Bangalore: The Bengaluru International Film Festival (Biffes) opened on a glittering note here Monday, with hundreds of cine buffs thronging the venue for the inaugural event where Tollywood superstar Kamal Hassan was the cynosure of all.
Organised by the Karnataka Chalanachitra Academy in association with the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce and the state information department, the sixth edition of the fest is showcasing 152 films from 45 countries over the next seven days on nine screens, including multiplexes in the city centre.
The films have been selected by an expert committee and categorised under Cinema of the World, Asian Cinema, Indian Cinema, Kannada Cinema, Retrospectives, Country Focus, NETPAC (Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema) award winners, The International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) award winners and Special Genre.
"The Kannada film industry made signal contribution to the quality and range of cinematic expression and has grown to produce about 100 films every year. Our films have also won national and international recognition and critical acclaim at various film fests," Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said at the inaugural ceremony.
Apart from screening five films a day, the fest is hosting academic interactions through seminars, workshops and master classes for students on different aspects of cinema.
"Competition sections for Indian Cinema and Kannada Cinema has cash prizes and a special award from NETPAC for Asian Cinema," said festival director K.R. Niranjan.
An Iraqi film "Bekas" directed by Karzan Kader was screened as the inaugural picture.
Besides Hassan, Kannada`s popular film stars who are cabinet ministers in the ruling Congress government - Ambareesh and Umashree, Ramya, a Congress Lok Sabha lawmaker, and Kannada cine actor Radhika Pandit were present at the colourful ceremony.
The Indian fare includes Hindi film "Dozakah: In Search of Heaven", directed by Zaigham Imam and Marathi film "Astu" by Sumitra Bhave and Sunil Sukhtankar.
Bengali film "Apur Panchali" by Kaushik Ganguli, is another award-winning film to be screened along with a Kashmiri film "Partav: The Influence", which is the first from the northern state to be screened at an international fest.
In the world section, the cine buffs will get to watch Iranian film "Hush! Girls Don`t Scream" by Pouran Derakhshandeh, Palestinian film "Giruffada" by Rani Massalha, Chilean film "The Passion of Michelangelo" by Esteban Larrian, Japanese film "Like Father, Like Son" by Hirokazu Koreeda and Saudi Arabian film "Wadjda" by Haifaa Al-Mansour among other films.