Overview Of Bangalore

in 14th Bengaluru International Film Festival

by Latika Padgaonkar

It was a race against time to get the 14th Bengaluru International Film Festival (BIFFES) on its feet. Organised by the Karnataka Chalanachitra (film) Academy, and supported by the Government of Karnataka, the official green light for holding BIFFES came barely five weeks before the decided date. The organisers got their act together at breakneck speed. The innumerable and often complicated facets of a festival – films, sections, competitions, guests, juries, venues, hotels, travel (both within and outside the city) and hospitality, permissions, media and much else – were all a last-minute job, but a thorough one, and in the end it all worked out. Above all, there was an eager, bustling, and enthusiastic crowd, which is what an event such as this one needs. And Bengaluru rose to the occasion.

The 14th edition had a good deal in store for cinephiles with varied tastes. Over 170 films from across the world, more than 60 guests and jury members and screenings in 13 cinema halls. There were competitions in four categories – Asian, Indian, Kannada (the language of the state of Karnataka where Bengaluru is located) and FIPRESCI.

The country in focus this year was South Korea, with a clutch of seven films – a mix of auteur cinema and films with socio-political themes. The section on Wong Kar-Wai, featuring five of his best works, was, predictably, a hit with the audience. Meanwhile, a tribute was paid to African cinema’s father figure – Senegal’s Ousmane Sembene – on the occasion of his birth centenary.

The largest section – Cinema of the World – with more than 50 recent works from Asia, Europe, Africa and Latin America drew large crowds because of its sheer diversity. There was also a nostalgic package of Indian classics – some dating back as far as 1936 and 1938. And, naturally, there was a section on popular Kannada cinema as well as an homage to the late V K Murthy (also from the state), an ace cinematographer and recipient of India’s highest prize in the field of cinema –the Dadasaheb Phalke Award – whose camerawork behind some iconic Hindi films played a major role in their box-office success.

Round tables and Master Classes were also organised by the festival’s top brass – Director Ashok Cashyap and Artistic Director H N Narahari Rao (who has been associated with the festival for nearly 25 years). Talks and lectures were held on sound Design, Screenplay, Cinematography, and also on a few out-of-the-box topics such as Transcendental Cinema by Sri Lankan director Vimukti Jayasundara and Capturing Value from Metaverse in the Media Sector by Thomas Kuruvilo.

The main award in the Asian category was shared by the Indonesian film Before, Now & Then (Nana) and the Iranian film Motherless (Bi Madar), while the Sri Lankan film Sand (Munnel) was the runner-up. In the Indian Competition, the Best Film Award went to Chicken Curry (Koli Esru), and the Fipresci award to Aparajito. As for the Kannada section, Naanu Kusuma won the Best Film Prize and Aadhivaasi received a Special Mention. Several other awards were given away in this category as well.

The organisers can now take a break from the over-hectic – indeed frenzied – schedule they gave themselves. They proved that time was no hurdle. And they can be satisfied by their achievement: Bengaluru’s energised and responsive crowd, the festival’s contented guests and the venues’ congenial atmosphere.


Latika Padgaonkar
Edited by Amber Wilkinson