SAARC Film Festival 2019
Date : 2nd to 7th July 2019
Venue : National Film Corporation Cinema Hall, Sri Lanka
SAARC Cultural Centre successfully conducted the Ninth SAARC Film Festival from 2nd to 7th of July 2019 at the National Film Corporation, Sri Lanka. The Festival was held for six consecutive days screening 34 films comprising of 15 Feature Films, 13 Short Films and 6 Master Films from the SAARC Member States of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The Film Festival, which was a diverse celebration of cinematic creations through the medium of film, is an annual highlight of the Centre’s Calendar of activities. This year also the festival became an event for promotion, celebration and enjoyment of some of the best films from the South Asian Region.
2nd July 2019 at the National Film Corporation Cinema Hall, Colombo, Sri Lanka.
Inauguration Ceremony of the Ninth SAARC Film Festival took place at the Cinema Hall of the National Film Corporation, Sri Lanka. The Chief Guest for the event was Hon. Dr. Harsha De Silva, Minister of Economic Reforms and Public Distribution, Sri Lanka. Distinguished Representatives from the SAARC Member States including film industry professionals from the Member States of Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka were amongst the distinguished gathering. Moreover, Dignitaries from multitude of disciplines were present at the ceremony. The Inauguration Ceremony began with the lighting of the traditional oil lamp to the beat of the traditional Sri Lankan drums. The Chief Guest and other distinguished invitees were ceremoniously led to the hall by the traditional drums and dance ensemble.
Ms. Renuka Ekanayake, Director of the SAARC Cultural Centre delivering the welcome address emphasized the significance of film making as a globally powerful form of art. She further added that the SAARC Film Festival is one of the most important cultural events keeping in line with the main objectives of SAARC Cultural Centre in promoting cultural cooperation amongst the Member States. Honourable Minister of Economic Reforms and Public Distribution expressed his views relating to the government’s role in supporting the local film industry.
A three-member International Jury comprising Mr. Hassan Nazer (Iran, Head of the Jury), Ms. Milana Majar (Bosnia), and Mr. Emmanuel Dela Cruz (Philippines) were formally introduced by Mr. Dhanushka Gunathileke, Consultant of the Ninth SAARC Film Festival.
The First Film screened of the festival was the Master Film Padmaavat nominated by the honoured Member State of India.
5th July 2019 at the Colombo Film and Television Academy
A Master Class was organised to coincide with the Ninth SAARC Film Festival on the 5th July 2019 at the Colombo Film and Television Academy. The topic under discussion was “Why do we need funding for independent Cinema”. The Master Class was introduced by Mr. Dhanushka Gunathileke, followed by a presentation from Head of the Jury Mr. Hassan Nazer. Mr. Nazer, an award-winning Film Director as well as a Jury Member at many international film festivals, shared his experiences and knowledge related to the theme. Ms. Milana Majar, Jury Member from Bosnia presented her views on the topic sharing her knowledge and experience in funding for Independent Cinema. Ms. Majar is a journalist, screenwriter and a film director with many documentary films to her credit. Mr. Emmanuel Dela Cruz from the Philippines shared his experience of Independent Cinema in Asia. Mr. Dela Cruz is a versatile screenwriter, filmmaker, theater artist, graphic artist and songwriter of international repute.
The Master Class provided an opportunity to young filmmakers of Sri Lanka to develop an understanding of the possibilities available for Independent Cinema and learn from experienced Film professionals. An interesting discussion followed the presentations where the international panel was able to share their knowledge of other topics related to cinema.
2nd to 7th July 2019 at the National Film Corporation Cinema Hall, Colombo, Sri Lanka.
A total of 34 films comprising of 15 Feature Films, 13 Short Films and 6 Master Films nominated by SAARC Member States took place from 2nd to 7th July 2019 at the Cinema Hall of the National Film Corporation, Sri Lanka. Entrance was free to the public. It was a rare opportunity for audience members to view some of the best films from across the SAARC region.
CLOSING AND THE AWARDS CEREMONY
7th July 2019 at the National Film Corporation Cinema Hall, Colombo, Sri Lanka.
The Closing and the Awards Ceremony of the Ninth SAARC Film Festival was held on the 7th July 2019 at the Cinema Hall of the National Film Corporation, Sri Lanka. The Chief Guest for the ceremony was Hon. J. C. Alawathuwala, State Minister of Internal & Home Affairs and Provincial Councils and Local Government of Sri Lanka. Secretary General of SAARC, H.E. Mr. Amjad Hussain B. Sial was the Guest of Honour. The Secretary General of SAARC in his address stated that the region’s films have the potential to showcase facets of the South Asian experience to the outside world, as well as promoting our rich cultural heritage and diverse landscapes.
Among the distinguished audience at the closing ceremony were Members of Diplomatic Corps of SAARC Member States in Colombo, Professionals from the Film Industry, other industries and film enthusiasts, etc. At the Awards Ceremony the Jury Members explained their collective deliberations on the selection of the winners. The Ceremony featured several cultural items including a traditional dance item and a drum fusion performance.
The winning film “NAGARKIRTAN” was screened after the Awards Ceremony.
The Ninth SAARC Film Festival 2019 was a very successful event. This festival featured some of the best and award-winning films of the Region, enabling the audience to enjoy the creative visual culture depicting social, cultural, political, etc., issues of South Asia portrayed through the cinematic lenses. The SAARC Cultural Centre was able to create a platform for the film industry professionals to learn from each other through the films and the masterclass. The ideas and knowledge exchanged and obtained from the international panel of Jury enabled the filmmakers to further develop their craft. The friendships developed during the festival has laid the seeds for future collaborations within the Region. The films also created an awareness the issues of the Region, providing an enriching experience and an understanding of the different countries of the Region.