November 21 saw the conclusion of yet another successful edition of the Kolkata International Film Festival (KIFF). The festival, which began on November 14, saw hundreds of cine-enthusiasts thronging the 12 venues every day.
The Golden Royal Bengal Tiger Awards were given out on the last day. The Hungarian film, The Wednesday Child (Hungarian title, Sizerdai Gyerek) won the Golden Royal Bengal Tiger Award for Best Film. This award carries the single largest cash award given at any international film festival, of Rs 51 lakh. This tale of a rebellious teen mother determined to regain custody of her young son won the hearts of the jury, which comprised well-known names from the world of films like Sharmila Tagore (chairperson), Chinese-American actress, Bai Ling, Polish director, Filip Marczewski, Israeli film-maker, Samuel Maoz and Sri Lankan actress, Swarna Mallawarachchi.. The film, directed by Lili Horvath, had earlier won Karlovy Vary International Film Festival’s East of the West prize for being the best film. It is her directorial debut.
Colombian film-maker Libia Stella Gomez won the Golden Royal Bengal Tiger Award for Best Woman Director for Ella.
The jury’s Special mention awards were shared by I Am Nojoom, Age 10 and Divorced and The Passion of Augustine. The former is directed by Khadija Al Salami, considered the first woman director from Yemen. It brings forth the plight of child brides in Yemen. The Passion of Augustine is a Canadian film directed by Lea Pool.
Other awards were also handed over on the final day of the festival. The NETPAC Award for Asian Competition was won by the Japanese-Italian-Filipino joint production, Blanka, directed by Kohki Hasei. The IFCA Critics Award for Indian Films was awarded to Last Page, by Nikhil Manjoo. This year, awards for documentaries and short films were introduced. The award for Best Documentary was won by the Haobam Paban Kumar-directed Phum Shang (‘Floating Life’) and that for Best Short Film was won by Randu Kurippukal (‘Two Notes’), directed by Gireesh Kumar.
The last ‘bioscopewallah’ of the country, Mohammad Salim who still runs street bioscope with his 100-year-old projector, also received a token of appreciation at KIFF. Salim, who exhibited his bioscope to film-goers last Friday at the Nandan complex, was given a cash prize of Rs 51,000 by the West Bengal government.
The 21st edition of the festival featured 149 films from 61 countries.
Feature image: kff.in