Pune: Union Information and Broadcasting Secretary, Ajay Mittal has said, “North East Film Festival (NEFF), ‘Fragrances from the North East’ served as a unique window to the films, food, culture and handicrafts diversity of India’s North East and enabled the cultural amalgamation of the region with the rest of the country. By organizing the current edition of the festival at Pune, the objective was to sensitise people from other regions to the culture of the North East as envisaged in the “Ek Bharat Shreshta Bharat” programme of India’s Prime Minister. A decision had now been taken to organize the festival in different cities every year as part of the “Ek Bharat Shreshta Bharat” vision. Mittal was delivering his address at the inaugural ceremony of the festival at National Film Archive of India (NFAI), Pune on Saturday. The three-day festival is being held at NFAI campus, from January 28 to 30.
Highlighting some of the initiatives taken by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to promote cinema in the North East, Mittal said the focus has been to provide multiple platforms through workshops, film festivals, interactive sessions and special screenings at IFFI focusing on the region. As part of the new initiative, the Ministry sponsored 10 film makers from the North East for the first time to attend the IFFI in Goa. The objective was to give an opportunity to young and emerging film makers from the region to interact with the foreign delegates attending IFFI and also explore collaborations with international film production houses, ensuring wider reach and audience for NE films. The Directorate of Film Festivals organized a special session on the North East film industry at the Indywood Film Carnival in Hyderabad. It also took the initiative to organize the first edition of the IFFI chapter of North East in Imphal in December 2016 in partnership with Manipur Film Development Corporation.
Regarding the excellence of the films of the region, Mittal said that the National Film Awards and Indian Panorama over the years had been discovering and honouring the talents from the North East, especially in languages which were not specified other than the Schedule VIII of the Constitution. Some of the films had won accolades in the International Film Festivals all over the world. The Indian Panorama had eight films selected from the North East region this year. During his address, the secretary complimented the students of Pune from the North East region who had taken the pain and efforts to participate in the three-day festival by showcasing the culture and cuisine of the region. Taking into account, the enthusiastic response from the city, Mittal assured that the festival and such screenings would be organized henceforth regularly in Pune.
The opening film for this festival “Kothanodi” by the debut director Bhaskar Hazarika has wowed the international audience with his poetic film depicting folk stories. The festival is also screening “Loktak Lairambi” which is part of the Indian Panomara selection. The film has already been making waves in the international film circuit after being premiered in Busan and has now been selected for forthcoming Berlin film festival.