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PickUrFlick Indie film festival turns lens on social issues

May 22, 2017

The festival witnessed two World Premieres, five Asian Premieres and six Indian Premieres.

New Delhi: The first edition of the thee day PickUrFlick Indie Film Festival (PIFF)-2017 concluded in New Delhi with the screening of more than 70 multi-lingual films in Hindi, Kurdish, Persian, English and Cantonese languages. The festival also awarded 12 filmmakers for their outstanding work.

PIFF, organised at the Instituto Cervantes, screened several short movies on social, gender and development issues. Films talking about drug abuse, women empowerment and renewable energy were screened among several other themes during the first edition of the festival.

Sanal Kumar Sasidharan of the Sexy Durga fame felicitated National Award Winner Jaicheng Jai Dohutia as the best director for Haanduk (The Hidden Corner), a movie on the plight of common people during insurgency in the north eastern state of Assam. Haanduk won the Best Feature award at the 64th National Film Awards in India.

Winner of the 64th National Award for Best Feature Film, Haanduk, Jaicheng Jai Dohutia said “As a filmmaker it is very difficult to make independent films on such issues like insurgency. I have always wanted to bring out things which are not audible. I portrayed this issue in my own visual way. I have always been terrorized by insurgency since childhood,” he said

“I know families who have been affected by insurgernts. The traumatisation has affected the locals so much, that they have muted their voice, they think its okay to have such issues. It has been a history, no one dared to bring this on a public platform, this is journey for me, it has been a difficult process for me to bring in the real story into the mainstream cinema. To bring this sensitive issue, I tried to portray it in a natural way to not face major consequences,” Dohutia added.

The closing film was WWII German feature, Hore Die Stille (Hear The Silence) by Ed. Ehrenburg which won the best feature film award and best cinematography award.

Anirban Guha and his wife Sinjini Sengupta, won the best screenplay award for Elixir. This drama filled Bengali short has been to Cannes International Film Festival 2016, and has also won Best Short Film award in Boston Kaleidoscope Film Festival 2016.

Siddharth Murjani, was awarded the emerging talent of the year as an actor/writer for three of his films (Menage, Riemann, Dealer). Dealer, a silent movie talks about the dilemma and guilt pangs of a drug dealer.

Ending the award ceremony Abhishek Sinha, the founder of said “It's been an amazing experience and this marks the culmination of 1st edition of PickUrFlick indeed. PIFF will come back with more diverse global films next year”.

Anirban Guha and his wife Sinjini Sengupta who has won multiple awards for Elixir said that independent cinema is coming in because of digital market. “Given the internet, people spend time looking at the phone screen. If independent film can actually tap that space in the viewers mind then perhaps that has opened up an entirely a new market in to this mainstream cinema, this is a parallel field that is opening up,” they said.

Sanal Kumar Sasidharan, also a jury member who awarded the winners at PIFF talking about today's independent cinema said “Taking in context, Indie cinema in India is growing specially after Court, Thithi and Kothanodi. My film Sexy Durga is getting recognition across the world and people are coming out with new films. Even though we say India is secondary, but we have a diverse culture and different languages. .”

Sasidharan said that festivals like PIFF are a good medium for filmmakers to bring in new content and real stories. “We learn about the states, the country, the culture, the languages through these films. If filmmakers add commercial values to their independent films, it's not independent cinema. Truly independent filmmakers don't care about success of the film, after making the film, they don't care about the audience choice, they only make films from which they are inspired, where they are getting some kind of vibe from the society, they don't feel that if we make the issue a subject, people will reject it. Independent cinema is still emerging, new filmmakers will come and grow, it will definitely become an association and people will be connected more today,” he said.

The festival witnessed two World Premieres, five Asian Premieres and six Indian Premieres. This edition screened 70 films across four categories in more than ten languages. 52 shorts, seven features, eight animations and three documentaries spread over 23 Spanish films, 14 Silent Films, 7 Hindi Films, 4 Bengali Films, Golden Oscar winning Arabic film , National Award winning Assamese film and Nepali, Persian, German, French, Russian and Kurdish film.

The Spotlight country for this edition was Spain as special focus is on Spanish/Latin American films. 30+ films from Spain/Latin America were screened at the festival.

Winners at the PIFF-2017

1.Best feature

Höre Die Stille (Har The Silence)

2.Best Director (Feature)

Jaicheng Jai Dohutia

3.Best Short Film

Renovable (Renewable)

4.Best Director (Short)

Jon Garaño & Jose Mari Goenaga

5.Best Documentary

Netra by N. Ravindran (Was screened at the Bangalore edition)

6.Best Director (Documentary)

Harjant Gill (SENT Away Boys)

7.Best Animation

Job, Joris & Marieke (Otto)

8.Best Animation (Director)

Ahmad Saleh

9.Best Cinematography

Höre Die Stille (HEAR The Silence)

10.Best Screenplay


11.Best Editing

Campeon (Champion)

12.Emerging Talent of the year

Sidhartha Murjani, actor writer, three of his films at PIFF

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