Tuesday, 13th October 2015
By Channa Bandara Wijekoon
The stage is set for the second edition of the International Film Festival of Colombo (IFFC) to be held. The very first media briefing of the six-day gala event was held at Hilton amid the media, cinema fraternity and respective officials.
The Film Directors’ Guild of Sri Lanka (FDGSL) spearheads the festival in association with the NFC as the main partner this year. Okinawa International Movie Festival and other local sponsors too have joined in to stage the event.
The festival director Ashoka Handagama and Prasanna Vithanage expressed their gratitude towards the sponsors, media and especially the filmgoers for contributing towards making the last year’s event a huge success.
NFC chairman Deepal Chandraratne said cinema is a massive industry and Sri Lankan cinema is now at a transition period. He said NFC came forward to motivate IFFC because of the long term benefits it can offer to local cinema.
This year’s theme of IFFC is ‘Come and be enlightened’. Around 100 movies that nurtured world cinema will be featured at IFFC 2015 under several categories.
IFFC 2015 program
IFFC 2015 will be launched on November 6 with the Cannes Golden Palm award winning film ‘Deepan’ directed by renowned French film director Jacques Audiard.
Hosting an Asian Competition is the significance of this year’s IFFC. Ten highly acclaimed movies from Asia will be shortlisted to compete for this most prestigious award of the festival.
Yet another fresh section named Mosaic of Sri Lankan New Cinema Competition will be held to appreciate works of local film directors. The most cinematic movie of the year will bag the Cinema of Tomorrow award presented by the NETPAC appointed jury.
Renowned Indian and Serbian film personalities Adoor Gopalkrishnan and Emir Kusturica will be felicitated at IFFC 2015 when the IFFC team screens their movies for fans.
Over 50 globally acclaimed movies will be screened under the World Cinema section.
French film ‘Corner’ will be screened for French loving movie buffs. Some of the most acclaimed French movies will be screened to the audience.
The IFFC in association with Okinawa International Movie Festival will also offer a chance for viewers to watch a host of Japanese movies.
IFFC will conduct three Master Classes and a workshop this year too. They are: How to bring your film to the world (at Sri Lanka Foundation), Reading Kusturica and Looking at Movies (at Sri Lanka Foundation) and Touch of Glamour for media personnel (at Hilton Colombo).
Three movies from jury members too will be lined up to offer a different experience to Sri Lankan audiences.
Acclaimed Indian film personality Adoor Gopalkrishnan and Indian film critic Aruna Vasudev will be honoured with Lifetime Achievement Awards.
An exhibition will be held at the NFC premises from November 6 to 11. This will shed light on the progress of local cinema from its very inception. Many aspects of local cinema in regard to literature, launches, screening of short films, art direction methods etc will be in focus at the exhibition coupled with musical evenings.
At the closing ceremony night on November 11 Ceylon Theatres Pvt Ltd, the main theatre partner of IFFC, will felicitate four of the best Sri Lankan short movie makers with the Regal award. The winners will be offered to screen their films at Regal cinema.
Branding Colombo for IFFC
The importance of branding Colombo for the IFFC similar to the rest of the countries that host International film festivals was stressed at the press briefing.
Branding and outdoor publicity of this six-day program could be handled by a reputed Advertising agency operating in Sri Lanka under the guidance of FDGSL. The Colombo municipal council and its Mayor could offer necessary support. If finances are still a challenge FDGSL could approach the government to fulfill that need.
“FDGSL and other partners of IFFC should be proactive in getting the required support of resource persons. They could have one-on-one discussions with media institution owners and newspaper editors with the objective of carrying news of IFFC in the front pages of newspapers,” noted Vimukthi Jayasundara.
The media has been making a massive effort to breathe life to local cinema which was losing its magic rapidly in the past decades. The media knows the importance of an international film fest of this magnitude and what it could be offered to rejuvenate local cinema and kindle international attention.