Members of the Central Executive Committee of Federation of Film societies of India met at Nagpur on 15 March 2015 to take decisions on various policy matters to propagate film culture and promote good cinema through the film society movement. L-R: Sandeep Manjrekar (Mumbai), Sankar Pal (Kolkata), R S Rajan (Madurai), Sudhir Bose (Delhi), Amitava Ghosh (Jamshedpur), Arunie Basuroy (Kolkata), Gautam Kaul (Delhi), Prakash Reddy (Hyderabad), Kiran V Shantaram (Mumbai), C V Ravikumar (Hyderabad), Anil Jain (Delhi), V K Joseph (Thiruvananthapuram), Premendra Mazumder (Kolkata), Sudhir Nandgaonkar (Mumbai) and Ramamoorthy Mani (Bangalore). This national level conference was hosted by Nirzar Film Society, Nagpur. (Posted in March 2015).
FFSI SRC Keralam organised a Malayalam subtitling workshop in association with the Kerala State Chalachitra Academy in Thiruvanathapuram on 15 February. The one-day workshop examined and discussed some specific models of subtitled films and requested for more faculties to involve and contribute to this unique effort. It was inaugurated by the noted Malayalam novelist and screenplay writer Dr George Onakkoor and chaired by Sri Rajeevnath, Chairman Kerala State Chalachitra Academy. Noted film critics, film scholars and writers like Vijayakrishnan, Dr C S Venkateswaran, M F Thomas , V K Joseph , G P Ramachandran, Dr G R Santhoshkumar, James Joseph, V S Bindu , Dr. Priya Nair, Hussain, Premachandran, Ummer, V Sasikumar and many social media activists attended the workshop. (Posted in March 2015).
Gauhati Cine Club organized a programme on 30 March as the curtain raiser of their Golden Jubilee Celebration. Internationally acclaimed filmmaker Adoor Gopalakrishnan delivered the 9th Jyoti Prasad Agarwala Lecture. (Posted in March 2015).
Berhampur Film Society organized the concluding ceremony of their Golden Jubilee Celebrations on 21 & 22 March 2015. Eminent filmmakers Buddhadeb Dasgupta, Bappaditya Badyopadhyay and Somnath Gupta were present. On this occasion Premendra Mazumder, General Secretary of FFSI, conducted a seminar on the present status of the Bengali film industry. (Posted in March 2015).
FFSI (Eastern Region) observed the International Women’s Day on 8 March at Nandan, Kolkata. There was a panel discussion on ‘Women, Politics and Media’ with Ms Sunanda Mukhopadhyay, Chairperson of the West Bengal Women’s Commission, Prof. Saswati Ghosh, Prof. Baisakhi Banerjee and Dr Satarupa Sanyal as speakers. Satarupa Sanyal’s highly acclaimed film Anu was screened on this occasion. (Posted in March 2015).
6th Jagran Film Festival is calling for entries. Films made between 1 September 2014 and 1 June 2015 are eligible for participation in the Delhi chapter of the festival. However, films made between 2 June 2015 and 31 August 2015 will be eligible for the Mumbai chapter and included through a phase-two selection process after conclusion of the Delhi chapter. The Mumbai chapter will not consider any film made before 2 June 2015. Submission Deadlines: Delhi Chapter: 30 May 2015. Mumbai Chapter: 30 August 2015. For details contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit: http://submission.jff.co.in/ (Posted in March 2015).
In 1980 a CC Meeting of FFSI was held in Kolkata. Some of the CC Members met Satyajit Ray, the then President of FFSI and had a long discussion with him. Some photo sessions were also held with the President. Unfortunately, the photos were not collected for archiving. Sarga Film Society of Kerala is planning to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Film Society Movement in Kerala this year. They will bring out a monograph on the history of the movement in the state. For that, Mr P T Ramakrishnan, President of Sarga Film Society (in picture taken in 1980 for identification) has appealed to get the copies of those valuable photographs. Whatever cost involved will be borne by them. Support from all concerned is solicited. (Posted in March 2015).
