Chandigarh’s Cinematic Spectacle: Launch of the Inaugural Cinevesture International Film Festival

The bustling city of Chandigarh is poised to witness the grandeur of cinematic arts as it hosts the inaugural Cinevesture International Film Festival (CIFF) slated to take place from March 27 to March 31. The long-awaited festival kicks off with the prominent French culinary drama, “The Taste of Things,” featuring Juliette Binoche, a film that has already garnered critical acclaim and fetched director Tran Anh Hung the prestigious best director prize at the Cannes Film Festival. Celebrations will draw to a close with South Korea’s box office topper of 2024, the harrowing horror drama “Exhuma (Pamyo).”

CIFF marks a breakthrough in the cultural landscape of the city, boasting an impressive lineup spanning over 67 titles. These encompass a wide range of world cinema, Indian feature films, iconic classics, and captivating short films. A staggering 24 award-winning international features will be exhibited in the World Cinema section. Concurrently, the India Unveiled section will put a spotlight on 17 indie marvels. Further, in Brief Encounters, 27 short movies will be showcased, alongside cherished children’s films and the timeless masterpieces from legends like Satyajit Ray and Guru Dutt.

The selection of films includes some of the most recent and acclaimed movies across the globe. Examples include “The Zone of Interest,” a poignant Holocaust drama that triumphed at the Oscars for best international feature film, and Hirokazu Kore-eda’s “Monster,” a celebrated title which clinched the Palme d’Or. Additionally, the festival will present “The Whale,” the previous year’s best actor Oscar winner, alongside the deeply moving documentary “Seven Winters in Tehran.”

CIFF also places a keen focus on Indian narratives with award-winning features and documentaries. Audiences can look forward to diverse Indian regional cinema experiences with such films as the Marathi film “Sthal,” “Stolen,” Rima Das’ Assamese production “Tora’s Husband,” Gurvinder Singh’s Punjabi feature “Adh Chanani Raat,” the documentary on Punjabi artist and writer Imroz by Harjit Singh, Lijo Jose Pellissery’s Malayalam offering “Malaikottai Vaaliban,” and Sreemoyee Singh’s “And, Towards Happy Alleys,” paean to Iranian cinema and poetry. Moreover, shorts including Varun Grover’s “Kiss” and the Riz Ahmed-starrer “Dammi” will enrich the line-up.

The galaxy of stars and industry stalwarts expected to grace the event includes Richa Chadha, Ali Fazal, Roshan Mathew, Gulshan Devaiah, Varun Grover, Rasika Duggal, singer Rashmeet Kaur, and esteemed directors Hansal Mehta, Shekhar Kapur, Sudhir Mishra, and Tahira Kashyap Khurrana.

The CIFF will initiate an immersive cinema experience by opening and closing with open-air screenings at the Government Museum & Arts Gallery in Sector 10, the festival’s primary venue. Additionally, three classics are scheduled for Open Air screenings, including “Jalsaghar,” “Kaagaz Ke Phool,” and “The Godfather Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone,” which marks the 30th anniversary of the iconic “Godfather 3” by Francis Ford Coppola.

An exhibition celebrating the centenaries of cinema icons Raj Kapoor and Dev Anand will also be on display in the Rose Garden Underpass. This unique exhibit is the result of collaboration between the National Film Archives (NFDC) and students from the Chandigarh College of Architecture. Furthermore, children aged between 10 to 17 are invited to enjoy films at Cinepolis Jagat each morning of the festival.

Nina Lath, the founder and CEO of Cinevesture Pvt Ltd, has crafted a festival that is not just a treat for the audience but also serves the filmmaking business through “CIFF/market.” It will present over 15 curated projects by creators well-established in the Indian film industry, aiming to bolster collaborations and exchanges.

The festival enjoys strong government backing with support from the Government Museum & Art Gallery, Chandigarh, the Department of Tourism, and the Chandigarh Administration. VS Kundu, the retired IAS and former head of the National Films Division of India, has assumed the role of festival director with industry veteran Bina Paul as the artistic director.

Kundu endorsed CIFF as a pioneering global-scale cinema event in Chandigarh, expressing optimism for its potential to become a much-anticipated annual occurrence. Meanwhile, Paul indicated that the festival’s objective is to offer a diverse array of cinematic experiences, ensuring there is something compelling for every demographic, from students and film enthusiasts to international audiences discovering the novelties in Korean, Japanese, and French cinema, thus fabricating a rich cultural tapestry for Chandigarh’s populace.

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