At least 189 films from 60 countries will be screened at the 18th edition of the Kolkata International Film Festival.

The 18th edition has got recognition from FIAPF of Paris in the non-competitive category. FIAPF is the International Federation of Film Producers Associations.

According to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, the theme for this year’s film festival is Africa (Now and Then). The opening movie of the festival was Iranian director Asghar Farhidi’s ‘A Separation’. Slated to be screened across 12 venues, the festival has a budget of Rs 3 crore.

The film festival will pay tribute to 100 years of Indian Cinema by screening films such as Raja Harishchandra, Kaliya Mardan, Jamai Babu, Chandidas, Mukti, Sant Tukaram, Alibaba and Nagarik among others. Quoting his poet father Harivanshrai Bachchan, Amitabh Bachchan said, “When you watch an Indian film, you are assured of poetic justice in three hours. For many of us it will take three generations or three lives to attain poetic justice.”

Bachchan, who began his speech in Bangla , described the city as the cultural capital of the country. According to him people in Bengal have the knack of lifting others’ spirits.

“Kolkata will always have a special place in my heart. Every time I came here I was welcomed with such warmth, love and adulation which I never found in any part of the world,” Bachchan, who started off his professional career working as an executive in a city firm, said.

The film festival will commemorate the 200th birth anniversary of Charles Dickens through the screening of films Nicholas Nickleby and The Pickwick Papers. The festival will also offer centenary tribute to director Michelangelo Antonioni by screening his movies The Eclipse, The Red Desert and Identification of a Woman among others.

Film city

The West Bengal Government plans to set up three film cities to give a boost to the film and entertainment industry.

“There must be a bridge between Bollywood, Hollywood, and Tollywood. Bengal has the potential and so I feel it should become the destination for world film,” Banerjee said at the inauguration of the film festival.

Describing Banerjee as an “energetic leader”, West Bengal’s brand ambassador, Shah Rukh Khan said, “She is a big powerful punch in a small packet.”

(This article was published on November 11, 2012)
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