Mr Anil Jain, Secretary of FFSI (Northern Region) has been invited as a Member of the IFFS Jury for the coveted Minimalen Short Film Festival, Trondheim, Norway from 21 to 26 April 2015. He will be working with Mr Renate Kroken of Norway and Ms Agnieszka Zając of Poland as his jury colleagues. Mr Prakash Reddy has just returned from Switzerland after serving in the IFFS Jury at the Fribourg International Film Festival from 21 to 28 March 2015. (Posted in March 2015).
Wonder which city would choose to demolish its oldest cinema hall? Researching for an article on oldest cinema halls in Calcutta, I found this picture taken sometime in April 2013, when the demolition of Chaplin was initiated. Jamshedji Framji Madan, the theatre and cinema magnate after whom a street in central Calcutta is named, was the first one in this country to launch a bioscope show in a tent on the Maidan. He also opened Elphinstone Picture Palace here on Hogg Street opposite the Calcutta Municipal Corporation building in 1907. It was the first of his chain of cinemas and the first permanent movie theatre in this city. The Palace later was renamed ‘Minerva’, a small theatre where good Hollywood films were screened, although later it became notorious as a rodent-infested hall which often forced people to put their feet up. Much later it was renamed ‘Chaplin’, under the maintenance of Calcutta Municipal Corporation. In 2013, Calcutta’s oldest cinema hall was demolished and wiped out of its existence. (Posted in March 2015).
Barasat Cine Circle is one of the most active film societies in West Bengal in the Eastern Region. It was established on 4 May 1978 with the screening of the film Garm Hava (Scorching Winds, Hindi/Urdu, 1973, Dir. M S Sathyu), followed by a seminar led by the pioneer leader of the film society movement Mriganka Sekhar Ray. Since then, the society has been continuing all its activities like regular weekly film screenings, publication of its journal Chitralipi, organizing seminars, maintaining its film library, et al. The society has its own projection systems with a set of one 16mm projector and two digital projectors. Most well-known film personalities of Bengal like Buddhadeb Dasgupta, Madhabi Mukherjee, Aparna Sen and Gautam Ghose have visited the society on several occasions. The society introduced the film appreciation programmes with the help of Jadavpur University in early eighties. The society is situated 20 km away from Kolkata. Prof. Paolo Minuto, President of the International Federation of Film Societies visited Barasat Cine Circle in December 2004 (in photo: Paolo Minuto with the Executive members of the society). (Posted in March 2015).
Satyajit Ray, the Founder President of FFSI in conversation with Indira Gandhi, former Vice-President of FFSI. (Posted in March 2015).
Under the active initiative of the famous ceramic sculptor Sisir Sahana, Principal of Kala-Bhavana, the ‘Kala-Bhavana Campus Film Society’ has been formed at Visva-Bharati, Santiniketan. Prof. Ansuman Dasgupta and Prof. Sisir Sahana are the President and Secretary of this Society. Premendra Mazumder, General Secretary of FFSI visited the Campus at Kala-Bhavana on 23 February on the occasion of its official opening. (Posted in February 2015).
Satyajit Ray, Jyoti Basu and Mrinal Sen at the main entrance of Nandan: the Film Center of West Bengal on its opening day on 2 September 1985. (Posted in February 2015).
Mr Prakash Reddy, Regional Secretary of FFSI (South Region) has been invited as a Member of the IFFS/FICC Jury for the coveted Fribourg International Film Festival for its 29th edition to be held at Fribourg, Switzerland from 21 to 28 March 2015. Mr. Reddy is the third representative of FFSI in IFFS Jury of Fribourg International Film Festival. The following is the full list of IFFS Jury members who have participated in different International Film Festivals:
Ganesh Matkadi, Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic, July 2008.
Bijan Sensarma, Kristiansand, Norway, April 2010.
Ratan Kumar Pal, Tromso, Norway, January 2011.
Anil Kumar Jain, Fribourg, Switzerland, April 2011.
