7th Biffes – 2014

December 04, 2014 – December 11, 2014

Govt. of Karnataka initiated action in July 2014 to establish the Artistic Department and an Organising committee for the conduct of 7th edition of the  Bengaluru International Film Festival. The Artistic Department started functioning  from 1st of August 2014 with an Artistic Director, Dy. Director, Festival Coordinator, Office Manager and a couple of support staff.

Organising committee authorized the Artistic Department to take forward all the necessary actions for the conduct of the festival on the basis of the experience of the previous editions   for a week from December 04 to 11th  2014  with all the trappings of any major film event of its kind comprising of  the main Cinema of the World section featuring some of the most outstanding contemporary films made in various parts of the world,  separate  Competition sections for Contemporary Asian, Indian and Kannada Cinema, Country focus, retrospectives of celebrated  Film Directors, NETPAC (network for promotion of Asian Cinema) award winning Asian  Films, International Critics Organisation (FIPRESCI) award winning films, Special thematic  films, Tributes, Homages, other academic activities like Master Classes, workshops, Seminars etc.

I .  The Artistic Department started its work in all its earnestness focusing on two important aspects in its early stage of activity:

  1. Identifying and procuring of cinemas of the world and simultaneously look to
  2. Physical infrastructure like availability of theatres with technical competence for proper screening of films.

For the purpose of identification of films,  contacts were established  with  the Director of Programs for almost all the major International Film Festivals of India including IFFI, Goa , Chennai International Film Festival who is our regular partner, cultural centres of various embassies of overseas Govts, in New Delhi and other locations,  Film agents, Film curators across India and abroad. Everyone of them responded positively and the process of receiving screeners of Contemporary World cinema started. It is indeed heartening to record that nearly 400 films were received either as hard copy of DVD or online links for consideration. A committee  of four members who had exposure to International cinema was formed and the responsibility was delegated to them to shortlist  about 100 films for the Cinema of the world section.

Finally about 64 films from 44 countries were selected for screening. The methodology of selection was based on the recommendations of the selection panel, reputation of the film maker and the visibility and acceptability of these films in other major International film festivals like Cannes, Berlin, Toronto, Venice, Karlovy vary, IFFI, Mumbai  etc., which happened prior to BIFFes. The Artistic Director on the basis of the past reputation of the Directors, negotiations and availability of the films zeroed in on retrospectives of Mr Krysztoff Zanussi of Poland and Mr. Philip Noyce of Australia. Similarly, under the Country focus section, Films from Netherlands and South Korea were finalized.

The International Film Critics award winning films were curated by Ms. Barbara Lorey, Director, FIPRESCI awards programme, Paris and Asian award winning films programme by Mr Ashley Ratnavibhushana, General Manager/Jury coordinator, NETPAC, Sri Lanka who also coordinated the International Jury members for both Kannada and Asian Cinema competitions. Mr Narahari Rao, former Artistic Director of BIFFes  procured films for the Master classes on Cinematography section. Mr Radhakrishnan acted as liaison for different Embassies in Delhi and also for processing of our applications for Censor and Customs Duty exemption with Govt. of India. Mr. Premendra Mazumdar, General Secretary, Federation of Film Societies in India, Kolkata  supported us in procuring films in the Asian region, more particularly from Eastern India and Bangladesh. Mr Prasad Khatu, Programmer from Mumbai Film Festival sourced films under restored films section and also films for public screenings at Freedom Park.

The films for Competition section of Kannada, Indian and Asian Films were invited in the month of October 2014 and a large number of entries were received. The Kannada section received 26 films, the Indian section 45 films and the Asian category about 10 films.  Separate selection committees were formed for the Kannada and the Indian sections to shortlist films for the final competition and they recommended 9 films each for the same. However, on their specific recommendation some Kannada and Indian films were shown outside competition sections also keeping in view the quality of films.

The Asian category was packaged by the Artistic Director` s discretion. Homages, special tributes and films representing remembrances of pioneers were  an easy task as there were specific films for each of these categories. Screening of restored films and a world premiere for Kannada films were new forums created for this edition. A print unit for receipt and dispatch of films was established on November 1, 2014 under the leadership of a Print Manager who was vested with the authorization to communicate with film agents and also cargo transport company for smooth transit of film prints.

A competent technical company Pixel Garage Studios was appointed to inspect the theatres and file a compatibility report for holding the festival at various  venues. A positive report was received in respect of Inox and Fun Cinemas.  The Festival technical committee approved the acceptance of offer by these  two cine multiplexes located in Halasur and Cunningham Road. In addition, it was decided like in earlier editions to utilize the screening facilities available at Priyadarshini Theatre, Badami House and Sulochana at Office of the Dept. of Information. The preview theatre on the premises of Chamundeshwari Studios was also negotiated for holding all the academic activities like Master Classes, Workshops, Seminars etc.  On the recommendation of the organizing Committee free public screenings were organized at the Freedom Park complex on Seshadri Road.

