Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Nothing but the children

How do I know our 19th ICFFI 2015 is going well?

It is by the compliments it brings from the children. My biggest applause has come from IX grader Maryam Fatima in the middle of all the melee on day 3 who wrote in to us on Facebook: “ICFFI is doing an amazing job. Thanks for the fabulous experience.”

It’s also when volunteers from St Mary’s College who have 40 of their students take a week off from college and have been on their feet nonstop ushering, managing audiences, guests as they take in films from across the world share, “We wish we had seen some of these films in our childhood…”  that you know it’s a good job done.

When friends from the media write stories on a group of 8 kids coming all the way from Patna as a part of a children’s association to sample and enjoy the spread we have laid out in Hyderabad across 13 screens, I know we have accomplished the mission we set out for – to open worlds, perspectives for children in our little way.

I watch 40 kids enthusiastically wait for theater and TV personality Lalit Parmanoo to teach them their next lesson in Abhinay Yog to overcome their inhibitions as a part of the workshop sessions we have organized at the 19 ICFFI 2015. I watched Priya, Apeksha and others from Pomegranate films help children find wings with animation lessons and script writing and I cannot be happier to see their response

The love showered by the children at the 19 ICFFI has been phenomenal. Every director has been surrounded by the kids. Be it Kim-Sung Ho after the screening of his film How to Steal a Dog or the genteel director of the Golden Horse Renis Kalnaellis. They are bombarded for autographs and pictures even though the two don’t speak the same language. 

I couldn’t help smiling myself as these kids surrounded me and asked me for autographs on Day 2 as I walked around and took in their feedback. That appreciation matters even more than any reams of paper written about us – because they are so honest with their love and affection!

As I watch parents run up, debate which movie their child must watch and on which screen, it humbles me of the opportunity we have to entertain, create and push kids to think beyond their usual boundaries and their usual toys. It is this healthy debate, this conversation, the discussion post movies that matters the most and shows us of the experience we have created for these kids.

Our aim to reach more people pushes us to try harder – be it colouring the entire city with hoardings with the kind help of the Telangana Government – or even request talented actresses like Kareena, Karisma Kapoor and Tabu to join us at the festival to provide their encouragement and support. It’s also made us ensure every single foreign director and delegate enjoys their time in India. Be it Helene Comeositos and Carlos Zarco sampling the cuisine and watching other films themselves! Or our jury members like Satish Kaushik, Shilpa Shukla and others working tirelessly behind the scenes to watch as many films and share their comments with us!

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