Tapesh Sharma, Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic, July 2011.
Bijan Sensarma, Tallin, Estonia, November 2011.
Gangadhar Pandey, Coimbra, Portugal, November 2011.
Tapesh Sharma, Fribourg, Switzerland, April 2012.
Sankar Kumar Pal, Krakow, Poland, May 2012.
Santosh Pathare, Tromso, Norway, June 2013.
(Posted in February 2015).
The 13th Third Eye Asian Film Festival organised by Asian Film Foundation and Prabhat Chita Mandal, Mumbai (1-8 January 2015) honoured documentary filmmaker and film teacher Mr Arun Khopkar with the Satyajit Ray Memorial Award to acknowledge his mission to propagate film culture. The award was conferred by the veteran director Girish Kasarvalli. This award was initiated in 2006 in memory of Satyajit Ray. Prof. Satish Bahadur, Mr P.K.Nair and several other dignitaries have received the award since then. (Posted in February 2015).
Elizabeth Ekadashi (Marathi, 2014), directed by Paresh Mokashi and produced by Essel Vision Productions and Mayasabha Productions has been selected for the Fipresci-India Award as the Best Indian Film of 2014. Mr H N Narahari Rao, President of Fipresci-India has recently declared this award in Bangalore. (Posted in February 2015).
The Vizag Film Society paid tribute on 20 February at the AU Academic Staff College seminar hall to the Movie Mughal Dr D Ramanaidu, the Dada Saheb Phalke Award winner, who died on 18 February 2015 in Hyderabad at the age of 78. He made more than 130 films in 13 Indian languages which earned him a place in the Guinness Book of World Records. The VC of the AU College Gallapudi Maruthi Rao, Cinematographer MV Raghu and VFS President K Sriramulu were present in the condolence meeting. (Posted in February 2015).
The 7th International Inter-University Short Film Festival held on 26-28 January organized by Dhaka University Film Society in association with Pathshala – South Asian Media Institute. (Posted in February 2015).
Ms Madhurima Barua, RC Member of FFSI (ER) and General Secretary of Gauhati Cine Club speaking on the occasion of special screening of Birth of A Flag, an award winning documentary by Prokash Ray on 8 February at Guwahati. (Posted in February 2015).
FFSI (Eastern Region), in collaboration with the Embassy of Netherlands in India, Consulate of Netherlands in Kolkata and Nandan organized a Dutch Film Festival at Nandan, Kolkata from 19 to 21 February where six contemporary and acclaimed films were showcased. Mr Namit Shah, Honorary Consul of Netherlands in Kolkata inaugurated the festival. (Posted in February 2015).
NIRZAR Film Society, established in 2007 in Nagpur, Maharashtra is one of the active film societies under the Western Region. The initiative was taken by its founder President Late Sanjay Surkar, a well-known name in Marathi film industry. The society has been successful in achieving the aims and objectives envisaged by the Federation. They organize an International Film Festival, a Marathi Film Festival and a Children's Film Festival each year. They organized a Beyond Border Bengali Film Festival in 2014 with a package of Bengali films of India and Bangladesh that became a talk of the town. Nirzar has organized a 3-day workshop for film society organizers and a one-day workshop for colleges of Vidarbha to introduce the idea of Campus Film Societies. It was attended by teachers of 50 colleges where Mohan Agashe explained the importance of Campus Film Societies. Nirzar has organized a Short Film Competition to highlight the filmmaking activities of Central India. (Posted in February 2015).
Kanchrapara Sangbartak Cine Society organized a daylong cultural programme on 14 February at Halisahar Vivekananda Institute, West Bengal to celebrate the 125th birth anniversary of Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin. Local schools, libraries and cultural organizations collaborated in the programmes. About 150 students and cultural workers participated in the procession, 50 boys and girls participated in the sit-and-draw competition, 100 students participated in the audio visual quiz competition. Painting workshop, photographic exhibition, ballet competition, dance-drama performance, film screening, seminar, press conference, et al were also organized. (Posted in February 2015).
