The 22nd Pune International Film Festival (PIFF) commenced on Friday at the Ganesh Kala Krida Manch in Swargate. The inaugural ceremony featured the ceremonial lamp lighting by Dr Jabbar Patel, PIFF Director, Avinash Dhakane, Managing Director of Dadasaheb Phalke Film City Mumbai, Francesca Amendola, Director of Italian Cultural Institute, Ravi Gupta, Secretary of Pune Film Foundation, and Markus Biechele, Director of Goethe Institute Max Mueller Bhavan.
In his opening address, Patel informed that this year PIFF received 1,186 entries from 51 countries, out of which more than 140 films have been selected. Explaining the theme of the festival as 'Cinema is Hope,' he said, "Considering the turmoil going on in the world, we thought it appropriate to address the theme of world peace. Cinema is a powerful medium to highlight what is happening around the world."
PIFF also felicitated veteran radio announcer Ameen Sayani, director-actor Gautam Ghosh, and dancer-actress Leela Gandhi with the 'PIFF Distinguished Award' for their significant contributions to Indian cinema. Music composer, singer, and lyricist MM Keeravani was honoured with the ‘SD Burman Award’ for his outstanding contribution to the field of music. After receiving the award, the Oscar winner said, "I believe that SD Burman was one of the best musicians in the world, and it is an honour to receive the award named after him. I grew up listening to SD Burman's music. His music was like a perfect marriage between melody and lyricism." Keeravani also praised Maharashtrian music and sang 'Toch Chandrama Nabhat,' composed by legendary music director Sudhir Phadke.
The festival opened with the Italian film 'A Brighter Tomorrow' and will conclude with the screening of another Italian film 'Kidnapped' on January 25. PIFF will feature master classes by Vikas Kharge, Avinash Dhakne, Jhanu Barua, Shai Goldman, and Manoj Bajpayee. Additionally, a seminar titled 'In Search of New Marathi Cinema' will include discussions Nikhil Mahajan, Varun Narvekar, Ritesh Deshmukh, Mangesh Desai, and Sanjay Krushnaji Patil. Speakers like Dr Saibal Chatterjee, Beena Paul, and Edvinas Pukasta will contribute to a seminar exploring the future and significance of film festivals.
'Maharashtra govt to introduce new film policy soon'
Avinash Dhakane, Managing Director of Dadasaheb Phalke Film City Mumbai, shared insights into the forthcoming film policy by the Maharashtra government. According to Dhakane, the policy aims to bolster local filmmakers by presenting abundant opportunities. He emphasised that the proposed policy is scheduled for discussion before the cabinet in the near future. As a crucial component of this policy, the government envisions establishing a streamlined process, a single-window system, for acquiring clearances necessary for film shoots in diverse locations, encompassing both government and private spaces throughout the state.