Free Press Journal

These film fests are unconventional in the true sense

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We all know about the MAMI, the Cannes, the BAFTA and the Oscars… During these events, our newspapers and television screens get inundated with images and videos from the glamour world. The celebrities on the red carpet posing with their unique, and sometimes weird, dresses, paparazzi relentlessly clicking snaps, inside out media coverage, it’s pure entertainment served in a single platter called ‘film festival’. It becomes a centre stage for international movie makers who come from different parts of the world; they tend to entertain the global audience with their work of art. But in the midst of such star-studded lime lights sometimes some specific genre-based movies fail to get the attention on a major scale. Therefore, there are some film festivals that echoe in different parts of the world and which provide a platform for such theme-centric films.

Did you know that Mumbai hosts South Asia’s biggest film fest for LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender, Queer) community called Kashish. The 8th consecutive edition of the Kashish International Queer Film Festival is all set to enthral with 147 films from 45 countries from May 24 to 28, with the title theme ‘Diverse One’ which explores the varied shades and diversity of LGBTQ. This distinctive film festival is supported and sponsored by ace actor Anupam Kher’s acting school, Actor Prepares. “I am heartened to see Kashish growing year by year, providing a fantastic platform for independent queer cinema, bringing together films and offering a bridge to many cultures around the world. Actor Prepares is committed to nurturing talent and we are delighted to continue our support, for the fourth year, to three of the awards at the festival. I wish the festival even greater success,” says Kher. Akin Kashish, there are many not-so-popular fests which though do not score high on glitzy quotient but bring an eclectic mix of platter on filmy plate.

Bring Your Own Film Festival


If you are inclined towards cinema and movie making, and specially direction, then it’s probably good news for aspiring movie makers. This unique fest happens during February in Odhisha at the spotless beaches of Puri where one can carry their own film and register for the screenings regardless of formalities and tiring registration process. All you have to do is create your own film and let it screen on the spot, meanwhile you can enjoy watching movies on installed screens on the beach with serene and beautiful surrounding, all night long. To all the budding movie makers, Odhisha is calling you!

Kirloskar Vasundhara International Film Festival

Nature lovers take note! Kirloskar Vasundhara International film Festival is the mainstream environmental fest that happens in different parts of Maharashtra like, Nashik, Solapur, Kolhapur and Dhule. It offers a chance for all nature enthusiasts to come forward and hold up the key issues of environment related problems through film screenings and along with this, delegates engage into different activities with concerning issues like wildlife, water, air, energy on the ground level. This film fest is mainly held in Pune, in the month of January. The idea behind this novel concept is actually to provide a common platform for effective communication material for natural heritage.

Docedge Kolkata

The land which gave legendary writers, poets and singers, has proved that Kolkata is the most creative place when it comes to art and films. Kolkata wholeheartedly celebrates its love for documentary in its annual film fest called Docedge Kolkata. Unlike other film fests which have special screenings for documentaries, Docedge Kolkata is one-of-a-kind film festival that not only showcases world class documentaries but also provides extensive learning opportunities for Asian filmmakers. Docedge Kolkata bridges the gap between the creative ideas and international outreach which offers panel discussions among filmmakers and international broadcasters. This special documentary film fest happens annually from February to March in Kolkata, West Bengal.

National Science Film Festival and Competition

For the country that has touched new heights in the field of science and technology, it is but obvious that onscreen space too should be created for the same. National Science Film Festival and Competition was initiated in the year 2010. This festival has award categories of popular science programme, short film and animation/graphic film.The seventh edition of the sci-fi film fest was recently held in Kolkata in February.

Jagran Fim Festival

Jagran Film Festival is country’s one of the travelling film festivals that covers 16 cities with 400 screenings across the nation. The festival celebrates the spirit of humanity and oneness. With the massive outreach of at least 50,000 people it screens all ranging from Bollywood hit movies to unknown majestic movies along with documentaries.

Vibgyor International Film Festival

A film fest which is held annually in Thrissur, Kerala, it is dedicated to merely short films which gradually led the movement for alternative film fest conceptualised solely for short films. This year Vibgyor is all set to enthral the audience with the theme ‘Dissent’ in August. The 12th edition will be a three days festival that will see short documentaries across the world.

The Golden Elephant

Initiated and supported by the Children’s Film Society India, The Golden Elephant or International Film Festival India (ICFFI) is a step forward to encourage children in the field of films and drama. The film festival offers a delightful ride that takes audience in the beautiful and cheerful world of children. Being a children-centric film festival, it mainly focuses on documentaries, short films and animated movies. It offers clean, entertaining and multi-cultural content for little viewers.

Delhiites beat the heat with Indie film fest

Delhi played host to Pickurflick Indie Film Festival (PIFF) 2017, India’s first multi-city offline and online indie film festival for independent filmmakers from around the globe, over the weekend at Instituto Cervantes.

The three-day multilingual festival had a lot to offer for a movie buff. The 70 films that were screened at the Delhi edition of the fest included 52 shorts, seven features, eight animations and three documentaries. The festival marked two World Premieres, 35 Asian Premieres and 6 Indian Premieres.

The opening film of the festival was Arabic animation, AYNY-My Second Eye, which was also the Golden Oscar winner at 43rd Student Academy Awards 2016, while the critically acclaimed WWII German feature, Hore Die Stille (Hear The Silence) was the closing film. The Bitter Truth, Abdul Rashid Bhat’s acclaimed documentary on Kashmir’s Dal Lake, was screened on the first day.

Other films that were screened at the festival included Jaicheng Jai Dohutia’s Haanduk (an Assamese film which won the 64th National Film Awards for Best Feature), Iranian short film Label (winner of Best Experimental Film at Venezuela Film Festival & New York Academy of Film & Music 2017), and Myanmar film My Life I Don’t Want.
On the last day of the festival, the filmmakers were felicitated with awards such as best director, best short film, best feature film, best documentary, best animation, best cinematography, best editing, best screenplay, viewers’ choice award and emerging talent award.

The Bangalore edition of the festival was held from 31st March- 2nd April 2017 where 50 films were screened with 20 premieres. The inaugural edition of the festival received more than 550+ films’ entries from 50 countries.
The jury members who selected the films at both the venues were Anusha Rizvi (Peepli Live), Bhaskar Hazarika (Kothanodi), Mahendra Jakhar (Swastika Killer), Sanal Kumar Sasidharan (Sexy Durga) and Rao Narendra Yadav (Founder-Director, Woodpecker International Film Festival).

Abhishek Sinha, Founder, Pickurflick.com, says, “It’s a celebration of the true Indie spirit that is fostering the creativity worldwide. What’s interesting is that these films also reflect the current underlying tones be it conflict, gender discrimination or complexities of modern day relationships. We are sure the audience will enjoy the selection of films as much as we did putting it up.” –Shillpi A Singh