Shaji Karun National Award-winning director at IFFI 2018 says, I believe that facts are important but what matters is how you present the story


By K Ashwin Mobile: 09920183006

Lead actor- Ridhi Sen of the movie ‘Nagarkirtan’ and Pampally, Director of the movie ‘Sinjar’ interacting with media at Media Centre, IFFI Goa on November 25, 2018

Day 6 of 49th International Film Festival of India marked the presence of directors, ICFT jury member, UNESCO representative and the local artistes who shared their views with the media.

Director-Mathew Wilder and the main cast Christopher Matthew Cook of the movie ‘Regarding the case of Joan of Arc’ interacting with media at media centre, IFFI Goa on November 25, 2018

Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister of Jharkhand talks about the natural beauty of Jharkhand and why it’s a great place for filmmakers to shoot their films

Speaking to the media, Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister of Jharkhand and Secretary, Department of Information and Public Relations, Government of Jharkhand, Dr. Sunil Barnwal interacted with media and shared insights about the state Jharkhand. With over 27 waterfalls in capital Ranchi alone, the state has more than 60 waterfalls, making it a beautiful destination. “The state has 30% of geographical area covered by dense forests. There are many scenic water falls ranging from two metres to several feet high,” he said. Through the film policy, the state aims to attract the attention of people to the film industry and invites them to come, see and explore the embedded treasure of Jharkhand, he added.

According to the policy, films made in Jharkhand’s local languages will be given a grant of maximum 50% of the total costs and those made in Hindi, Bangla, Odia and other regional languages will be given a grant amounting to 25% of the total cost. Films shot in Jharkhand for more than half of the total shooting days of the film will get Rs. 1 crore and those shot for two-third of total days will get Rs. 2 crore. Once a grant is given for film making in the state, further films shot in Jharkhand will get more incentives, Dr. Barnwal elaborated.

ICFT Jury member and UNESCO Director and Representative addressed the media

ICFT Jury Member Georges Dupont and Mr. Eric Falt, UNESCO director and representative for a region covering Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka addressed the press conference in IFFI 2018.

“ICFT is involved in major film festivals all over the world but Goa is the master-piece of all Film Festivals”, said Mr. Georges Dupont, DG, International Council for Film Television and Audiovisual Communication (ICFT) and jury member of the ICFT UNESCO Gandhi Medal at IFFI. “ICFT is trying hard to get into festivals like Cannes in order to get space for young film-makers”, he added.

Mr. Eric Falt, Director, UNESCO said “UNESCO supports culture in all its forms and there is a long-standing love affair between cinema and the international organisation. It is involved in many cultural programmes in India. The ICFT UNESCO Gandhi Medal eschews the value of Peace, Unity and International Co-operation. We are making efforts to prepare for the 50th anniversary of the festival next year and to bring ICFT and UNESCO closer”, he said.

2 Indian films, Baaram and Walking with the Wind, are amongst the 12 films nominated for the ICFT UNESCO GANDHI medal.

Media interaction of Feature Film and Non-feature film directors in Indian Panorama section in IFFI 2018

Satyaprakash Upadhyay director of Bunkar: The Last of Varanasi weavers expressed his concerns about the handloom weaver community from Varanasi who are almost on the verge of extinction. “While we did a research on the topic, we found that most of the people are buying power-loom woven saris mistaking them as hand-woven. The commoners don’t understand the difference between handloom and power-loom and that is making a huge difference. If we go to the shop and ask for a handloom banarsi saree then they will definitely give us one. If we become aware and know the difference, maybe the handloom weaver community will survive”, he added.

Akashaditya Lama, Director of Nani Teri Morni shared his experiences about making the film which happens to be one of the rare language film in the Indian Panorama section. Made in Nagamese language this film is also the only film from the North-East India. The film is based on the real story of the story of a seven year old child who swam across a river to save a drowning grandmother. “The stories from our ancestors form the bedrock of our, thoughts, and they in turn create the persons we become. The main character in this film Mhonbeni Ezung who became the youngest recipient of National Bravery award for children in 2015, was also inspired by such a story told by her grandmother which prompted her act of bravery”, he said. He added that his perception about Nagaland changed a lot while shooting the film there.

