Indian women's film fest underway


NEW DELHI -- The sophomore edition of the India International Women's Film Festival opened Monday in New Delhi and will conclude Dec. 18.

IIWFF director Shyamali Banerjee said this year's festival will see 130 films participating from 30 countries "while Israel is the focus country, with 14 films." The IIWFF was launched last year in Delhi by Kolkata-based organization Kolkata Film & Media Studies.

This year's festival opened with acclaimed Iranian film "Yek Shab" (One Night) by director Niki Karimi, which revolves around a young girl wandering the streets of Tehran. Lebanese director Jocelyn Saab's "Kiss Me Not on the Eyes" -- about a belly dancer struggling against sexual repression -- will close the festival.

IIWFF is organized in association with the ministry of Information and Broadcasting and the Indian government's Directorate of Film Festivals. The fest will see 20 films compete in the world cinema section while 29 films will screen in the noncompetitive section including Hungary's "Just Sex and Nothing Else" by Krisztina Goda.

Also included is a special retrospective of the work of German director Caroline Link ("Nowhere in Africa"). Link is expected to attend the festival along with foreign delegates such as IIWFF jury member and Budapest Film Festival manager Katalin Vajda.

Expected to participate at a seminar titled Women and Funds is veteran Italian actress Gina Lollobrigida, who will see three of her films screened -- "Imperial Venus," "Come September" and "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" -- as part of a special tribute.

Another special retrospective will feature the works of well-known Indian director Aparna Sen ("36 Chowringhee Lane," "Mr. & Mrs. Iyer").

"We will also include a Women Directors' Film Market to promote various business opportunities for filmmakers and production companies," Banerjee said.

The festival will even have a Male Voice section featuring five Indian films including Goutam Ghose's "Yatra" (Journey) and Buddhadev Dasgupta's "Kalpurush" (Memories in the Mist).

The five-member jury for features is headed by former International Film Festival of India director Malti Sahai and includes Filmfare magazine editor Khalid Mohamed. Bangladeshi writer Daud Haider, Indian actress Mita Vasisht and filmmaker Sajo Singh are judging the competitive section for non-feature films.