Puducherry: Puducherry is gearing up for the inaugural edition of Pondicherry International Film Festival (PIFF), which will showcase over 100 films from more than 25 countries.
The maiden edition of the independent film extravaganza will be held from September 26 to 30 here organised by Streaming platform Pickurflick with the support of Puducherry Tourism.
The festival, which is organised as an interesting mix of feature films, short films and documentaries, will include three world premieres, 11 Indian premieres, five special screenings and 47 movies in competition.
The opening film of the festival will be Félicité by Alain Gomis, winner of the Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize at Berlinale 2017 and Teen Aur Aadha directed by Daria Gaikalova and presented by Anurag Kashyap will close the festival.
The opening night of the festival will be hosted at the French Consulate in Pondicherry in the presence of the French Consul General Catherine Suard on September 25 with special screening of the movie Felicite. Chief Minister V. Narayanasamy will formally inaugurate the festival at Alliance Francaise on the following day and the movie To Let by Chezhyian, that won the National Award for Best Tamil Film (2018) would be screened after that.
Sharing her happiness to host the festival Ms Suard said, “It is a privilege to be associated with the first edition of PIFF as the representative of the country that has produced stalwarts in cinematography like Etienne-Jules Marey, Louis and August Lumiere, Georges Melies and Alice Guy-Blache here in India, a country that produces maximum number of films in maximum number of languages in an year.”
The festival will be conducted at different venues including the Alliance Française de Pondichéry, Multimedia Centre Auditorium, in association with Cinema Paradiso (Auroville) and Aurofilm (Auroville), J.N. Auditorium, Pondicherry University.
Special focus on French cinema, art & culture
The line-up for PIFF include films form various countries from India, France, Italy, Iran, USA, Belgium, Bulgaria, Australia, Turkey, Venezuela, Russia, Lebanon, Austria, China, Costa Rica and Japan.
As France is the partner country for the festival and there will be a special focus on French cinema, art and culture with special screening of films by contemporary women directors of France. This include Eden by Mia Hansen-Love, Raging Rose (Crache couer) by Julia Kowalski, Grand Central by Rebecca Zlotowski, Standing Tall by Emmanuelle Bercot and A Castle in Italy by Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi.
Screenings of the National Award winner for Best Bengali film in 2018 Mayurakshi by Atanu Ghosh, ,My Son is Gay by Lokesh Rajavel, Feluda: 50 Years of Ray’s Detective by Sagnik Chatterjee, National Award winner for Best Kannada film in 2017 Reservation by Nikhil Manjoo, and National Award Winner in 2018 for Best Tulu film Paddayi by Abhaya Simha are some of the highlights of the festival.
The competition section includes five animation films, nine feature films, nine documentary and seven short films, besides 14 films in the genres of drama and one each in the thriller, fantasy and horror segments.
Actor Adil Hussain who is closely associated with Pickurflick is a mentor and brand ambassador of the festival while National award winning film critic Saibal Chatterjee is the festival director.
Mr Chatterjee said, “It is hugely exciting for us to showcase the work of some wonderful independent filmmakers from India and the rest of the world in a place that has always been a confluence of cultures and traditions. Our aim is to develope PIFF into a dynamic platform for the celebration of unique cinematic voices as well as an annual event that will serve to lend a new dimension to the city’s position on the world map.”
The jury members include Samir Sarkar, Namrata Joshi (film critic), noted film society activist and critic Ashok Rane, Srinivasa Santhanam (festival programmer and curator), Arghyakamal Mitra (editor), Nayan Prasad (theatre and film personality from Assam), Frédérique Lien Vanessa Bianchi (Toulouse Indian Film Festival president), Marie-Pierre Lacombe (Emmy Award winning sound engineer), filmmaker Sachin Kundalkar, Sanjay Chouhan (screenwriter) and Fowzia Fathima (cinematographer).
According to director of Alliance Française, Satish Nallam Alliance Francaise will host interactive question-answer sessions with directors of some of the chosen films in the AFP auditorium. Other events include dialogue on acting with actor Adil Hussain and an editing masterclass by Arghyakamal Mitra.