Films, be it in Bollywood or Hollywood, may primarily be about glitz and glamour, but film festivals across the world are a means to show that filmmaking is not just about glamour.

This was the view expressed by a host of filmmakers from across the world, including directors of many prominent film festivals across the world, gathered for a discussion at the ongoing Osian’s film festival, being held at Siri Fort auditorium here.

Addressing an Open Forum on ‘Why Film Festivals’, where festival organisers of Kara filmfest, The MAMI festival in Mumbai, the film festival in Trivandrum, the Indian film festival in LA, the Tunisian filmfest and many European film festivals were present, the chairman of the Osian’s Connoisseurs of Arts Neville Tuli said,”a film festival is one of the most powerful mechanisms to show that filmmaking and films are not just about glitz and glamour- big stars, swanky sets et al. Rather, it is a means to provide cinema lovers a food for thought by making them dwell on the relevant social issues.” Speaking on the issue, the organiser of the MAMI film festival in Mumbai said,”for me, the purpose of a film festival is to establish a new model of filmmaking, other than that characterising Bollywood or Hollywood.” Lamenting the lack of a cinematic culture in Mumbai where, he said, ”in Mumbai any talk about cinema only revolves around either a Bollywood film or a Hollywood venture. Infact, it is to develop such a culture, we started the MAMI film festival for moving images in Mumbai a few years ago. The festival will hold its tenth edition next year.” Noted film analyst Umd D Cunha felt that holding film festivals was a means to make people aware of the happenings on the cinematic front across the country.

”In India we are very localised. Often, we do not know what is happening on the artistic front in other parts of the country. It is here that film festivals like the Osian’s filmfest are useful in raising awareness for films all over Asia and the World,”Ms Uma D Cunha said.

Bina, the organiser of the annual festival of films at Trivandrum, said there was need for a system coordination between film festivals organised in different parts of the country to help spread the culture of cinema in the country.

The organiser of the Kara Film festival in Karachi Hasan Zaidi, however, differed with the idea that only films with sensibilities different from the mainstream ought to be screened at film festivals.

”I feel that screening films which only a handful of people would watch would definitely not serve the purpose of a film festival. In our case, it was a decline in the audiences in Pakistan for cinema and, consequently, a drop in the number of film productions that prompted us to start the Kara film festival a few years ago,”Zaidi said.

”As a film festival, we are not just trying to showcase films from the stable of so called art cinema but also mainstream films so as to develop interest among people in good cinema and among filmmakers to try out new ideas,”he said.

Source: UNI

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