The biennial International Children’s Film Festival may soon step out of its Hyderabad home and reach out to the children in the nook and corners of the country.
“The information and broadcasting ministry has already agreed in principle not to keep the festival confined to a single location. The idea is to reach out to as many children and as many places as possible,” Nandita Das, chairperson, Children’s Film Society of India (CFSI), told HT.
“Of course there are merits and demerits in having a permanent venue, but I feel that there is a problem in reaching out as many children—for whom the films are screened--cannot come down to Hyderabad, which has already hosted eight festivals in 16 years.”
If approved, the first destination for the children’s cine fest is expected to be Guwahati, and with good reason too. “Northeast India despite being abundant in talent has been neglected. Guwahati would be a good venue to reach out,” said Das, whose proposal is actually a ring from the past as earlier the international children’s film festival was a travelling one.
In 2011, the fest had screened about 154 films from 38 different countries and reached out to about 1,75,000 children.
The critically acclaimed actor’s plan—who has starred in movies like Mira Nair’s ‘Fire’ (1996) and ‘Earth’ (1998)--to take out the children’s film fest may act as a fillip to the children’s film movement in other parts. “Besides spreading awareness and consciousness for such creative pursuits, a change in venue would also lead to creation of infrastructure which is much needed in various parts of our country,” said Das.
The effort to spread out the movement is easier said than done though. “CFSI is an old and slow structure. In order to attract and associate more and more creative people, there has to be a structural change. For example, CFSI has close to 250 films but not a single one has been marketed till now. We do not have any presence in the increasingly popular social media interfaces like Facebook or You Tube. So plenty has to be done,” bemoans the chairperson.
Under the information and broadcasting ministry, CFSI is the nodal organisation to produce children's films and TV programmes in at least 10 Indian languages. Through its film screenings and festivals of which the International Children’s Film Festival is one of the most important, it is said to reach out to 40 lakh children in India ever year.