Japan's 'Asura' to Open India's 2012 Cinefan Festival


Focusing on Asian and Arab cinema, the 12th Osian's Cinefan Festival will feature 15 world premieres among its 175 film lineup with India's “Chitrangada ” as the closing film.

NEW DELHI – Japanese animation film Asura by Keiichi Sato – revolving around the aftermath of Japan's 2011 tsunami disaster - will open the 12th Osian’s Cinefan Film Festival to be held in New Delhi from 27 July-5 August. Organized by Mumbai-based arts and culture organization Osian's, the Cinefan festival focuses on Asian, Arab and Indian cinema. This year sees a total of 175 participating films – which include 15 world premieres - from 38 countries. The festival's competition jury includes Rome Festival Director Marco Mueller who will also deliver the inaugural Mani Kaul Memorial Lecture named after the late Indian film-maker who was also the festival's creative director.

Other festival jury members include Indian director Muzaffar Ali (known for iconic 1981 musical drama Umrao Jaan), Egyptian film-maker Magdi Ahmed Ali (Girls' Secrets), Iranian actor-director Ali Mosaffa (Portrait of a Lady Far Away) and screenwriter/producer James V Hart whose writing credits include Francis Ford Coppola's 1992 film Bram Stoker's Dracula, Steven Spielberg's Hook, the Jodie Foster starrer Contact and Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, among others.

Cinefan will close with Bengali film-maker Rituparno Ghosh's Chitrangada, described as “one of the most radical explorations in Indian cinema about the freedom to choose one’s gender and sexual orientation.”

The festival's Freedom of Expression section will push the envelope further featuring five landmark films that have battled censorship norms over the years: Pier Paolo Pasolini’s 1975 Italian film Salo (120 Days of Sodom), Virginie Despentes and Coralie Trinh-Thi’s controversial 2000 French drama Baise-Moi (Rape Me), Shuji Terayama’s 1971 release Emperor Tomato Ketchup, incarcerated Iranian director Jafar Panahi’s This is Not a Film (which he shot on a mobile chronicling his house arrest and was smuggled out of Iran last year) and India's 1933 release Karma which caused a stir at the time with its four minute onscreen kissing scene between lead actors and husband-wife duo Devika Rani and Himanshu Rai.

Other programming highlights include a special focus on the art of animation featuring films from Estonia and the launch of a sidebar on environmental films. The festival will pay tribute to Japanese film-makers Koji Wakamatsu and Masao Adachi. A major highlight will be a two-day festival summit, “Delhi as India's Next Cinema City?” which will feature personalities such as director Shekhar Kapur (Elizabeth) and representatives from the Government of Delhi who will discuss the potential of India's capital city as a film hub and alternative to Mumbai given the growing number of successful films that have been filmed here in recent years. These include international films like Mira Nair's 2001 outing Monsoon Wedding to recent Bollywood hits such as Khosla Ka Ghosla, DevD, Band Baaja Baraat and this year's runaway success Vicky Donor, among numerous others.

As in years past, the festival will include an exhibition from the Osian’s art archives with this year's focus being The Divas of Indian Cinema – 100 Years of Beauty and Grace which will pay homage to iconic actresses to mark the 100th anniversary of Indian cinema (the first Indian film, Raja Harischandra, was released in 1913). Also planned is an auction of vintage film memorabilia.

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