Maneka Gandhi, Tigmanshu Dhulia inaugurate film fest for kids

Business Standard (21 December 2015)

Women and Child Welfare Minister Maneka Gandhi and filmmaker and National award winner Tigmanshu Dhuliaamong others inaugurated the Smile International Film Festival for Children and Youth (SIFFCY), an initiative to showcase meaningful global cinema for children and youth, here on Monday.

The festival which will have films made by and made for children, was opened by “Celestial Camel” (Russia) and “Birds of Passage” (Belgium – France).

The inauguration ceremony of the event by NGO Smile Foundation saw a packed Siri Fort auditorium, which was full of children from different schools of the capital.

The guests at the event also included Jitendra Mishra, SIFFCY festival director, Santanu Mishra, co-founder and executive trustee of Smile Foundation and chairman SIFFCY and Raji Thomas, chief branding officer, Indira Institutes, Pune.

Reminiscing about her childhood days, Gandhi shared that the first film she saw was “Dak Ghar” and then “Kabuliwalah” in the 1960s.

“We still remember songs like ‘Aa chal ke tujhe main le ke chalu… that era, those movies wove magic,” Gandhi said at the inauguration of the festival here.

“I would also like to request National Film Development Corporation of India (NFDC) to do more funding and encourage films for children,” Gandhi added.

Stressing that nowadays movie tickets have become unaffordable for children, Dhulia, who has films like “Saheb, Biwi Aur Gangster” and “Paan Singh Tomar” to his credit, shared that such platforms should be encouraged.

“I support good cinema,” is the tagline of the movie gala, but Dhulia said: “Good cinema is an ambiguous word.”

“Good cinema is something which should entertain, and teach something at the same time… it should have an element which stays with you,” Dhulia said.

The festival will premiere over 50 independent feature-length films, short films and documentaries during its run. It will conclude on Sunday.

Besides Dhulia, directors Nagesh Kukunoor, Hansal Mehta, Santosh Sivan, Jahnu Barua, and Oscar-winning sound designer Resul Pookutty are among the advisory members of the festival, along with film critics Saibal Chatterjee and Utpal Borpujari.

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