Recently concluded first BRICS film festival which was held in New Delhi in the run up the to the BRICS summit to be held in Goa next month, has left a very positive impact amongst the film critique and film lovers’ community. The success of the Festival can be gauged from the fact that from this year onwards, a specially curated BRICS section would form part of the India International Film Festival which would become a regular feature in the future editions of IFFI. Participants from all the five BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) who came together for the Festival were very upbeat at its success and also about the future possibilities; it might open up for forging the long-term alliances to enhance mutual cooperation amongst the participating nations in the field of films, art and culture.
A jury member of the BRICS Fest and Filmmaker from South Africa, Xoliswa Sithole was visibly impressed by the format of the Festival when she said, “I have no doubt that in 15 years time, the BRICS will be at a place where everyone will be aiming for”. Critics, after seeing the structure and format of the Festival, are confident that BRICS Film Festival would certainly gain credence amongst the international film-lovers and film-makers and would soon be counted as one of the top Film events held at international level..
The format of the BRICS Fest is vastly different from the rest of the national and international film festivals. The best part of this Festival is that it did not confine itself with the showcasing of Films but unlike other Festivals, it also included the special events on craft & sculpture, cultural presentation and even cuisines of BRICS nations. This peculiarity gives it a special place amongst other Festivals held world over.
With this film festival, these countries would be connected, not only at the level of Governments, but also at the level of common people who will get the opportunity to know and appreciate each other’s cinema, art and culture. It will also create awareness about each others’ strengths in these fields which can be shared for further enhancing our gains through such exchanges.
It may not be out of place to mention here that BRICS Film Festival is the brain child of our Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He had proposed this unique idea of organizing BRICS film fest, at last year’s BRICS summit at Ufa in Russia. This ideas was immediately accepted by all the participants and that is how we got the opportunity to hold the first Film Festival in the run up to the 8th BRICS Summit schedule to take place on October 15-16 in Goa. It has been decided that BRICS Film Festival will be organized by one of its five member nations every year, thus every nation will get the chance of organizing it after 5 years. The second BRICS Film Fest will be organized, in Chengdu, China next year.
However Chengdu city has already grabbed the attention of people in First BRICS Film Fest itself, with its spectacular cultural programme at closing ceremony presented by Chengdu Performing Arts Theatre. Among other Cultural Programmes, Theatre Leningrad too gave a stunning performance, which mesmerized the viewers during a special cultural evening on the second day of the Festival. Besides this, the cultural program by MBZ music production from South Africa was also superb. All these cultural events were greatly appreciated by the art critiques.
Organized in New Delhi’s Sirifort Auditorium, from 2nd to 6th September, BRICS Film Fest was successful in capturing the attention and appreciation of the common people who gathered in large numbers to watch the Films and cultural performances. In this 5-day festival, total 20 films were in competition category, which comprised of four Films from each member nation. Apart from this, the festival showcased 17 short films, which were made by Cinema Students of India and Russia.
Winner of Best Feature film award for Kannada film ‘Thithi’, Raam Reddy told this author after the function, “I was not expecting that our film ‘Thithi’ will win Best Feature Film Award in BRICS, because China too had very beautiful films in this competition. But this is really nice moment for me that our film has been highly acclaimed by the audience and the jury.”
Additionally, a Russian film titled ‘Leo Tolstoy and Mahatma Gandhi’ made waves during the Festival because of the fresh treatment given by its Directors Anna Evtushenko and Dr Galina Evtushenko. This Film was not the part of competition but still keenly watched and appreciated by large number of people. The film is based on the correspondence between the two great spiritual teachers of the humanity; Leo Tolstoy and Mahatma Gandhi who never met each other but during the last year of Tolstoy’s life, there were series of letters exchanged between them. The film is based on this correspondence and covers philosophical, religious and political issues.
During Film festival, Minister of State for Information & Broadcasting, Col. Rajyavardhan Rathore informed, that India has already signed co -production agreements with two of the member nations – Brazil and China. At the closing ceremony, Information & Broadcasting Minister M Venkaiyah Naidu informed that to promote India as filming destination the Government has been actively considering signing co- production agreements with Russia and South Africa, taking the process forward of having signed similar agreements with Brazil and China.
Critics are rightly optimistic about BRICS Film Fest as population of BRICS nations comprises of 43% of world population and all five nations are making rapid economic progress. With this, BRICS nations will get giant market not just for their films, but for their culture, craft and cuisines as well. If BRICS nations will start co-producing the films on big canvas, it would change the current scenario of world cinema.
During the Film festival, everyone focused on the co-production concept to be worked upon, so that BRICS Film Fest would be able to grow in its significance, and would quickly generate good commercial results as well. Also, this is likely to increase the tourism amongst the BRICS nations.