SAARC Film Festival Participatory Programme – Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

1. Background

SAARC Film Festival was approved at the Thirteenth Governing Board Meeting held in Colombo, Sri Lanka on 28th and 29th November 2023 and the Fifty-ninth Session of the Programming Committee Meeting held in Kathmandu, Nepal on 6th and 7th March 2024.  

SAARC Film Festival has become one of the most successful annual programmes of the SAARC Cultural Centre. It will be held for the 10th year in 2024 after lapse due to the global pandemic.  Since the Inaugural SAARC Film Festival in 2011, the SAARC Member State of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka has hosted this diverse celebration of cinematic creations and the development and display of visual arts through the medium of film.  The SAARC Film Festival is the only festival in South Asia which gives an opportunity to film-makers of the Region to share their talent and mingle with the other film-makers of the Region.  This is first and the earliest International and Regional Film Festival to be held in Sri Lanka.  

The medium of film both traditional celluloid to modern digital movies creates stories, preserve tangible and intangible cultural heritage and give different perspectives.  Visual art through the medium of film can be enjoyed at the comfort of home through television, YouTube, Netflix, etc.  At the same time theatres provides entertainment, information and preservation of knowledge.  This is a powerful instrument which can be used to disseminate the culture of the SAARC Region through fictional stories, real-life stories, documentaries and the latest documentation through the use of smart phone technologies.   

The SAARC Film Festival 2024 will focus on films created in South Asia and first screened after 1st May 2022 up to 30th April 2024.  Directors and artistes of these films will be invited to participate in the workshop, which is conducted to encourage and improve future productions.

2. Objectives

The objectives of the SAARC Film Festival are as follows:

2.1 To create a platform for the promotion, celebration and enjoyment of best films of the SAARC Region. 

2.2 Promotion of mutual cultural heritage, norms, traditions, stories through visual medium of film.  

2.3 To create an opportunity for the film-makers of the SAARC Region to have their creations critiqued and recognized by an international panel. 

2.4 To felicitate the creativity of the film-makers of the SAARC Region.  

2.5 To provide recognition to the individuals who are at the very core of this creativity as a form of encouragement and respect to continue producing quality, thought provoking and representational films for the Region.

3. Outcomes

3.1 Establishing a network for the film-makers of the Region. 

3.2 Providing opportunities for the creation of collaborative films in the SAARC Region. 

3.3 Felicitation of the best and most creative films of the Region in different categories. 

3.4 Creating a forum for the exchange of ideas and knowledge sharing amongst experts in the field within the Region and on an international scale. 

3.5 Exploring further opportunities to enhance the visual arts in the SAARC Region, with particular emphasis given to the film industry.

3.6 Promoting friendships and understanding within the industry in the South Asian Region

4. Film Categories for Nominations

There are five film categories open for nominations at the SAARC Film Festival in 2024.  The Member States are invited to nominate maximum of six films in the categories stated below.  Please use the Film Registration Form which is attached as Annexure 1 to provide details of the films.

4.1 Feature Films (Felicitation Category) – Two nominations

4.2 Short Films (Felicitation Category) – One Nomination

4.3 Documentary Films (Felicitation Category) – One Nomination

4.4 Web-based Short Films (Felicitation Category) – One Nomination

4.5 Master Films (Non-Felicitation Category) – One Nomination

4.1.1. Feature Films Category

4.1.1.1      Feature films are defined as ‘fictional films’.

4.1.1.2      Maximum of Two feature films to be nominated from each Member State. 

4.1.1.3      Feature films screened between 1st May 2022 to 30th April 2024 are eligible to be nominated. 

4.1.2. Short Film Category

4.1.2.1      A Short Film is defined as a ‘Short Fictional Film’.  

4.1.2.2      Duration cannot exceed 30 minutes.  

4.1.2.3      Short films screened between 1st May 2022 to 30th April 2024 are eligible to be nominated.

4.1.3. Documentary Films Category

4.1.3.1      Documentary films are defined as ‘non-fictional motion pictures used to document reality.’ 

4.1.3.2      Documentaries on tangible and intangible cultural heritage of the Member States to be nominated in this category. 

4.1.3.3      The Documentary Film should not exceed 45 minutes in duration. 

4.1.3.4      Documentary films screened between 1st May 2022 to 30th April 2024 are eligible to be nominated.

4.1.4. Web-based Short Films

4.1.4.1      Short films (fiction) that have a wide presence in the internet are eligible to be nominated in this category.

