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History of Cinefan

Organised by the Asian film quarterly Cinemaya and the Network for Promotion of Asian Cinema, Cinefan is the only festival in India which brings in films of the East to the forefront.
PTI | By HT Correspondent
UPDATED ON JUL 19, 2003 02:57 PM IST

Cinefan, the Cinemaya Festival of Asian Cinema, can legitimately claim the credit for this in India, as no other institution has brought out this vibrancy of cinema of the East to the forefront, the festival has gradually become a major event in the capital over the past five years. The annual festival is organised by the premier Asian film quarterly Cinemaya and the Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema (NETPAC), and is sponsored by the Government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi. 

The Fifth edition of CINEFAN being held in Delhi from 18 to 27 July will once again showcase the cinema of Asia, extending its horizons from Japan to Turkey, apart from various Special Sections and the regular East-West Encounters section which includes cinema from other parts of the world. More than sixty films from about thirty countries will be screened in seven sections.

The Competition Section will have about twelve films, and a five-member international jury headed by the renowned filmmaker Mrinal Sen will adjudge the films for four awards: Best Film, Best Actress, Best Actor and the NETPAC Award.

During the festival, there will be a two-day seminar on "Notions of Solitude" with distinguished film critics, writers and directors speaking on the theme. In addition, there will be an art exhibition on the same theme at the Visual Arts Gallery of the India Habitat Centre which will open on July 17.

The Festival will present some special films as in previous years. These include Osama by Sedigh Barmak (link to Cannes 2003) which won a Special Mention by the Camera d'Or Jury at Cannes where it was the first ever film from Afghanistan, Distant from Turkey which received the Grand Jury Prize and the Best Actor Award at Cannes (Link to erlated story in Cannes 2003), Japanese Blessing Bell got the Netpac award at Berlin where the Indonesian "Bird-Man Tale" which received the Special Mention, "Women's Prison" from Iran which got a Special Mention at Fribourg, "Rana's Wedding" which won the Best Actress Award for Palestine at Marrakesh, "Flying with One Wing" from Sri Lanka which won several awards - the Special Award at San Sebastian, Best Actress at Singapore, and Best Asian Film in Tokyo, and awards in Turin. A Pakistani film 'Yeh Dil Aapka Hua' by Javed Sheikh, will also figure in the Asian frescoes. 

As in previous years, a large number of prominent filmmakers will come to Delhi for the festival. These include Philip Cheah who is Director of the Singapore International Film Festival, and prominent directors from Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, Korea, Sri Lanka, and China. Growing year after year, the films at CINEFAN will be screened at four venues. Apart from the opening at SIRI FORT One, the shows will be held at the India Habitat Centre, the French Cultural Centre, and SIRI FORT Two. Entry to all venues is free as in previous years. Passes can be collected from the CINEMAYA office at B-90 Defence Colony, India Habitat Centre or the French Culture Centre on Aurangzeb Road. Details about CINEFAN V can also be had from the website

Cinemaya, the world's only journal exclusively devoted to Asian cinema, was founded in 1988 and has completed fifteen years of uninterrupted publication. NETPAC was established in 1990 at the quarterly's initiative and UNESCO support to promote Asian cinema. It now gives away awards to Asian films at prominent International Film Festivals. It was introduced in Delhi at the Third CINEFAN two years ago.

With Cinefan which has established itself as a significant event on the festival circuit, Delhi has joined the band of select cities that have their own state-sponsored festivals - Thiruvananthapuram, Mumbai, and Kolkata - in addition to the annual International Film Festival of India, and an International Children's Film Festival in Hyderabad and the Mumbai fete for Documentary and Short Films which are held in alternate years.

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