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River to River. Florence Indian Film Festival

The seventh edition of River to River. Florence Indian Film Festival, totally devoted to Indian films and under the direction of Selvaggia Velo, will take place in Florence, Italy, from 7th to 13th December 2007.
On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of India’s independence, the Festival this year changes its venue and, in collaboration with the Cultural Department of the City of Florence and the Mediateca Regionale-Toscana Film Commission, will take place at cinema Gambrinus, in the framework of the 50 days of international cinema in Florence.

On November 15th the Cyclone Sidr has devastated some parts of Bangladesh, motherland of Bimal Roy, to whom the Festival devotes a retrospective
River to River. Florence Indian Film Festival has decided to assign to the victims of the Cyclone Sidr a part of the ticket income, that will be given to Médecins Sans Frontières during the last evening. On this occasion, a representative of MSF will give an update of the situation in the areas that have been more injured by the Cyclone Sidr and on the activities in aid of the victims.


The competition section includes six feature films, eight documentaries and ten short films, with outstanding varied and intense stories, both rural and metropolitan, all highlighting the thousand faces of today’s India.

FILMS IN COMPETION

Feature films
• Dharm is Bhavna Talwar’s first feature film. It is set in Benares on the banks of the Ganges, amidst an atmosphere of Hindu-Muslim conflict. A Hindu priest adopts a child, Kartikey, who will put a strain on the priest’s deepest beliefs.
• Dosar by the prolific Bengali director Rituparno Ghosh, whose films have often been screened at the Festival. A black-and-white film set in a modern Kolkata, telling the story of a couple - Kaushik and Kaberi, whose lives are upset by a car accident.
• Life in a Metro by Anurag Basu, in which a chaotic Mumbai is the setting for some complicated metropolitan love stories.
• Maati Maay by Chitra Palekar. Nandita Das plays a woman who takes care of a children’s cemetery; however, things change as she becomes a mother.
• Nayu Neralu by the maestro of Kannada-language films Girish Kasaravalli. In the film, the dead son of a couple seems to reappear many years later in a neighbouring village.


• The Great Indian Butterfly by Sarthak DasGupta. The two main characters of the film stressed out by their frantic life, set out in search of happiness, which appears to them in the form of an exotic animal: the Great Indian Butterfly.


Short films
• The three animation films, Horn ok Please by Joel Simon, Myths about You by Nandita Jain, and That Darn Jesus by Gary Hardwick.
• Surreal stories and feelings of inadequacy in Chinese Whispers by Raka Dutta, Saving Mum and Dad by Kartik Singh, and Viva Sunita by Lolita Sarkar and Amitabh Sinha.
• Fiction and reality blend into a revisited dramaticule by Samuel Beckett in Antaral (End Note) by Ashish Avikunthak, Gandhi playing baseball in Ghandi at the Bat by Stephanie Argy and Alec Boehm, a story about vanity and beauty in Guroor by Ishaan Nair, and finally the secret of Parto and Misti in Kindle by Nitin Shingal.


Documentaries
• Topical and interesting denunciations: 1000 Days and a Dream by P. Baburaj and C. Saratchandran, in which the village of Plachimada in southern India has to face the problems caused by the arrival of the Coca Cola factory; and then reports about the revolution in Nepal, in Leonardo Ferri’s Democracy Rocks, and Yindabad by Mariano Agudo and Roi Guitián, about the tragedy of the populations living along the Narmada river.
• Portraits of people, real life experiences and ancient customs: different arranged marriages in Arranging Love by Sheila Jayadev and a strange couple’s motorbike journey in Bullets and Butterflies by Sushmit Ghosh; and then a comeback to one’s hometown after 26 years away, in Soumitra Ranade’s Are You Alright Afghanistan?, the story of Mahadeva who collects corpses for a living in Mahadeva–Corpse Bearer in Asil Rais; and lastly Sotto il cielo di Ahmedabad by Francesca Lignola and Stefano Rebechi, portraying the religious feast of the Makar Sankranti, when millions of kites fill the sky of Ahmedabad.



THE RETROSPECTIVE

Other than the competion section, the Festival will include a retrospective on Bimal Roy (1909-1966), one of the greatest Indian film directors of the past, who is often compared to Italian Neorealist filmmakers for his stories and subjects. Thanks to Mr. Roy’s family, three of his masterpieces will be screened, in collaboration with the National Film Archive of India and the Directorate of Film Festivals.
The first one, Do Bigha Zamin (Two Acres of Land) of 1953, remembers De Sica’s Ladri di biciclette. The second film will be Devdas (1955), the remake of which by Sanjay Leela Bhansali was screened at Cannes in 2002. The third masterpiece will be the heart-breaking Bandini of 1963.
In order to give a full portrait of Bimal Roy, the Festival will screen in world première the documentary Remembering Bimal Roy by the director’s son, Joy Roy, who will be in Florence to introduce it to the audience.

THE GUESTS

The Festival’s guests will include, as well as Joy Roy, the directors of the feature films Bhavna Talwar (Dharm), Chitra Palekar (Maati Maay) and Sarthak DasGupta (The Great Indian Butterfly).
For the short films category, Ashish Avikunthak (Antaral-End Note), Ishaan Nair (Guroor), Nandita Jain (Myths about you) and Kartik Singh (Saving Mum and Dad).
The documentaries will be presented by: Leonardo Ferri (Democracy Rocks), Marian Agudo (Yindabad), and Francesca Lignola and Stefano Rebechi (Sotto il cielo di Ahmedabad).


River to River. Florence Indian Film Festival is supported by the Ministry of the Cultural Heritage-Cinema Department, Regione Toscana, Regional Council of Tuscany, Mediateca Regionale Toscana-Film Commission, Cultural Department of the City of Florence, Quartiere 1, Ente Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze, Banca Toscana and India Tourism Office of Milan. Precious the patronage of the Indian Embassy in Rome and the sponsorship of Apt Firenze, Hotel Roma, Instyle and Lisa Corti Firenze. Among the media partners, The Florentine, www.1takemedia.com and RDF 102.7.

One film from each category will be voted by the audience to win the River to River Digichannel Audience Award, that consists in the free promotion of the film for one week on DigiChannel.net, including web publication, newsletter, homepage screening and being part of the DC worldwide network.

Between one film and the other, in the new Gambrinus Loft space, do not miss the food tastings of the Indian restaurant of Fiesole in collaboration with Gambrinus Lunch by Zoe.

side events
Gambrinus Loft, Cinema Gambrinus

• Thursday 6 December at 7.30 pm
opening evening with indian aperitif and bhangra music

• Friday 7 December at 7.30 pm
karma finger food & drinks courtesy of the restaurant India of Fiesole

• Saturday 8 December at 11.30 pm
India after India surprise party

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