4.1.4.2      Web-based Short Films screened between 1st May 2022 to 30th April 2024 are eligible to be nominated. 

4.1.4.3 The duration of the film should not exceed 30 minutes

4.1.5. Master Films

4.1.5.1      Master Films are defined as feature films created by a great film maker of the Member State reflecting the best of the film industry.

4.1.5.2      No restrictions on the period of first screening.

4.1.5.3      No restrictions on the duration of the movie. 

5. Participants

All Official, Other and Virtual Participants are required to fill the Participant Registration Form attached as Annexure 2.

5.1 Official Participants (Director / Producer of the Nominated Films)

The esteemed Member States to nominate Director or the Producer of the nominated films as participants. 

5.1.1 Each Member State to nominate maximum of 6 Official Participants (Directors / Producers) to represent each nominated film. 

5.1.2 As per SAARC practice the airfare of the Official Participants to be borne by respective Member State. 

5.1.3 SAARC Cultural Centre will provide accommodation, food and local transport in Sri Lanka for the participants from Member States except from the Host Member State. 

5.1.4 Official Participants from the Host Member State of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka will not be provided with accommodation, food or local transport.  

5.1.5 Official Participant details to be forwarded through the relevant line ministry to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs/External Affairs of the Member State to the SAARC Secretariat. 

5.2 Other Participants (Actors, Actresses, Cinematographers, Screen Writers, etc.)

The Other Participants are defined as the Cast and Crew of the nominated films excluding the Director/Producer.

5.2.1 Each Member State can nominate Cast and Crew Members of the nominated films to participate at the SAARC Film Festival. 

5.2.2 The Other Participants will be accepted based on the availability of space on a first come first serve basis. 

5.2.3 The airfare of the Other Participants to be borne by the participant.   

5.2.4 SAARC Cultural Centre will provide accommodation, food and local transport in Sri Lanka for the participants from Member States except from the Host Member State.  

5.2.5 Other Participants from the Host Member State of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka will not be provided with accommodation, food and local transport. 

5.2.6 Other Participant details to be forwarded through the relevant line ministry to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs/External Affairs of the Member State to the SAARC Secretariat. 

5.3 Virtual Participants for the Film Workshop

The Film Workshop is tentatively planned for 24th July 2024 and will be held in hybrid mode.  The Cast and Crew Members of the nominated films and any other participant can join the workshop virtually.  The Participant Registration Form (Annexure 2) needs to be filled and sent to the SAARC Cultural Centre prior to participation. 

6. Important Information

6.1 Films nominated should aim to promote culture, foster friendship and cultural harmony among the Member States.

6.2 Films that are prejudicial to another country or that would highlight issues that would not align with the aim of promoting the Festival and fostering goodwill in the Region will be disqualified. 

6.3 The organisers reserve the right to view nominated films prior to the Festival, and disqualify any film that would go against the objective of promoting peace and harmony through culture within the SAARC Region.

6.4 All nominated films must be subtitled in English or in English language. Any film submitted without English subtitles, will be disqualified. 

6.5 Each Film Nomination must be accompanied by a fully completed Registration Form (Annexure 1) which is attached to this Concept Note.

6.6 All nominated films from the Region will be critiqued by an international panel of film professionals.

6.7 All expenses pertaining to sending the film in the required format – as detailed in No. 12 Technical Requirements below, will have to be borne by the nominating Member State or the Film-Maker.

7. Film Workshop

A workshop on various facets of film will be organized by the SAARC Cultural Centre.  This workshop will pave the way for the film makers of the Region to share their knowledge and learn from each other.  This will also provide a forum for future collaborations.  This will be in hybrid mode and Official, Other and Virtual participants will be able to exchange ideas and discuss issues.  This will be a free event open to the public via registration both physically and virtually. 

8. Felicitations

The SAARC Cultural Centre will not be presenting the SAARC Film Awards which were presented annually from 2011 to 2019.  This decision was made by the Programming Committee of SAARC.  Therefore, the SAARC Cultural Centre will present “Certificates of Participation” to all the films and film makers of the SAARC Film Festival 2024.

9. Publicity

Publicity is planned in many platforms and includes the following:

9.1 Special Website – This year will be the 10th SAARC Film Festival and will develop a new website attached to the Centre’s website which provides details of all the previous Film Festivals.

