The promise of enlightenment
by Anuradha Kodagoda‘
Reading’ as the old axiom goes, ‘maketh a full man’. Paraphrasing it with a twist to suit the modern digital era we are living in, one could also say ‘cinema makes a full man’. At least that is what the much awaited International Film Festival of Colombo 2015 (IFFColombo) promises, with the captivating theme, ‘Be enlightened’ (Oba Awith Pirenna).In its second edition, IFFColombo, will be held from November 6 to 11, in association with the Okinawa International Movie Festival and is powered by the National Film Corporation and the Directors’ Guild of Sri Lanka (DGOSL).Last year’s IFF Colombo was both a treat and a novel experience for Sri Lankan cinema-goers, who got the opportunity to savour the latest international films, free of charge. It was also a huge success with enthusiastic crowds thronging the various cinema halls which were Festival venues.As in its debut edition, the festival venues this year too are several key theatres in Colombo – the Regal cinema, Majestic cinema complex, the Empire, Tharangani Hall at the National Film Corporation and SLTTI.Addressing a recent press briefing, IFFC festival director and world renowned filmmaker, Asoka Handagama referred to the success of the first edition of IFF Colombo and was hopeful of the second edition being a landmark event, especially with the partnership of National Film Corporation.
Dheepan with Cannes Award
He said more than 100 movies were scheduled to be screened, and that the specialty of the chosen movies apart from being the latest productions was that most of them have been featured in the world’s number one film festivals this year. “We are doing our best this time as well, to bring the world best cinema to Sri Lankan cinema lovers free of charge,” he pointed out
‘Dheepan’ to open IFF Colombo 2015
The festival will have its grand opening on November 6, 2015 with the screening of the Cannes Golden Palm award winning film ‘Dheepan’. A film by renowned French director Jacques Audiard, ‘Dheepan’, starring Jesuthasan Anthonythasan, a former Tamil Tiger child soldier, is based on a true story about a Tamil Tiger child soldier who escaped the civil war in Sri Lanka, with a young woman and a little girl, posing as a family. They end up settling in a housing project outside Paris. And even though they barely know one another, they try to build a life together.
Top Asian films to participate
in the IFFC this year will also have a section titled ‘Asian Competition’ making the event a competitive film festival from this year.Ten highly acclaimed movies from the Asian region will be shortlisted to compete for the most prestigious award of the Festival. Competing will be seven new films produced by Sri Lankan filmmakers.
Mosaic of Sri Lankan new cinema
With the objective of appreciating local film directors at the Festival, a fresh section named ‘Mosaic of Sri Lankan New Cinema Competition’ has also been introduced to the Festival at beginning the year.
Prof. Dragan Milinkovic Fimon
In this section the most cinematic movie of the year, named by a NETPAC appointed jury, will be awarded the ‘Cinema of Tomorrow Award’. The NETPAC jury is headed by Ashley Rathnavibhushana.
Cinema from the World
With the purpose of giving a wide cinematic experience to Sri Lankan audience, more than 50 globally acclaimed movies will be screened at IFFColombo. Apart from ‘Dheepan’, the movies include Berlin Golden Bear award winning film ‘Taxi’ by Jafar Panahi, ‘Eisenstein in Guanajuato’ by world cinema icon Peter Greenaway and ‘Sils Maria’ by Olivier Assayas.Retrospectives of Veteran Film MakersThe renowned Indian film personality, Adoor Gopalakrishnan as well as Serbian movie icon Emir Kusturica will be felicitated at IFFC 2015, with a screening of their outstanding movies.
Documentary and Short Film corner
Another new event at the IFFC is the opportunity for young short filmmakers, to screen their short films and vie of the Regal Award for the four Best Sri Lankan Short films. This event will be held in association with Ceylon Theatres Pvt. Ltd., the main theatre partner of the IFFC.
Prof Lydia Trisovic
The ‘Regal Award’ will be given on the night of the closing ceremony and the winners will have a rare opportunity to screen their movies at Regal Theatre. Other fascinating events at IFFC include the screening of some of the most acclaimed French movies, a cinematic gift from the Embassy of France in Sri Lanka; an opportunity to experience Japanese cinema courtesy Okinawa International Movie Festival and movie master classes, one by Alby James, the ‘Bond’ movie producer on the theme ‘How to bring your film to the world’ hosted by the British Council, and two by Prof Dragan Milinkovic Fimon an eminent university professor, producer, drama writer and director on the themes ‘Looking at Movies’ and ‘Reading Kusturica’ .All the master classes will be held at the Sri Lanka Foundation. In addition to master classes, there will also be a workshop hosted by Sri Lanka Convention Bureau on ‘Touch of Glamour’ conducted by Prof. Lydia Trisovic, a master makeup artist and a teacher. The workshop is aimed at professionals in media and beauty industry. The workshop will be held on November 7 at the Hilton Colombo.
Lifetime Achievement Awards
Acclaimed Indian film director, script writer, and producer Addor Gopalakrishnan and Indian film critic Aruna Vasudev will be honoured at IFFC with a Lifetime achievement award to appreciate their priceless contribution to promote Asian cinema throughout the world.