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September 26, 2014

WB Govt to hold wildlife film festival at Jalpaiguri in January

WB Govt to hold wildlife film festival at Jalpaiguri in January

The Mamata Banerjee led West Bengal governmenthas decided to organise a three-day film festival in January on wildlife atJalpaiguri with the idea to expose sons of the soil to films like 'Living withthe Giants'.

Great movies to spread the message

The festival promises not to confine greatmovies by the likes of Austen Stevens and Bedi Brothers to air-conditionedtheatres in a thoroughly urbane ambience only but to take it to the grassroots.

State forest minister Benoy Barman told reporterson Wednesday: “Since wildlife exists intensely in north Bengal, we havedecided to hold the wildlife film festival at the Jalpaiguri Art Gallery. Theidea is to spread awareness among the locals in north Bengal – especially thosefrom Gen Y – about wildlife conservation.” The state information andcultural affairs department will help in the screening.

Elephants at Gorumara National Park

Connecting with the youth

The forest department will rope inschoolchildren for the film festival which will be held on January 16, 17 and18. “Youngsters in the Dooars must develop a sense of pride for thewildlife so as to avoid man-animal conflict.

Through the films, we would try to makethem aware of the different natures of different animals. For example it isimportant to know about the local animals like elephants and bison – theirspecies and characteristics.”

The minister said from January 2015onwards, such film festivals will be held every year. The forest department hasinvolved NGOs like SNEHA (Society for Nature Education and Health Awareness)for the film festival.

A bison at Gorumara National Park

Showcasing the wildlife

The wildlife division of the department hasstarted enlisting films like Living with Giants, a film on elephants, directedby Ashish Chandola, Land of the Tiger, The Great Indian Rhino, The lastMan-eater Killer Tigers of India and Crocodiles, The Living Dinosaurs.

At the end of the shows, the forestdepartment will organise interactive sessions with students and their parents.The topics will include man-animal conflict, eco-tourism and conservation ofwildlife.

The minister said, “The films willcreate awareness among the sons of the soil where man-animal conflict is veryhigh. These people are largely ignorant of wildlife behaviour. It makes everysense to expose them to the cinematic extravaganza which has so far been withinthe reach of the urbanised audience only.”

A rhinoceros at Gorumara National Park

A star-studded affair

The forest department intends giving thefilm fest a dash of colour by having representatives for Tollywood – especiallyDev, whose adventurous Chander Pahar has won hearts – to flag off theextravaganza.