( December 10, 2019 )
Fifth edition of the Smile International Film Festival for Children and Youth (SIFFCY), supported by BookASmile, opened here on Monday with a screening of award winning Belgian feature film 'Binti,' which marks the directorial debut of filmmaker Frederike Migom.
The film centers on a 12-year-old girl from Congo living in Belgium who enjoys vlogging and aspires to fame. But when police raid her home to deport her and her father, she finds her dream almost crushing. Escaping the police, Binti meets Elias and the two become friends. While Binti helps Elias to vlog about his 'save-the-okapi-club', she hatches the perfect plan: her dad has to marry Elias's mom, so they can stay in Belgium.
Jitendra Mishra, Festival Director, SIFFCY said, ''There are more than 250 million immigrants in the world which is almost 3.5% of the global population and it's an important topic to discuss among the upcoming generation. We want our children to be aware of such global issues and cinema is the right medium I believe. Binti is an emotional story of immigrant father and daughter that talks about this serious topic of immigrants in a lighthearted and entertaining manner.'
The film which has travelled across festivals around the globe has been winning several awards and accolades including the prestigious UNICEF & Grand Prix award.
Santanu Mishra, Executive Trustee of Smile Foundation and Chairman, SIFFCY, said in a statement: 'It is an extremely important subject told from the children's perspective. Year on year, it is our endeavor to being in best of world cinema to India. With such a majestic range of films across genres we are sure to keep our young audiences engaged all through the week.'
Other big award winning films which will be premiered during the festival are Phantom Owl Forest by AnuAun (Estonia), Fight Girl by Johan Timmers (The Netherlands), Inventing Tomorrow by Laura Nix (USA, India, Indonesia, Mexico), Underdog by Seong-Yun OH and Chun-Baek Lee (South Korea), Measure of a Man by Jim Loach (USA), Too Far Away by Sarah Winkenstette (Germany), Here My Village by Abas Aram (Iran), Musk by Vinod Kamble (India) among others.
For the fourth year in a row, the film festival is supported by BookMyShow's charity initiative - BookASmile. Commenting on the collaboration, Farzana CamaBalapnde, Head - BookASmile said, 'We believe in giving underserved beneficiaries the best entertainment experience always. This partnership with Smile Foundation is an extension of our mission to bring powerful and meaningful cinema for social change to 5,000 beneficiaries from NGOs and marginalized communities, in this case, children and youth.'
Also present at the launch were John Stevenson - Director, Kung Fu Panda, Mohsen Chiniforoushan - Secretary-General of CIFEJ, Felix Vanginderhuysen- Founder, Secretary-General of European Children's Film Association, Julia Jarl-Festival Director, BUFF Film Festival, Sweden, and Mitsuo Tahira - Founder and Director, Tokyo Kinder Film Festival.
Like previous years, SIFFCY brings global exposure through good cinema to the young audiences. The week long film festival will have film making workshops, panel discussions with an objective to engage, educate and empower our children and youth.
The festival, spanning from December 9-15 is taking place at the Siri Fort Auditorium in New Delhi.