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Chidananda Dasgupta to be honoured at Sixth Osians Cinefan of Asian Cinema

Bhushan Nagpal IANS

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Veteran cine writer and film society activist Chidananda Dasgupta is to receive the first Lifetime Achievement Award for Best Writing at the Sixth Osians Cinefan Festival of Asian Cinema commencing in the capital later next week with fiesta of about ninety films from about thirty countries.

The Festival, being held from July 16 to 25, has been organized by Osians Connoisseurs of Art and the worlds first journal devoted exclusively to Asian Cinema Cinemaya founded by the eminent cinema scholar Aruna Vasudev (recipient of the French Chevalier Des Arts Award) in association with the Delhi Government. Cinemaya, which was founded sixteen years earlier and led to the formation of NETPAC (Network for Promotion of Asian Cinema), has been holding this festival since 1999 in collaboration with Delhi Government. It has now merged with Osians art auction house to build an integrated International Film House for Indian and Asian cinema.

After the inauguration by Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, the filmfest will open with the screening of German-based Turkish filmmaker Fatih Akins Gegen Die Wand (Head-On) which recently won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival, and close with renowned Iranian filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbafs 1992 classic Once Upon a Time.

This year, the Festival budgeted at between Rs 75 and 80 lakh - has been divided into ten Sections: The Competition; Asian Frescoes; Tribute to Guru Dutt; India Bazaar; Tribute to Irans Mohsen Makhmalbaf and Family; Arabesque: A Focus on Arab Cinema; Tribute to Wong Kar Wai (Hong Kong); East-West Encounters; Films from the Hubert Bals Fund; and Intolerance which are special Screenings of Political Documentaries.

The Competition Jury includes: film star Shabana Azmi (President), Manila Film Festival Director Amable Tikoy Aguiluz VI; Pusan Film Festivals Kim Dong-Ho; Mohsen Makhmalbaf; Syrian filmmaker Oussama Mohammad; Cannes Film Festival (Directors Fortnight) Director Oliver Pere; and filmmaker Aparna Sen from India.

The NETPAC Jury will comprise of Singapore Film Festival Director Phillip Cheah; Ashley Ratnavibhushana who is Director of the Asian Film Centre in Sri Lanka, and eminent Chinese film director Zhu Wen.

Several events will be held as part of Cinefan. These include the Indian Cinematic Landmarks Exhibition from the Osians Archive for Art and Cinema Hoardings, Paintings, Vintage Posters, Rare Photographic Stills, Showcards, Lobby Cards & Song-Synopsis Booklets will be on Exhibition at all the venues of the Film Festival; and a Special Highlights Exhibition at the Palm Court of the India Habitat Centre in association with Visual Arts Gallery. An India Europe Round Table Conference is also being organized in collaboration with the European Co-ordination of Film Festivals on July 24.

A Talent Campus is being held in collaboration with Max Mueller Bhavan, the Berlin International Film Festival, Berlinale Talent Campus and the British Council from July 19 to 23.

The presentations to the young film-makers will be made by eminent cinematographer Christopher Doyle; the Iranian directors, Mohsen and Samira Makhmalbaf; Indian directors Adoor Gopalakrishnan and Aparna Sen; the German documentary film maker Andreas Veiel; the Bhutanese film director, Khyentse Norbu; editor and Director of Kerala Film Festival, Bina Paul.

Over one hundred Indian and foreign delegates have been invited to the festival, including Heads of International Film Festivals from around the world such as Amiens, Cairo, Cannes, Estonia, Hong Kong, Las Palmas, Kiev, Pusan, Manila, Munich, Singapore, Thessaloniki, and Vienna among others. Indian cine celebrities attending the festival include Waheeda Rehman, Kiron Kher, Roopa Ganguly, Makrand Deshpande, and Adoor Gopalakrishnan. Pakistani filmmaker Sabiha Sumar whose Khamosh Pani will be screened is also attending the festival.

Director Anurag Kashyaps Black Friday based on the 1993 Mumbai blasts and Makrand Deshpandes critically-acclaimed Danav will vie with 12 films from across Asia for the top award at the competition section of festival.

Mr Dasgupta, now in his mid-eighties, is the father of filmmaker Aparna Sen and grandfather of Konana Sen Sharma. Recent winner of a National Award for his Bengali feature Amodini which also starred Konkana, he was one of the founding fathers of the film society movement in the country along with Satyajit Ray. After retiring as editor of the American Embassys publication Span after a long career, he devoted his time to writing. His works include the widely acclaimed 'The Cinema of Satyajit Ray' and 'Talking About Films.'


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