The Times of India City (26 December 2015)
NeW DELHI: Children's films like Stanley Ka Dabba, Chillar Party and I Am Kalam have been able to carve out a niche for themselves in an industry that mostly knows big budgets and megastars. But commercial success of meaningful children's films remains a will-o'-the-wisp for many.
Now, Smile Foundation has come up with the first edition of Smile International Film Festival for Children and Youth (SIFFCY) to showcase the diversity and meaningfulness of children's cinema. The event is on at Siri Fort Auditorium till December 27.
The festival received over 2,000 entries from over 100 countries and picked up 80 critically-acclaimed films that have won awards at various international film festivals. It has the support of renowned National Award-winning directors like Nagesh Kukunoor, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Santosh Sivan, Jahnu Barua, Oscar-winning sound designer Resul Pookutty, and critics like Saibal Chatterjee and Utpal Borpujari. "Audio-visual is the most powerful medium to sensitise the masses. This is how the concept of a festival came up, " said Jitendra Mishra, festival director, SIFFCY.
SIFFCY gave out awards in eight categories where Franco-Belgian film Birds of Passage was declared the best feature film. The best actor award was given to Ramesh and J Vignesh for the Tamil film Kaaka Muttai.
Smile has conceptualised and created over 60 short films, including I am Kalam with an aim to create a space for good cinema beyond entertainment. "While working for underprivileged children, we realised that privileged children also need to be sensitised about the conditions of the former. There is a need to expose them to the right content and cinema plays a very important role in this because of its larger-than-life size," said festival chairman Shantanu Mishra.
The festival features short films, feature films and documentaries, There are also filmmaking workshops for children and interactive sessions with filmmakers, producers and experts from the industry.
"Good cinema is the need of the hour. By that I mean cinema that give more than entertainment; movies that make us cry, laugh, and provoke us to think," said Dhulia.