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IFFI 2017: Want to show people good cinema, says Kiran Shantaram of his connection with festivals

Challenges in organizing film festivals is the topic at this year's Open Forum in Goa.

Sunit Tandon (with mike) and Kiran Shantaram (in white) at the Open Forum. Photo: Shutterbugs Images

Sukhpreet Kahlon

Digital technology may have made everyone a filmmaker, but does the country have proper infrastructure to show these films, Amit R Agarwal, head of international alliances at Global Film Festivals, NOIDA, asked at the inauguration of the Open Forum at the 48th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in Goa yesterday.

Agarwal, however, said new technology is making it easier to organize film festivals and emphasized that such events help in the exchange of ideas.

The Open Forum, organized as always by the Federation of Film Societies of India (FFSI) and the Entertainment Society of Goa (ESG), is an integral part of IFFI and sees discussion on various aspects of filmmaking. This year the topic is ‘new challenges in organizing film festivals’.

Prakash Reddy, FFSI southern region secretary, reminisced about the inception of the forum back in 1988, at the IFFI in Trivandrum, Kerala. Current IFFI director Sunit Tandon, who was at the Trivandrum event 29 years ago with the state broadcaster Doordarshan, remembered it as a memorable one. According to Tandon, the festival poster that year was designed by none other than the great filmmaker G Aravindan.

Kiran V Shantaram, FFSI president and son of one of India's greatest early filmmakers, recounted his own experience organizing festivals and spoke of the time he started the MAMI (Mumbai Academy of the Moving Image) festival in Mumbai 20 years ago. “The first year was so difficult," he said. "It was organized without any backing. I started the festival with Rs5 lakh from my own pocket.”

Kiran has also been part of the Asian Film Festival for 15 years now. On his involvement with festivals, he said, “I don’t know anything other than films. My intention is to show people good cinema under one roof. My father [the late V Shantaram] told me to do this and so I am continuing.”

Rajendra Singh Babu, chairman of the Karnataka Chalachitra Academy, referred to the festival organized by the Karnataka government in Bengaluru and dwelt on the problem of getting films as festivals in several cities like Pune, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Goa and Chennai happen around the same time. “We should get all films and all states should enjoy them,” he suggested.

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