4th edition of Arthouse Asia Film Festival has ended on January 11, 2020 in Kolkata with a grand ceremony. The week-long festival has been arranged by Arthouse Film Foundation and has acquired the reputation of being the most prestigious industry focussed independent film festival in South Asia.

Shapath Das, the festival director has said that Arthouse Asia Foundation will continue to work for the encouragement and growth of Arthouse Independent Cinema. The team will focus on schools and colleges to spread awareness and nurture new talent. The journey has just started and sky is the limit.

Arthouse Asia Foundation has partnered with Festival des 3 Continents and has played a crucial role in bringing ‘Produire au Sud’ lab in India for the first time. Produire au Sud workshop for screenwriters and producers is known for mentoring international film projects worldwide. Seven projects from India, SriLanka, Bhutan and Nepal have been selected for the first time. The project owners have participated in an intensive four-day program conducted by nine experts. The mentors include Guillaume Mainguet, Pascale Ramonda, Juliette Grandmont, Mark Irmer, Stefano Tealdi among others.

This was also the first time we have witnessed the constantly changing landscape of International Film Business so closely. The organizers have lined up numerous ‘Business of Films’ sessions with eminent film curators, film consultants, producers and experts. Topics such as Independent Film Production, International Co-Production Markets, Independent Film distribution have been discussed.

Arthouse Asia Film Festival also turned out to be a networking event and common meeting place for film students, independent filmmakers, producers and artists. Sanal Kumar Sasidharan, Vijay Jayapal, Aachal Mishra, Ronny Sen, Pradip Kurbah, Prantik Basu, Sudhanshu Saria, Pradipta Bhattacharya, Amitava Chatterjee, Amartya Bhattacharya, Bauddhayan Mukherji and many more attended the screenings and panel discussions.  

31 films have been screened during the festival which included award winning titles from Berlin, Cannes, Locarno, Venice, Rotterdam and Busan International Film Festival. The competition section had 10 films each in feature and short film category, which were judged by a panel of juries including Jerome Baron, Rajeev Masand and Rokeya Prachy.

Golden Wood award for the Best Short Film was awarded to Pakistani film ‘Darling’ directed by Saim Sadiq. The film which is pegged as a queer love letter has been creating buzz in festival circuit in Toronto and Venice. ‘Vincent avant midi’ by Guillaume Mainguet has received a special mention for extraordinary direction and splendid acting performance.

Golden Wood award for the Best Film in feature film category have been awarded to ‘You will die at 20’ directed by Amjad Abu Alala. The debut film of Abu Alala is a co-production between Sudan and France and beautifully captures the life of Muzamil. The social drama highlights the existence of a superstitious belief in the roots of civilization in a remote village in Sudan and a child born just a few days ago is thought to be cursed by a messenger of God and who predicted that he would die the day he turns 20. Indian film ‘Nimtoh‘ directed by Saurav Rai has been awarded ‘Silver Wood’ award. Nimtoh is a story of an young body in a remote Indian mountain village.

Chinese films ‘Weihai’ directed by Liang Huan has also been praised and got a special mention award. Weihai tells the story of a movie screenwriter who went to a seaside town for ten days. There, he meets a divorced lady and a 15-year-old boy who identified himself as a woman.

The festival ended with the screening of the closing film ‘Dispassionate Love’ directed by Ashish Avikunthak. The Bengali film has dealt with the question of morality and beautifully captured the paradox of human society.