  1. In the second phase of executing   the event,  the focus was on identifying the delegates to be invited, juries for different competition sections,  opening of counters  for delegate registrations at various locations in the city and also recruiting volunteers to manage the show during the festival.

Invitations were extended to representatives of  other film festivals in India, Film makers from outside India, Directors and Producers of films from India whose works were showcased in the various competition sections, Curators of various sections, persons who supported us in sourcing of films and jury coordinators. Netpac organization coordinated four International jury members for Asian cinema and Kannada cinema competitions and it was so organized that  a couple of jury members were film makers whose films were also part of the festival packages. The other members of the Jury were drawn from various parts of the Country on the basis of their qualification and experience in the field.  Here again the advice of International Federation of Film Critics was solicited. This year the focus was on creating visibility for Kannada cinema which would in the long run result in creating a market for it outside Karnataka. In order to do that we had invited  two persons who are promoters of Asian cinema outside India, Ms Deepti D’Cunha from Mumbai and Mr Italo Spinelli from Rome. Very illuminating discussions and interactions were held with them both by the Govt. Officials and also Film industry representatives in addition to media interactions.

Curtains went up for the festival at a formal inaugural ceremony at  Dr. Ambedkar Bhavan  on Miller  Road, Vasanthanagar  on Thursday, December 04, 2014 at 5.30 PM, when the Chief Minister of Karnataka Shri Siddaramaiah inaugurated the festival in the presence of the eminent Film Cinematographer/ Director Shri Govind Nihalani and popular and celebrated Actor of South Indian Cinema Ms Suhasini Manirathnam and Kannada Film Star Yash. The event saw the participation of the Kannada film Industry, large number of Ministers, delegates from India and abroad, Distinguished Jury members for different competitions from India and abroad and of course large number of film loving public.

The core of the activity, the screening of celebrated films, started unfolding from the next day. The films flourished on screens at the six venues (Fun Cinemas Complex, Cunningham Road, Fame Lido Complex on Ulsoor Road, Chamundeshwari Studio, Freedom Park, Sulochana, Infantry Road and Badami House at N.R. Square) and so did the presentation of cast and crew of films on show in the Festival and specially the invited delegates.

The thematic study of the festival was Gender violence and the 6 films presented  under the section drew lot of attention from the delegates and the academic seminar on the subject saw wide participation from both the invited guests and also the general public.

During the festival,  Special tributes were paid to ace Cinematographer Shri V.K. Murthy and eminent Jnanapeetha Award winning Kannada Writer  Dr. U.R. Ananthamurthy,  and homages were paid to film personalities who passed away during the year, C.R. Simha, K.M. Shankarappa, Balu Mahedra and French Director Alain Resnais.  A special V.K. Murthy memorial lecture was delivered by Sri Govind Nihalani. There were special forums for films which have won International Critics (FIPRESCI) award and also specifically for Asian films which have won NETPAC (Network for Promotion of Asian Cinema) awards.

Academic activities like Master Classes on Cinematography,  Seminars, workshops, media get together, parties were extended activities of the festival. A large contingent of eminent film makers from India and abroad, Film festival organizers, Film Society activists participated in the festival as special invited delegates. More than 170 films from nearly 44 countries were screened during the festival. The festival was attended by nearly  5000 delegates, a large part of it being that of the new generation of film enthusiasts. It also saw the enthusiastic participation of the members of the Kannada film Industry comprising of Artistes, film makers and the various industry organisations. The attention it received from the media was stupendous.

Special screenings organized for the general public at the Freedom Park  were also received with great enthusiasm.

A number of press meets, discussions, and interactions with the delegates, media and the film lovers were held during the week. Varied topics on films mediated  open discussions between the invitees, delegates and the press. A catalogue of films presented in the festival was also brought out.  Daily bulletins covering  all the activities of the festival  were also issued on all the days of the event.

The festival concluded with a grand event at Dr Ambedkar Bhavan again on Thursday, December 11, 2014, in the presence of the Hon’ble Governor of Karnataka, who  presented the  awards to winners of Asian, Indian and Kannada Competitions. The award winners are:


Kannada Films:         December 1,  Director – P. Sheshadri  &

                                     Atti Hannu Mattu Kanaja ( Fig Fruit and the  Wasps),  Director –  M.S. Prakash Babu

Other Asian Films:    Labour of Love (India) &

                                     Dukhtar (Pakistan)