajikistan.

Indian films at SCO film festival –

The most acclaimed Marathi film, Godavari, directed by Nikhil Mahajan and India’s official entry to the Oscars in the best foreign language category, Chhello Show, a Gujarati film also known as Last Film Show, will be screened in the competition section. Along with it, Shoojit Sircar's Sardar Udham and SS Rajamouli's period piece RRR are in the spotlight at SCO. Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Gangubai Kathiawadi in director focus, Mridul Toolsidas's Toolsidas Junior in children focus, and the short film Jugalbandi by Chetan Bhakuni will be showcased. The festival will also feature five restored classics: Shatranj ke khiladi (1977, Hindi), Subarnrekha (1965, Bengali), Chandralekha (1948, Tamil), Iru Kodgul (1969, Tamil), and Chidambaram (1985, Malayalam).

The official languages of the SCO, i.e., Russian and Chinese, will also be the official languages of the film festival. English will also be included as the functional language of the festival as it is being hosted in India. The films that will be shown must be dubbed or subtitled in English for the benefit of the jury and the local audience.

Masterclasses and in-conversation sessions have been curated with filmmakers and actors of the SCO countries attending the festival, along with Indian film personalities. There will be sessions with the industry experts tracing the history of animation and also presenting the endless possibilities of ‘creating the shot’ with the help of animation & visual effects. Some sessions are also held on the changing landscape of film distributions and theatre language translations using emerging technologies.

Filmmaker Rahul Rawail from India, film director Ning Ying from China, musician Dimash Kudaibergen from Kazakhstan, filmmaker and film critic Gulbara Tolomushova from Kyrgyzstan, film producer and journalist Ivan Kudryavtsev from Russia, film producer, actor, & author Mehmedsaid Shohiyon from Tajikistan and actor Matyakub Sadullayevich Matchanov from Uzbekistan will be the prominent jury for the SCO Film Festival 2023.

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