Children film fest to get even better next time: Organisers

Hyderabad: Increased footfalls and greater than before participation by children made the 18th International Children`s Film Festival, India, (ICFFI) a successful event, which screened 200 films from 48 countries. But the organisers want to make it a better experience next time by taking initiatives like setting up a children’s film market.

The seven-day festival, popularly known as the Golden Elephant which recently concluded in Hyderabad, was organised by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, Children`s Film Society, India (CFSI) and the Andhra Pradesh government.

The biennial festival, which also gave a chance to children to participate in workshops on animation, theatre, scriptwriting and filmmaking, saw budding directors aged between 6 years and 16 years competing for awards.

Some of the winners were “Breaking The Silence” and “Tamatar Chor”. The child filmmakers Siddhant Joshi, Pawanjot Singh, Anjali Bajaj and Abhishek Sharma won Golden Elephant trophy for Best Little Director, among others.

Seeing the response, the organisers have better plans for them.

“We are thinking of including little directors in the main section. It was introduced in the last edition, but the response wasn’t great. This time there were 123 entries out of which we chose 12. It was full-fledged competition. We can even have international participation,” Shravan Kumar, CEO, CFSI, told IANS.

“I feel there should be a children’s film market, which can be organised during the festival. The filmmakers, buyers can attend it,” he added.

Though there are a few things that he has in mind for the next edition, Kumar was overjoyed by the overwhelming response from people.

This year’s ICFFI was expected to be attended by 1,50,000 children but the number exceeded that. The hoardings of the festival and social networking sites definitely played a role in pulling in the crowds.

“The atmosphere was very vibrant. People turned up in great numbers and the theatres were completely packed. There were theatres for disabled kids too and they were full as well. Around 1,75,000 people attended the festival. Visibility was high,” said Kumar.

The number of children, who watched movies from countries like Brazil, Netherlands, Germany and Denmark along with movies from focus country Czech Republic, was wonderful but there was mismanagement too.

For instance, lack of checking or unaware escorts let children watch even those films that were not meant for them.

“It was interesting to watch films from other countries rather than just Hollywood movies. But some of the escorts didn’t go through the schedule properly. Movies for 13 plus were watched by 5 plus too,” said Darshan Vohra, an escort to child delegates.

Fauzia Minallah, an artist, author and peace activist from Pakistan, who headed the International Animation competition jury of the festival, loved the participation of the children.

Not only were the kids seen enjoying films as part of the audience, some of them were chosen to be part of the child jury.

“It was a pleasure to judge films with children. I loved watching with them and looking at their reactions. The excitement of children and their interest in cinema was heartwarming.

"I hope a lot of Indian children are able to come to Pakistan and be a part of Lahore Children’s film festival and Pakistan children are also able to enjoy this festival,” said Minallah.

Theatre personality Sanjana Kapoor’s 11-year-old son Hamir was part of the child jury and for him a film’s story matters the most.

“Stories of films especially with message are important. My mom told me to watch films and give my opinion,” said Hamir, who wants to be an actor someday like his Kapoor clan headed by his grandfather Shashi Kapoor.

Waldo Salgado, director of `Nino Arbol` (Tree Boy) from Chile, whose movie was also screened during the festival was happy with the efforts made by the festival organisers.

“It’s my first time in India. I really appreciate their efforts. The dance performances were also amazing,” said Salgado.

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