Noida: The third edition of the Cineaste International Film Festival of India – CIFFI 2021 was inaugurated on December 15, 2021, amidst the galaxy of media and entertainment professionals and academic stalwarts. The seven-day gala event which is the world’s first Hybrid International Film Festival by educational institutions of two countries is being organized by the Media School of Delhi Metropolitan Education, Noida, India in association with the School of Communications and Creative Arts, Deakin University, Australia, on December 15-21.
This year the theme of the CIFFI 2021 is Cinematic Rejuvenation #Cinema2021. Mr. Tigmanshu Dhulia, noted Indian film dialogue writer, director, actor, screenwriter, producer, and casting director, is the festival ambassador of CIFFI 2021.
The first day of the film festival witnessed words of appreciation and encouragement from eminent scholars and filmmakers during the inaugural session. The inaugural was followed by a panel discussion and master class. Films received for the film festival were also screened online in two segments of fiction and documentary at the official website of CIFFI 2021.
Inaugurating the Cineaste International Film Festival – CIFFI 2021, Mr. Aman Sahni, Vice Chairman, DME and Patron, CIFFI 2021 spoke about the challenges of organizing a mega film festival like CIFFI during difficult times of Covid. “It is a big undertaking and a wonderful beginning especially during difficult times as Covid.”
Dr. Ambrish Saxena, Festival Director, and Dean DME Media School, Noida gave an insight into the journey of CIFFI since 2019 and how the concept of hybrid mode has been a successful experiment so far. He also spoke about the contribution of students in CIFFI 2021.” Learning through hands-on is our motto at DME. Being an educational institution, it is imperative that students should remain in the forefront,” he said.
Introducing CIFFI to the audience, Dr. Vikrant Kishore, Festival Director and Course Director-Film, Television & Animation, School of Communication and Creative Arts, Deakin University, Melbourne said that it is the third year of our association with CIFFI and it is growing phenomenal as many more external partners are getting associated with. “It also demonstrates the goodwill that the film festival has generated over the years. CIFFI 2021 is the first of its kind where there will be an intensive focus on the Indian Australian filmmakers especially post covid”, he said.
Welcoming the guests, Dr. Susmita Bala, Festival Associate Director, and Head, DME Media School said, “Covid threat has compelled us to have the cine festival in a hybrid mode. This year the participation is huge and we are overwhelmed. CIFFI 2021 is certainly going to be a lifetime experience for everyone.”
Prof. (Dr) Ravi Kant Swami, Director DME said that resilience is a great characteristic of CIFFI 2021. “It gives leadership to students – a phenomenal exclusive to DME and CIFFI,” he pointed out.
Prof. KG Suresh, Member CIFFI Advisory Board, President, Global Media Education Council (GMEC) and Vice-Chancellor, Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University of Journalism and Communication, Bhopal said that CIFFI 2021 provides the students a platform to learn and exposes them to global cinema. “Films are a reflection of society’s mindset. Today we have a cinema of all genres available to us at a click of a button”, he said.
Prof. Ujjwal Chowdhury, Expert Advisory Board, CIFFI 2021and Secretary, Global Media Education Council (GMEC) lamented that it is time for collaborations and not competitions. CIFFI 2021 is a fine example of such collaboration.
Mr. Anupam Sharma – Member CIFFI Advisory Board, Director/Producer, Films & Casting Temple, Sydney, Australia said that post covid globalization of cinema has become a phenomenon.
Dr. Martin Potter– Member CIFFI Advisory Board and, Lecturer in Screen and Design, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia appreciated being a part of CIFFI 2021. “Cinema is the power of human beings collectively expressing themselves in a single story,” he said.
Mr. Anuj Kulshrestha, Editor, Hindi Gaurav, expressed that cinema has the power to unite the world and teach us to live harmoniously.
Prof. Phillip Mclntyre, Professor, Creative Industries, University of Newcastle cited the relevance of research behind creativity. “Today research is looking at cross-culture for creativity. Creative expressions are linked to the culture we exist in,” he said.
Dr. Gauri D Chakraborty, member, CIFFI Advisory Board and Professor, Times School of Media, Bonnette University, Greater Noida spoke at length on how cine festivals like CIFFI are festivals of collaboration of intellectuals and learners who are exposed to great ideas and thoughts. “Festivals like CIFFI satisfy the basic need of storytelling and provide a platform for building a narrative. Film festivals also create a repository of knowledge for the posterity,” she said.
Mr. Amitabh Srivastava, Senior Journalist and President of the New Delhi Film Foundation (NDFF) said that cinema has the power to transform lives.
Mr. Aditya Seth – CIFFI Advisory Board and award-winning Filmmaker, Academic Consultant for the University of South Wales, UK spoke about observation as a basis of cinema. “Through CIFFI students will get an opportunity to explore the process of film making,” he said.
Mr. Satish Kapoor Festival Director, WE CARE film Festival highlighted the role of participatory approach by involving all the stakeholders thereby creating a platform where views can be shared through cinema. Festivals are big platforms for receiving and transmitting ideas from across countries.
Mr. Praveen Nagda, Festival Director, KidzCINEMA2020, CEO, WhiteCoffee Event Management Pvt. Ltd. Said that films are universal as far as the language is concerned. Films have the ability to bind people together in social harmony.
Kanwar Deepak Gulati, a member of the Advisory Board, CIFFI 2021 spoke about Covid as defining moment in cinema.
Mr. Ashish K Singh, Founder and General Secretary, New Delhi Film Foundation (NDFF) said,” we believe in creating and understanding better cinema and CIFFI 2021 provides us that platform.”
The inaugural ceremony was followed by a panel discussion on Covering Indian Cinema in Australian-Indian Media. Panels were chaired by Dr. Vikrant Kishore and had media and cinema experts as panelists like Neeraj Nanda, Journalist – SAT Times. Neeru Saluja, Freelance Bollywood Reporter, Dheepa Awtani, Editor-in-Chief at @BYSQItzShowtime and Vivek Asri, Journalist of NRI Affairs. The panel discussed the whys and wherefores and factors like the stereotypical image of Bollywood as reasons why Indian cinema has not been able to make its mark in the Australian market.
Less investment in the Australian market is one of the reasons for Indian cinema failing to connect with the Australian audience. “Bollywood is dismissed as an escapist cinema by its own media who had access to Hollywood and they would compare Indian cinema with that,” pointed out Dr. Vikrant Kishore. Thanks to OTT platforms, regional Indian cinema has been doing very well in Australia as compared to Bollywood, he said. The panel concluded that Bollywood needs to come up with universal themes to be successful across the world.
Day one of CIFFI 2021 concluded with the Master Class on Gender and Cinema by Professor Eylem Atakav from the University of East Anglia, UK. She spoke about forced marriages, child brides, girl abuse, and other issues related to women. She presented the finding of her documentary in this regard while adding that the problems of Turkey as shown in the documentary are the problems in almost all the countries of the world. The session was moderated by Mr. Pramod Kumar Pandey, Assistant Professor, DME Media School.
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