Interestingly there was another filmmaker at the same press conference, whose film is based out of Varanasi. Journalist turned film maker Sanoj V. S, director of Burning said it is his obsession towards the holy city of Varanasi that prompted him to create such a film. The story shown from the perspective of two mothers depicts how women are subjected to social forces like patriarchy, religion and caste, he said.

Biopics need to show the truth and not fabricate facts in the name of commercialization

The open forum was marked with exchange of views on the topic director’s take on biopics -how much fact and how much fiction is there in it? Addressing the question asked by Shashwat Gupta Ray, moderator for the forum, Rahul Rawail, Chairman of the Feature-film Jury, Indian Panorama told that until the facts are not fabricated, it’s fine if the director chooses to tell the story his way.

“I didn’t make any biopic films but I was writing screen play for Raja Ravi Verma. I believe that facts are important but what matters is how you present the story”, said Shaji Karun, the renowned director and director of film Olu.

Olu was the opening film in the feature-film section of Indian Panorama

“The script was first written in Malayalam and then converted to Jasari”: Pampally, the director of ‘Sinjar’, a rare language film

In another press conference, the directors of feature films in Indian Panorama ‘Sinjar’ and ‘Nagarkirtan’ addressed the media sharing their experience and about making films and issues they face.

Pampally, the director of Sinjar, says “Sinjar is a place in Iraq. Most people know the importance of Iraq. ISIS people who captured the place in 2014 and from that day the place is called Sinjar. They captivated Yazidi ladies and girls were brutally sexually harassed and abducted into dark house. My story shows how international terrorism affects the life of an ordinary fisherman in Lakshadweep. When terrorist attacks and conflicts happen around the world, we never thought how such incidents affect ordinary, uneducated people. This film tries to portray the hardships of such people.”

He also explained the challenges he faced while doing a film in the local dialect of Jasari which lack any script or grammer. “The script was first written in Malayalam and with the help of local youth it was converted to local spoken language. The actors were also given some training for pronouncing this dialect. These also exercise turned it into a Himalayan task.

Pampally marks his debut in IFFI 2018 with Sinjar which is also a rare language film made in Jasari language

Actor Riddhi Sen, winner of 65th National Film Award for Best Actor, says “I am happy that Nagarkirtan is being screened at #IFFI2018, one of the biggest film festivals in the world. Everyone here is living and breathing cinema. Hopefully, I can come back here if I am worthy enough.

Riddhi Sen said that playing the character of a transgender in ‘Nagarkirtan’ was a life changing experience for him. “The movie is about a transgender person who has a woman trapped inside a man’s body. The transformational part from a man to a transgender individual was very difficult. The hardest thing was to capture the physicality of a woman and maintaining the fine line”

“The film is a little effort to plunge into the darkness and help those people who are not accepted the way they are. He expressed hope that this film will change the attitude of at least one percent of society towards third gender.”

“The Trial of the Joan of Arc is a timeless story”: Matthew Wilder, director of ‘Regarding the Case of Joan of Arc’

Matthew Wilder, the director of ‘Regarding the Case of Joan of Arc’ said, “The Trial of the Joan of Arc is a timeless story and I chanced upon it when it came in news recently due to incidents of shooting in school. In this film, the director tries to depict a future America where domestic terrorism and ISIS become merged into a single institution. The dialogues in the movie are especially true in today’s political scenario in USA. The protagonist of the movie is a supporter of white nationalism. The film intends to show a character which possesses courage, is unable to be moved but at the same time it supports horrifying values.

Nicole got nothing more than six days to gear up for this very heavy role, as the actor who was originally meant to play that role backed out at the last moment. That Nicole got this film is an incredible thing because the lead actor is almost in every scene. She fits the role perfectly; it is as if the film has been written for her. I am overwhelmed by the response that the movie received at the world premiere yesterday at IFFI”.

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