The fifth edition of "River to River. Florence Indian Film Festival" took place at the cinema Spazio Uno in Florence/Italy from December 9 to 15, 2005. The venue holds about 150 people and often was sold out.
Festival director Selvaggia Velo selected strictly 'non-Bollywood' movies, short films, and documentaries. The most popular full-length features were "Sof Ha'Olam Smola" ("Turn Left at the End of the World") by Avi Nesher, "Hari Om" by Bharatbala (aka Ganapathy Bharat), and "Amu" by Shonali Bose.
Additional movies which I particularly liked:
- "In Whose Name?" by Nandini Sikand (a filmic essay which explores the co-opting of icons by political agendas and won the Best Documentary Short award at Tupelo Film Festival in Mississipi)
- "Viva Liberty!" by Dishad Husain (a dark comedy about a British muslim ending up in a detention center)
- "15 Park Venue" by Aparna Sen (an exploration of the impact of schizophrenia on a young woman and her family)
- "In Custody" by Ismail Merchant (the producer's directorial debut from 1993)
- "Ragpickers" by Tina Schmidt (a documentary on Indian garbage collectors)
- "City of Photos" (about the tradition of neighborhood photo studios in Indian cities)
The entire program schedule is available here.
The lobby of the Spazio Uno cinema
Festival guests from India included Bharatbala, Ruchi Narain (director of "Kal: Yesterday and Tomorrow"), and Dheeraj Akolkar who presented his documentary "Jyotirgamaya (Lead me to the Light)".
In the Q&A session following the screening of "Kal", Ruchi had some interesting stories to tell because she raised the movie's budget (about US-$550,000/Rs 2.5 crore) herself: "I now receive one, two mails a day from aspiring film makers asking me for a copy of my business plan!" Further info: official website / Deccan Herald.
"Kal" director Ruchi Narain (left)
and festival director Selvaggia Velo
The audience was asked to rate each movie. The highest-ranking films in each category received the Florence Indian Film Festival Digichannel Audience Award: "Sof Ha'Olam Smola" (feature), "6 ft. in 7 min." by Rafael Del Toro (a very funny short film), and "Between the Lines" by Thomas Wartmann (documentary).
If you have a chance, check out next year's edition of "River to River"! It's a well-organized, thoroughly enjoyable event with a friendly atmosphere. And, of course, Florence always is worth a trip. It's a beautiful city with many great sights and wonderful restaurants. During December when "River to River" takes place, the town is not as busy as during peak season in summer. (Interested? Have a look at my Florence photo set.)
View from the hill on the south bank
of Florence's Arno River
In case you're located in Europe and are able too book far in advance, you may be able to catch a cheap flight to Pisa airport (about 70 minutes from Florence) which is serviced by Ryanair and easyJet. (E.g., for a round-trip ticket from Germany, I paid about 40 Euros/$48.)
By the way, there are at least three additional similar events: the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (April 19 - 23, 2006), ImagineIndia in Madrid (May 16 - 23, 2006), and Bollywood and Beyond in Stuttgart/Germany.
Indian food was provided
by Fiesole's restaurant India.
You can view additional photos in my "River to River" photo set.
Links to info about Bollywood movies and other Indian films:
Originally posted at 8:35PM, 22 December 2005 PDT
pjebsen edited this topic 89 months ago.