The week-long 20th Golden Elephant International Children’s film festival of India (ICFFI) has been drawing huge crowds in theatres but its most striking feature is that children from all over the country have come here to see the films and among them are kids from Himachal Pradesh who have never been to a theatre because there are no cinema halls near their houses.
In this festival, organised by Children’s Film Society, India, (CFSI) and Telangana Government, a few children, who have never been to a theatre, are viewing films in cinema halls and staying with film makers and Jury members at the Park Hotel, the stay venue of the festival. Thus they are exposed to cinema environment and get an opportunity to interact with Indian as well as foreign film makers.
However, the best category in the festival is ‘Little Directors’ in which films for children have been made by children themselves. Production of flms by children have been started as an activity. We (CFSI) teach children how to express their stories. We keep pace with formats, platforms for consumption. We now have a web series called V3 which will be launched soon on our website and FB page.
India has 16-18 languages. However, Cinema is a language which no one teaches. Many kids are the first generation learners.Only a lot of privileged students get an opportunity to experience Cinema.
The impact that Little Director’s section is having would soon have an exponential curve.. These children will find a way to express themselves. I feel thilled to hear what film makers have to say about Little Directors. There is a whole spectrum of kids we (CFSI) are catering to. CFSI has a catal;ogue of over 260 films in 15 different languages. In every theatre, we have put up a stall where CDs of CFSI films are sold and the response has been encouraging.
Another extra-ordinary feature of this festival is that for the first time many Festival Directors have come from abroad. When we invited them, they immediately responded saying that would attend the festival which only shows that Golden Elephant Festival has gained popularity in the last few years since I joined CFSI as the CEO.
Another important aspect of this festival is that out of the 1402 entries which we received this year, 30 foreign films were those which had received many international awards and have been nominated in more than 50 film festivals all over the world. Thus Golden Elephant festival (ICFFI) has become well known all over the world for screening quality films.
According to our daily schedule, many films in various categories were screened in theatres in Hyderabad and all over Telangana state. Even today, workshops and Open forums were held in which delegates and children participated wholeheartedly.