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April 25, 2022

27th Kolkata International Film Festival inaugurated

27th Kolkata International Film Festival inaugurated

The 27th Kolkata International Film Festival (KIFF) was inaugurated today at Nazrul Mancha by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. The festival is being held after a two-year hiatus because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Actor and MP Shatrughan Sinha was the chief guest. He was felicitated by film-maker and Satyajit Ray’s son Sandip Ray, who is also a member of KIFF’s Executive Council.

This year, 163 feature films from 40 countries are being exhibited (with 47 being from abroad), along with many short films and documentaries. There are several good films and documentaries from India as well. Finland is the partner country of the 27th edition of KIFF. The inaugural film, Aranyer Din Ratri was screened right after the ceremony.

The films will be screened at 10 venues across the state. The festival will end on Sunday, May 1.

The chief minister asked Chief Secretary HK Dwivedi, who was present at the inaugural function, to include the film sector in the 2023 edition of the Bengal Global Business Summit 2023. She also admitted “[i]t was an oversight on our part not to include the film industry in this year’s highly successful BGBS”.

“We need to make a pitch for our entertainment sector globally,” she said, noting that “the sector creates employment opportunities for many people”. But she also said with pride, “We have truly made it a global event.”

Mamata Banerjee called upon the chief guest, Shatrughan Sinha to bring in investments for the Bengali film industry, which churns out rich content.

“Bengali films are the best in the world and are deeply rooted to the soil. The state is a storehouse of talents. … I would request Shatrughan ji to help the Bengali film industry by bringing in more investments.”

She recounted the many advantages that Bengal has. “We have sea beaches, deep forests and wildlife. We also have state-of-the-art shooting complexes like Telly Academy near Kolkata, where international-level infrastructure is available for both fiction and non-fiction content.” She pointed out that cult films like Pather Panchali and Meghe Dhaka Tara got made here.

Ruing that the last year’s festival was not as grand as it was this year owing to COVID-related curbs, the chief minister said that people “can’t be living in fear forever”. “We didn’t want to deprive film buffs, members of the film fraternity of the opportunity to discuss, deliberate and think about cinema.”

The chief minister also underlined that this year being the birth centenary year of Satyajit Ray and film critic Chidananda Dasgupta, KIFF has organised special tribute sessions for them.

She expressed grief over the demise of stalwarts like Lata Mangeskar, Bappi Lahiri and Sandhya Mukherjee, recounting the conversations she had with each one of them.

Listing out the initiatives being undertaken by the state government, Mamata Banerjee said digitisation and restoration of film classics and documentaries by renowned film-makers were underway. The Technicians’ Studio has undergone a Rs 34 crore renovation, she added.

The chief minister also announced that Radha Studio near Bangur Hospital in Tollygunge has been renovated. The 152-seat auditorium on the ground floor of the building will be opened for regular public screening from May 6. So far, it was used only during the film festival.

A cine museum is being built at the venue where the earlier Radha studio stood. The museum will house memorabilia of the Bengali film industry, she said.

Superstars Prasenjit Chatterjee, Dev, Parambrata Chatterjee, the chief minister’s ministerial colleagues, singer and Trinamool MLA from Ballygunge Babul Supriyo were among those present at the event. The KIFF has been accredited by the International Federation of Film Producers Association, Belgium.