Over a hundred films from 40 countries representing the best of Asian and Arab cinema will be showcased at the eighth Festival of Asian Cinema, to be held in New Delhi from July 14.
Outstanding cinematic works from Iraq, Singapore, Taiwan, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Iran, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia will be screened at the Osians' festival, which will open on July 15 with France-based filmmaker Pan Nalin's Valley of flowers.
While Valley of Flowers, which will have its world premiere at the festival, will be the opening film, the closing film will be Jafar Panahi's Offside (Iran).
Addressing a press conference, chairman of Osian's Neivele Tuli said the organising of the Asian film festival in the capital was part of his endeavour to develop a strong film culture in India, which, despite being the largest film producing country, hardly figured in the major international film festivals.
"India is one of the largest film producing countries in the world. Yet, at many international film festivals, one finds no Indian film. This calls for serious introspection as to what is lacking in the film culture in India. The Asian Film festival offers such an opportunity by bringing filmmakers from several Asian countries to India, thus aiding the process of their interaction with their Indian counterparts," Tuli said.
Speaking on the occasion, the editor of Cinemaya Aruna Vasudev, who started the Asian film festival in 1999, said the film festival had come a long way since it was launched in 1999.
"When we started in 1999, the aim of holding the film festival was to show to the public the films about which we wrote in Cinemaya. However, since 2004, when Osian's came forward to promote the festival, the event has expanded in a big way. For example, last year the festival evoked a tremendous response, specially amongst the youth who turned up to the screenings in large numbers. This year we have a good seletion of films from Asain countries," Vasudev said.
This year's Asian film festival will feature 120 films in ten sections.
Unlike earlier years, when the entry to the film festival was free for the public, this year, the general public will have to pay Rs 20 per ticket to watch the films on show at the festival.
"The introduction of a Rs 20 ticket this year was prompted by complaints of severe overcrowding for some shows last year, leading many genuine cinema lovers to miss the screenings. The objective of having ticketed shows is to ensure that genuine cinema lovers do not miss out on the experience of watching a piece of good cinema," Vasudev said.