Bidhannagar Film Society organized the 5th Winter Film Festival at Rabindra-Okakura Bhaban, Salt Lake City, Kolkata from 12 to 15 February. 12 films from different countries were showcased on this occasion. (In photo- Ansu Sur, General Secretary of the Society is speaking on the opening ceremony of the festival). (Posted in February 2015).
Sushil Kumar Chattopadhyay’s home in North Kolkata is a museum of light and sound. A flamboyantly adventurous biker in his youth, Sushilbabu (90) created this amazing house of collections with early film projectors, radio, loudspeaker, bioscope, telephone, record players and an astonishing array of lanterns through his own efforts. Photo Courtesy: Salil Bera. (Posted in February 2015).
The first Campus Film Society was opened in early seventies at Jadavpur University (JU), Calcutta. In 1980, when the JU was conferring Honorary D. Lit. to Satyajit Ray, the Master proposed the study of cinema as an academic subject in the University and as a result the Department of Film Studies at JU was established in 1993 which is the first of its kind in India. In last couple of years the maximum numbers of Campus Film Societies have been opened in Maharashtra under the Western Region of FFSI with the enthusiastic initiative of Sudhir Nandgaonkar. Now there are 36 Campus Film Societies in the state including S.R.T.M. University Campus Film Club, Nanded; College of Agriculture Film Society, Baramati; Solapur University Campus Film Society; Fergusson College Film Club, Pune; Royal College Film Society, Thane; Walchand College Film Club, Sangli. Nandgaonkar has a plan to open more Campus Film Societies in Maharshtra. (Posted in February 2015).
The 31st Annual General Meeting of Alipore Film Society, Calcutta was held on 14 June at Nandan-III, followed by screening of Bappaditya Bandopadhyay’s Bengali feature film Elar Char Adhyay. (Posted in February 2015).
Tapan Debnath, a vibrant film society activist and ex-member of the RC of FFSI (ER), passed away on 9 Jan in Kolkata. As a regular worker of FFSI he attended the FFSI Office in Kolkata even the day before his sudden death of a massive heart attack; he was only 62. He was a fine artist and worked for a long time in a famous publishing house and daily newspaper of the city. He was born in Baharampur in 1953 and joined Berhampore Film Society in 1975. His death is a great loss for the film society movement in the Eastern Region. He is survived by his wife and a son. (Posted in January 2015).
Kiran V Shantaram (Ex-President of FFSI) is handing over the ‘Satyajit Ray Memorial Honour’ to Shyam Benegal (Ex-President of FFSI) in recognition of his precious contributions to Indian Cinema on the occasion of celebration of 100 Years of Indian Cinema. (Posted in January 2015).
FFSI (ER) organized a four-day French Film Festival in Kolkata in collaboration with the Alliance Française du Bengale, My French Festival.com and Nandan. Stephane Amalir, Director of Alliance Française du Bengale inaugurated the festival on 14 Jan. at Nandan. Six short films and eight full-length feature films were shown in the festival which included the famous film like ‘Certified Copy’ by Abbas Kiarostami. (Posted in January 2015).
National Award winning filmmaker Manju Bora and National Award winning film critic Manoj Barpujari inaugurated the Tezpur Chalachitra Mancha in Feb 2014. It is the most recent film society affiliated by FFSI ER in North-Eastern India. (Posted in January 2015).
Eminent playwright and screen writer of Telugu cinema Ganesh Patro (B. 22 June 1945 in Parvathipuram, Andhra Pradesh) passed away on 5 Jan 2015 in Chennai. Patro started his career in 1965. He wrote dialogues and stories for many Telugu films till 1990s. Some of his famous films are ‘Rudra Veena’, ‘Maro Charitra’, ‘Idi Kathakaadu’, ‘Swathi’, ‘Mayuri’, ‘Seetaramayyagari Manavaralu’, etc. Vizag Film Society paid a tribute to Ganesh Patro at a condolence meeting held on 6 Jan. (Posted in January 2015).
