Film festivals usually bring the director closer to his audiences. The South Asian Film Festival (SAFF) not only seeks to strengthen this connection, but also offers a socio-political platform for filmmakers and the Government to interact. The fifth edition of the SAFF to be held from 17th to 20th September in Panjim will see the participation of official delegations from the governments of various South Asian countries like Bhutan, Nepal and Pakistan.
Defining the aim behind the festival as dissolving boundaries, Jitendra Desprabhu, Chairman-OC, SAFF, speaking at a press conference said, “This festival has politico-economic implications, as it seeks cooperation between the SAARC nations. Despite the political disturbances, we can come together through culture as one unified bloc. We are trying to dissolve these boundaries using culture as the medium.”
Rahul Barua, Secretary of the South Asian Foundation, the organizer of the festival, reiterated the importance of the festival in this sphere. “Films are the single most effective medium for improving communication and cooperation with the region.”
The 50 films carefully selected by the selection committee offer film goers a bouquet of human stories, each telling the tale of the human condition. Deshprabhu highlighted this point by talking about the opening Afghan film An Apple from Paradise. “It’s made by the Afghans with no outside help and it deals with the internal turmoil that they face. We gain a better understanding into the Afghan condition. Though they have been ravaged by war and terrorism, they are culturally having their say through film.” The movie talks about the distorted interpretation of religion in Afghanistan.
The red carpet will be rolled out for a host of celebrities from the South Asian film fraternity like Nagesh Kukunoor, Sumitra Peries, Abdul Faththah, Daoud Wahab, Morshedul Islam to mention a few. Nilofar Bhaktiar, Chairperson of the Senate Standing Committee on Culture and Chairperson of the Pakistan Censor Board will also be present.
SAFF will be held in Goa for the third consecutive year. Chief Minister Digambar Kamat, also speaking at the press conference said the Government has pledged ` 10 lakhs in financial support towards the festival.
Another unique feature this year is the art exhibitions by Simran Lamba (a young film maker and painter) and Tabassum Perween (an IIM, Ahmedabad post-graduate student). “We wanted the youngsters to use this platform as well,” Barua explained earlier, while speaking to Goa Chronicle.
The inaugural session will see a contemporary dance performance by noted Kathak dance exponent, Sharmistha Mukherjee. The film fest will also share its space with about 25 newcomers, who are set to get on the reel action.