New Delhi: Spread over ten days, film buffs will be treated to an eclectic selection of 140 films from more than 35 countries. Over 300 filmmakers, festival directors, producers, actors, scholars and journalists are expected to attend the festival, which will this time be spread over three venues.
The 9th Osian Cinefan comes with some new sections, haunting visuals and ideas, courtesy the relatively less visible Arab cinema. Three competition sections – Asian and Arab Cinema, First Films from Asia; and Indian Cinema – will be judged by international juries. Cross-cultural encounters, frescoes (of Asian and Arab films), in-tolerance and Indian Mosaic will have thematic clutches of films that promise to stimulate.
Aruna Vasudev, president, Osian and Neville Tuli, founder chairman
At a press conference which was a curtain raiser to an event that has gained credibility and popularity with every successive screening, the 9th Osian Cinefan is expected to have a much larger crowd - film buffs, critics, free pass holders, volunteers and hangers on. Little surprise then, that the organizers have moved beyond having just Siri Fort as a venue. Screenings would also be held at Alliance Française de Delhi and PVR Plaza and PVR Rivoli.
Asked if the choice of moving the venue to another city had ever been debated, Neville Tuli, founder chairman, Osian emphatically said: “Delhi is where we started and Delhi is where it is going to be.” And with support from the government of NCT of Delhi, they seem to be in control. Except that one wishes that their website was updated with all relevant sections downloadable. Hopefully, this small glitch will be fixed, enabling people to plan their schedules, at the click of a button.
Theme: Recreating Cinematic Culture
Through films, poster displays, panel discussions, auctions and lectures, Delhi which has always been a preferred venue for film festivals, will hope to see audiences maturing further as they develop a more refined cinematic sensitivity.
Focus of the festival is on Japan with a tribute to Kenji Mizoguchi. Contemporary Japanese and Samurai films will be a highlight with unique Japanese poster designs of world cinema from the realm of magic and fiction, cinematic artworks representing the realm of horror and science fiction, and displays of legendary divas of world cinema.
“Springboard” would have pure classic appeal. Structured to serve as a tribute to film festivals with landmark movies whose journeys began at the first flush of international film festivals in the 50s, it has Akira Kurosawa’s “Rashomon” which was awarded the Golden Lion in 1951 and hailed as the ‘film that opened Japan up to the West’.
Then there is Teinosuke Kinugasa’s “Gate of Hell” (Japan) which won the Grand Prize in 1954, at the time the highest award conferred by the Cannes Film Festival. Lester James Peries’ “The Line of Destiny” (Sri Lanka) is perhaps the single most influential film in the history of the country’s cinema. In 1955, “Locarno” became the first European film festival to show the cinema of the People’s Republic of China with the screening of Hui Shi’s “Letter with Feathers”. It was also screened at the Edinburgh Film Festival in 1955 where it won the Best Film Award. “Jagte Raho” by Amit and Sombhu Mitra was appreciated with more seriousness in India after it received the Crystal Globe at Karlovy Vary in 1957 and remains one of the more celebrated examples of popular Indian cinema of the 50’s.
* International Premiere of Babak Shirinshefat’s film, “Raami”.
* Benshi performance which is the first of its kind in India pays homage to Kenji Mizoguchi. It transports the audience to the golden age of cinema when silent films were accompanied by a narrator - the benshi.
* Specially curated sections on Silhouettes (films with women as central characters); Hymns to Freedom, Springboard, Filmcraft, In-Tolerance, Cross-Cultural Encounters, Cinema & the Nation.
* 15 debut directors including two women.
* IBM2 Infrastructure building for minds and markets.
* Exhibition and auction.
* Indian Competition section with nine films including debut movies by five directors – Suhail Tatari (Bhairavi), Suman Ghosh (Footsteps, Podokkhep), Shivaji Chandrabhushan (Frozen), Navdeep Singh (Manorama Six Feet Under) and Arindam Mitra (Zero Zone, Shoonya).
* Selection of 15 films (mainstream and parallel cinema) to be screened in the out-of-competition Indian Mosaic section. Some of these have already been released nationwide or have travelled to other festivals.
Now as one settles down to the prospect of a veritable film feast, one is keeping fingers crossed, hoping venue management is not akin to a riot-like situation and the film schedules which are undoubtedly extremely hard to finalize, actually stick to the printed version and start on time.
9th Osian Cinefan in New Delhi from 20-29 July, 2007; www.osians.com