The idea of organizing BRICS film festival had originated at the last BRICS Summit, an idea that was proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. While addressing the media at the curtain-raiser press conference for BRICS film festival at New Media Centre, M. Venkaiah Naidu, Minister for Information and Broadcasting, said that the film fest would act as a platform for people of the film industries of member countries to explore areas of cooperation in the domain of “cinema, culture and cuisine”. The festival would celebrate the excellence of cinema by rewarding film makers, actors, producers and directors. Present also on the occasion was state minister for Information and Broadcasting, Col. Rajyavardhan Rathore.
Naidu added that BRICS film festival would be a bioscope that would showcase distinct cultures, cuisines and arts from the participating countries. It is a step that has been taken to build bridges and bring harmony among the BRICS countries. The festival would also ensure more people-to-people contact between member countries especially, the youth. In this context, Naidu said that India has planned activities like U-17 Football Tournament, Youth Summit, Young Diplomats’ Forum and also a special screening of student films from some BRICS nations during the course of the festival. Naidu also unveiled the poster for the BRICS Film Festival during the curtain raiser press conference.
The jury members of the film festival included T. S. Nagabharana (India), a Kannada director, writer, actor, and pioneer of the Parallel Cinema movement; Francis Vogner do Reis (Brazil), a journalist, producer and curator of film shows and of the electronic magazine Cine Imperfect; Kirill Razlogov (Russia), a PhD holder in arts and cultural studies from Moscow State University and who has also served as a special adviser for 11 years on film history and international affairs to the President of Goskino of the USS; Hou Keming (China), the chairperson of the China Children’s Film Association and the president of China International Children’s Film Festival; Xoliswa Sithole (South Africa), a member of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) and the founding member of Filmmakers against Racis.
The opening film for the festival would be the world premiere of the Malayalam movie, Veeram directed by Jayaraj Rajasekharan Nair and starring Kunal Kapoor. The movie is a trans-creation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth and flawlessly portrays the greed for power and the extent to which a person goes to attain it. The movie has been produced by Chandramohan D. Pillai and Pradeep Rajan. Jayaraj is a multiple National Awards winner who has marked his presence in mainstream as well as art house films. His last film Ottal, won the Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival.
The closing film would be the Chinese movie, Skiptrace, starring Jackie Chan directed by Renny Harlin. The movie is an action-comedy, which revolves around a Chinese detective who teams up with an American gambler to catch a Chinese criminal.
The BRICS film festival will be held at the Sirifort Auditorium Complex in New Delhi from 2 September to 6 September. In the course of five days of the event, 20 movies will be screened in the competition section, four from each of the countries; from India being Baahubali (directed by S S Rajamouli), Bajirao Mastani (directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali), Cinemawala (directed by Kaushik Ganguly) and Thithi (directed by Ram Reddy).
The film festival will also showcase an amalgamation of cuisines of the five member countries, i.e., Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, which would be available at the food court in the festival venue. A craft fair is also being organized at the Sir Fort auditorium complex with all member countries putting up stalls with souvenirs and other properties for sale. The festival will also bring to stage spectacular performances by the Chengdu Performing Arts Theatre (China), Theatre Leningrad Centre Dreams of Russia and MBZ Music Production (South Africa).