KOLKATA– January 7, 2020 – In its fourth edition, Arthouse Asia Film Festival (A2FF, January 5-11) is establishing a reputation as a relaxed, boutique event, with strong focus on independent cinema and a productive industry programme partnered with prestigious ‘Produire Au Sud’ for screenwriters and producers from South Asia.

“Weihai”

The day began with the screening of Chinese film ‘Weihai‘ directed by Liang Huan. The film has been shot beautifully in black and white and tells the story of a film screenwriter who went to a seaside town for ten days.

The day progressed with an insightful discussion about the landscape of independent film production in South Asia. Renowned Bangladeshi producer Arifur Rahman(Live from Dhaka, Kingdom of Clay Subjects) and Chennai based producer Mathivanan Rajendran (Nirvana Inn) have taken part in the session and shared their experience in the film circuit.

The session turned out extremely important and valuable to the film school students and prominent faces from film industry who were present in the audience.

The independent filmmakers roundtable was also a highlight for the day. There was a great amount of interest among audience for this roundtable discussion which was moderated by Rajeev Masand, the eminent critic from Mumbai. Sanal Kumar Sasidharan (Sexy Durga, Chola), Pradip Kurbah (Market, Onaatah: Of the Earth), Vijay Jayapal (Nirvana Inn, Revelations) and Ronny Sen (Catsticks) were present in the panel. The one and half hour long discussion never felt elongated and participants have not shied away from expressing their heart. The filmmakers have spoken about fundraising challenges, relationship between director and the crew and the current political landscape of the country.

In the evening session four films were screened out of which two were short films. Two feature films were “Made in Bangladesh” directed by Rubaiyat Hossain and “Nimtoh” directed by Saurabh Rai. Where Nimtoh was a warm and moving exploration of a boy’s life, Made in Bangladesh was a schematic docudrama about female workers garment factories of Bangladesh.

“Bulbul can Sing”

KOLKATA– January 10, 2020 – Film festivals get organized every year. Cinephiles wait for the screening of award winning titles and get engaged with the world cinema for a few days. Independent festival organizers seldom take less travelled paths and educate aspiring filmmakers regarding the minute details and challenges of film distribution, production opportunities and ever changing landscape of world cinema along with the film screening.

Arthouse Asia Film Festival has brought a refreshing change in the perspective. In last five days Kolkata has experienced various session about ‘Business of Films’ conducted by experienced professionals of international film business and festival programming. There is also “Produire Au Sud” happening where seven projects from South Asia are getting mentored by experts.

On day 5, Stefano Tealdi conducted the session on pitching of films which was a much needed session for all the aspiring filmmakers struggling to find a producer because of an ineffective pitch. Tealdi has worked as a producer and director of several documentary features and well regarded as a script consultant, teacher and mentor all over the world.

We also witnessed the panel discussion “Business and Art of Short Films” conducted by festival director Shapath Das. The panelists include Sudhanshu Saria (“KnocK, Knock, Knock”), Prantik Basu (“Rang Mahal”, “Sakhisona”), Moinak Guho (“An Irrelevant Dialogue”) and Arifur Rahman (producer of “Roqaia”, “Live from Dhaka”). The hour long discussion touched the questions of short film distribution, the importance of visual and audio medium in a short film and why short film needs to be accepted as a separate genre as a whole instead of a stepping stone for a feature film. Arifur Rahman also moderated another session with Bengali filmmaker Pradipta Bhattacharya where they discussed the need of an independent film distribution model.

Apart from panel discussios various feature and short films were screened. People cheered for “Bulbul can Sing” directed by national award winning filmmaker Rima Das, “Bitter Chestnut” by national award winning filmmaker Gurvinder Singh and “Oray” by Mehmet Akif Büyükatalay.

The Arthouse Asia Film Festival will be continuing till January 11, 2020.

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On paper I am an Italian living in London, in reality I was born and bread in a popcorn bucket. I've loved cinema since I was a little child and I’ve always had a passion and interest for Asian (especially Japanese) pop culture, food and traditions, but on the cinema side, my big, first love is Hong Kong Cinema. Then - by a sort of osmosis - I have expanded my love and appreciation to the cinematography of other Asian countries. I like action, heroic bloodshed, wu-xia, Shaw Bros (even if it’s not my specialty), Anime, and also more auteur-ish movies. Anything that is good, really, but I am allergic to rom-com (unless it’s a HK rom-com, possibly featuring Andy Lau in his 20s)"