Joshi-Bedekar College Thane is going to hold a two-days’ National Conference on the topic ‘Indian Cinema: Past, Present and Future’. The Campus Film Society and Dept of Mass Media of the College will organize a seminar on 8 and 9 Jan 2016. Shyam Benegal, Kiran Shantaram, Sudhir Nandgaonkar and others are on the advisory committee of the conference. Papers are invited from academicians, media and film professionals, teachers, students and others. Papers should be submitted to N. S. Barse through mail at email@example.com. The deadline for submission is 31 Aug 2015. Intending participants may visit www.vpmthane.org for further details. (Posted in January 2015).
Legendary filmmaker Kailasam Balachander, popularly known as KB or K Balachander (B. 9 Jul 1930) passed away in Chennai on 23 Dec 2014. He not only launched the careers of the megastars Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth but also promoted many other superstars like Nagesh, Sujatha, Chiranjeevi, Jayaprada, Jayasudha, Saritha, Renuka, Prakash Raj, Ramesh Aravind and Vivek. J Jayalalithaa, M Karunanidhi and many other leaders and actors expressed condolences on his death. Tamil film industry cancelled one day’s shooting as a mark of respect to the veteran director. In a career spread over 50 years, KB had contributed about 100 feature films including the famous ‘Aval Ora Thodar Kathai’, ‘Avargal’, ‘Varumayin Niram Sigappu’, ‘47 Natkal’ and many others. The Vizag Film Society held a special meeting to condole the death on 26 Dec. (Posted in January 2015).
Salem in Tamilnadu was a major film producing centre of South India during the 1940s to 60s. Some great films were made there. The studios flourished. Then the evil eye struck and film production shifted to Chennai. Central Theatres Ltd was one such film producing centre in the town where filming came to a close. What remains only is the main entry gate to the studio. The land inside is now a housing colony. (Photo courtesy: President FFSI). (Posted in January 2015).
The 15th Siliguri International Film Festival was held from 19 to 26 Nov at Dinabandhu Mancha, Siliguri. The festival was organized by Siliguri Cine Society as an extension of the Kolkata International Film Festival. 21 feature films from 14 countries were shown in the festival. Eminent film director Koushik Ganguly inaugurated the festival. Gautam Dev, Minister-in-charge of North Bengal Development; Jagmohan, Commissioner of Siliguri; Pritha Sarkar, District Magistrate of Jalpaiguri and Sanjiban Dutta, President of Siliguri Cine Society were present on the occasion. The festival was inaugurated with Kaushik Ganguly’s latest Bengali feature film, ‘Khad’. (Posted in January 2015).
Film Heritage Foundation has announced its first major initiative to save India’s cinematic heritage, Film Preservation and Restoration School, India to be held from 22 to 28 Feb at Films Division, Mumbai. Film Heritage Foundation is a non-profit organization set up in 2014. Recognizing the urgent need to preserve India’s cinematic heritage, the foundation is dedicated to supporting the conservation, preservation and restoration of the moving image and to develop interdisciplinary educational programmes that will use film as an educational tool and create awareness about the language of cinema. This is a pioneering initiative of Film Heritage Foundation in collaboration with Martin Scorsese’s Film Foundation, Cineteca di Bologna and L’Immagine Ritrovata. The purpose of the school is to address current issues surrounding film preservation and restoration. (Posted in January 2015).
Vizag Film Society observed the 68th death anniversary of Kundan Lal Saigal (11 Apr 1904-18 Jan 1947) on 17 Jan. Visakha Public Library, Dwarakanger, Vizag followed by screening of a 68 minute-documentary on Saigal directed by Yash Chaudhary and produced by Films Division of India. (Posted in January 2015).
