A national film festival is being organised by Film Society of Bhubaneswar (FSB). The festival will focus on contemporary Indian Cinema and bring the unseen films of the different regions made over the last few years. Every year we have remarkable films made in various Indian languages. They are generally called regional cinema but we think that together they actually give Indian cinema its own distinct identity. The cinema that we generally get to see in the theatres (generally the product of film industries of Mumbai or South India) is only a small part of the bigger picture.
A film society functions on the premise that cinema is as significant an art form as the much older traditions of literature, theatre, performing and fine arts. But whereas the agenda of making available the best of literature, theatre, performing and fine arts among the various regions of India is served by Central and Regional institutions like Sahitya Akademi, Sangeet Natak Akademi or Lalit Kala Akademi, no such formal facilitation happens in the case of cinema. If we feel people in one state should have access to and get to know the literature from other states, their theatre, dance and music, their folk and classical art traditions, then the same must hold true for cinema too. It should form a necessary part of our education and an integral part of our idea of India. If we feel that there is a need to read the works of Premchand or Gopinath Mohanty, then there is also a need to see the films of G. Aravindan.
The films featuring in the festival are recipients of critical acclaim and honour at both national and international level for their artistic merit and socio-cultural relevance. They engage with and depict in meaningful, thought provoking manner significant contemporary concerns such as social reality, questions of caste and gender inequality, ecology and environment, political and economic change.
Together the films present an intimate and insightful portrayal of India in its diversity of regions and cultures, its people and their lives, hopes and aspirations, struggles and possibilities. The festival will be featuring around thirty outstanding contemporary works of cinema from East and North-East (Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Manipuri, Khasi and Odiya); South (Kannada, Malayalam and Tamil); West (Marathi); and North (Hindi and Punjabi).
There will be a retrospective of noted Malayalam film maker G Aravindan, one of the great directors of Indian Cinema. The retrospective is made possible by the support of Kerala State Chalachitra Academy (State Government of Kerala) and National Film Archives (Government of India) for sourcing of films. Shri Girish Kasaravalli, internationally acclaimed filmmaker from Karnataka, is going to be the chief guest for the festival. Other filmmakers, scholars and dignitaries from various parts of India will be attending the festival. There will be workshops and masterclasses for students with noted film makers. The film festival hopes to encourage young film makers to make work from the eastern part of the country by providing mentoring opportunities with master film makers.
FSB (Film Society of Bhubaneswar) has been in existence since 2004. FSB has focused on creating cinema literacy among its members, screened over 500 films from across the world, conducted master classes with leading visual artists nationally and internationally. It has organized 8 festivals over the last decade covering World Cinema (2012), Asian & African Cinema (2007), Journeys and Migration (2010), Short films (2011). It has curated retrospectives on World Cinema (2005), German Cinema (2007), Spanish Cinema (2008), Into the Darkness (2009) & Yasujiro Ozu (2012).
Unlike the other major cities of India, Bhubaneswar does not have a proper film festival in the cultural calendar. Despite all obstacles, FSB has managed to organize 8 film festivals and 10 major retrospectives, masterclasses, talks with visual artists and film makers, with the continuing effort to take Cinema to newer audiences, cineastes and students. The effort is to build and sustain an annual film festival in the city’s cultural calendar, your support will go a long way to achieve our aims at FSB. We hope that this is a new beginning and in years to come Bhubaneswar will find its own place in the map of major film festivals being held in India.