Celebrating cinema, culture and creativity
By Ayesha singh
21st July 2012 03:46 PM
Distance always makes the heart grow fonder,’ an adage that holds true even to this day. At least for Neville Tuli, a self-confessed filmbuff and chairman of the Osian’s Group. It’s a particularly happy time for him as this year marks the return of the Osian’s Cinefan Film Festival (OCFF) after a gap of two years. The vast scale, high quality and the number of premieres lined up for the event has naturally heightened the buzz, especially given the bold focus on ‘freedom of thought and creative expression’ and the attendance of a large number of leading filmmakers. “There is so much happening during the 10-day festival that sometimes it’s hard to keep a track of all the elements. BlueFrog has stepped on board as a partner to present the best of contemporary music in addition to hosting a number of film screening and discussions. There is also a different section for environmental awareness and related films. Our global summit on ‘Delhi: India’s Next Film City?’ will be a landmark in helping Delhi move towards becoming a global cultural hub, and opening out the possibility of new film centres in north India. Besides that, our inaugural auction on Indian film memorabilia will create new benchmarks for respecting and valuing our vintage cinematic heritage,” says Tuli.
From about 25 films that were screened in its founding year (1999), this time the festival will present 200 films from over 38 countries. OCFF was started by film scholar and historian Aruna Vasudev. She, along with her core team, nurtured a passion for films, which was supported by the Delhi government, and found avenues for growth. “It has taken forward the idea that cinema is a contemporary, inter-disciplined creative process demanding the bests from the worlds of fine and popular arts, music, literature, philosophy, drama, crafts, graphic and textile design, and other such processes. These synergies allow us to reach a higher intellectual and aesthetic sensibility, and set free the power of cinema to influence our culture with as much uplifting of ideals and values as it serves entertainment. This is what we call creating a cinematic culture,” he says, emphasising that India lacks this element, despite its great love for cinema. Tuli adds, “With this balance, the false categories of mainstream and art cinema, success and failure, will be broken, and every chance of integrating cinema across cultures will be much easier. With this, you start picking up and energising all the arts and thus begins the transformation of a value system and soon a cultural renaissance is upon us.”
Showcasing the best of Asian, Arab and Indian cinema, the festival will see 15 world premieres, eight international premieres, 104 Indian and 13 Asian premieres. This time, it will begin its engagement with the history and contemporary practices of animation films with a special focus on animation from Estonia. Curated events for children are also making headways. These include a master class on animation, daily film screenings among other activities. “Our vision is to create a knowledge-driven and financially self-sufficient infrastructure which can help place art, cinema and culture at the heart of India’s developmental process,” says Tuli.
The best way to understand the vast diversity of films that can deeply influence and inspire us, we need to have experienced the entire spectrum of cinema on offer, according to Tuli. From Anand to Haqeeqat, from Chariots of Fire to Finding Neverland, from Roshomon to Mishima, and Caligula to Emperor Tomato Ketchup, endless are the lessons such films give and creative processes they inspire. Therefore, it was decided to keep the festival open for all, and free of cost. Registration, however, is required because of limited seats. Hopefully this year too, the festival will highlight the relentless efforts in introducing new kind of cinema to Indian audience that will stand out as a landmark in times to come.
From July 27 to August 5 at Siri Fort Complex and BlueFrog at the Kila.
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