The 5th Friendship Film Festival was inaugurated at the Russian Centre of Science and Culture, New Delhi on 17 Nov. Organised jointly by Citizens Film Forum and the Embassies of the CIS Countries with the support of FFSI and the Forum of Indian Photographers and Artists, the festival continued till 22 Nov. Mirzasharif A Jalolov, Ambassador of the Republic of Tajikistan; Sergei A Trotsyuk, Charge d’Affaires, Embassy of the Republic of Belarus; Evgeny Kablukov, Minister-Counsellor, Embassy of the Kyrgyz Republic; Yegana Gafgazli, Counsellor, Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan; Bektemir S Pirnafasov, First Secretary of the Embassy of the Republic of Uzbakistan; Sergei Karmalito, Senior Counsellor, Embassy of the Russian Federation, Karen Gevorgyan, Consul, Embassy of Armenia; Lokesh Chandra, President, Indian Council for Cultural Relations, Gautam Kaul, President FFSI and Vimal Mehta, Secretary of Citizens Film Forum were present on the occasion. Following the inaugural ceremony, an animation film from Belarus titled Snow White and Rose Red and a feature film from Tajikistan titled Shining Tajikistan were screened. Films from Russia, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia and Uzbekistan were showcased at the festival. (Posted in January 2015).
As a part of its year-long celebration of Golden Jubilee, Berhampore Film Society organized a Special Film Festival comprising some of the gems by Satyajit Ray, Ritwik Ghatak, Mrinal Sen, Tapan Sinha and Tarun Majumder. The three-day long festival was inaugurated by the eminent director Raja Sen on 13 Dec. For the first time in the history of the Society, a three-day festival exclusively of Short Fictions and Documentaries was organized from 16 Dec. 40 films from all over the world were screened. The Golden Jubilee Celebration programme was inaugurated by the Maestro Girish Kasaravalli on 2 Feb. 2014 at Ritwik Sadan, the art-house theatre owned by the Society. Girish Kasaravalli, Madhabi Mukherjee, H N Narahari Rao and Suman Kittur were felicitated on the occasion. (Posted in January 2015).
The 3rd Kolhapur International Film Festival was held from 20 to 27 Dec. It was organized by the Kala Maharshi Baburao Painter Film Society, Kolhapur. About 50 feature films and 40 shorts & documentaries from all over the world were showcased. At the opening ceremony Sudhir Nandgaonkar was conferred with the coveted ‘Chitramaharshi Anandrao Painter Award’ for his untiring efforts to cultivate and inculcate the film society movement in Maharashtra for more than four decades. Anandrao Painter was one of the pioneers of Indian Cinema who was instrumental in making the first indigenous movie camera in the country. The lifetime achievement award on his name is given in his memory to a person for outstanding work in the field of cine journalism, cinema technology and efforts to propagate cinema as an art and giving it an honourable position in the society. Vijay Kuwalekar, eminent journalist, screenplay writer and dramatist handed over the award to Sri Nandgaonkar. (Posted in January 2015).
January 2015 is a good start for the Film Society Movement in India, as two Campus Film Societies, one in the Eastern Region and the other in the Northern Region have started their journey in the first two weekends of the month. And both were officially inaugurated by the master filmmaker Buddhadeb Dasgupta. The first one, KIIT UNIVESRITY CAMPUS FILM SOCIETY was inaugurated on 4 Jan at the Students Activity Centre of KIIT University, Bhubaneswar. Eminent filmmaker Himansu Khatua, CEO, School of Film & Media Science; Sucheta Priyabadini, Director of Student Service; Adwaita Gadanayak, Director, School of Sculpture, B. Panigrahi, Director, School of Mass Communication and many other dignitaries of the University were present in the occasion. The second one, IIM KASHIPUR CAMPUS FILM SOCIETY was inaugurated on 11 Jan at the main auditorium of Indian Institute of Management, Kashipur, Uttarakhand. K M Baharul Islam, Professor of Communications, Chair, Center for Public Policy & Government and Program Director, The World Bank Project of IIM Kashipur, Sudhir Bose, Vice- President of FFSI (NR) and Anil Jain, Secretary FFSI (NR) participated in the programme. Premendra Mazumder, General Secretary of FFSI was present on both the occasions. (Posted in January 2015).