9.2 Press Conferences – These will be organized before the Festival.

9.3 Social Media – Event page in Facebook and other social media platforms.

10. Dates and Venue

Deadline for Nomination of Fimls            31st August 2024

Festival Dates:                                         24th to 28th September 2024 (Tentative)

Festival Venue:                                        A suitable location in Colombo, Sri Lanka

11. Tentative Agenda

The final agenda will be based on the number of films nominated and their duration. 

24th September 2024:                   Inauguration Ceremony

27th September 2024:                   Film Workshop

28th September 2024:                   Closing Ceremony

12. Technical Requirements

12.1 All films for the Festival (Feature Films, Short Films, Documentary Films, Web-based Short Films and Master Films) should be submitted in DCP in 2K/4K (D Cinema) format or Blu – ray format and downloadable data format

12.2 Downloadable data format specifications:

12.2.1 Audio, video and subtitles must be contained in a single file and the file size should not exceed 10 GB. 
12.2.2 Please submit HD material in the MP4 format (H.264, AAC, Stereo).
12.2.3 Please encode your video data with a constant bitrate and either 24, 25 or 30 progressive frames per second.
12.2.4 The file name must not include any special characters or blank spaces. Please do not, for example, use any file names like “myfilm!@&%$§ *().mov”.

12.3 To ensure a high technical quality, the following settings for file compression are suggested.

Size / Aspect RatioVideo Codec / Min. Bit RateAudio Codec / Min. Bit Rate
1920 x 1080 px / 16:9 HDH.264 High Profile 5.000 – 10.000 KbitsAAC / 320 Kbits Sampling Rate 48 kHz

12.4 If your film is available in a different file format or on DVD, a conversion to H.264 is recommended.
12.5 Please ensure the films submitted are not defective, are in the required format as stated above and are individually labelled, including the running time of each film.
12.6 The aim of the Festival is to promote culture, new trends and ideas, there are no restrictions on themes and topics.
12.7 All films will be subject to approval from the Sri Lankan Public Performance Board prior to screening at SAARC Film Festival 2024.
12.8 Titles of the nominated Films in all Categories (Feature, Short, Documentary, Web-based and Master Films) along with their relevant details should be sent through the relevant ministry of the nominating Member State, via their Foreign/External Affairs Ministries, to the SAARC Secretariat Kathmandu, to reach the SAARC Cultural Centre in Colombo by the 31st August 2024.
12.9 Names of the Film Personnel (up to a maximum of 6 Film Directors and/or Artistes) nominated to represent each SAARC Member State, should be sent through the relevant ministry concerned of the nominating Member State, via their Foreign/External Affairs Ministries, to the SAARC Secretariat Kathmandu, to reach the SAARC Cultural Centre in Colombo by the 31st August 2024.
12.10 Three copies each of the Nominated Films in the specified format should be sent through the relevant Ministry concerned of the nominating Member State, via their Foreign/External Affairs Ministries, directly to the SAARC Cultural Centre, Sri Lanka as detailed in the attached Registration Form (Annexure 1), to reach the SAARC Cultural Centre, by the 31st August 2024.

12.11 For publicity purposes, please include a standard Press Kit with the required information, giving special consideration to the following:


12.11.1 Synopsis of 150-words of each film submitted for the Festival;
12.11.2 Three High resolution (300 dpi) images from each film;
12.11.3 One Profile picture of the Director (300 dpi);
12.11.4 Biography of the Director;
12.11.5 Film trailers, clip reels, posters, post cards if available;
12.11.6 Film Reviews – to be sent in together with the names of the nominated films.

13. Technical Contact

Please contact the following officers of the SAARC Cultural Centre for technical support.  The Registration Form (Annexure 1) and the information stated above by the 31st August 2024 to the following persons. 

13.1 Mr. Mahinda Sumanasekara,
Documentation Officer,
Mobile/WhatsApp: 0094-71-921-8806
Email: documentation@saarcculture.org / mahindasb@gmail.com

13.2 Mr. Harishnath Nadaraja,
Programme Assistant,
Mobile/WhatsApp: 0094-72-391-5808
Email: programme-assistant@saarcculture.org / sccprogrammesdiv@gmail.com

14. Focal Points

14.1 Deputy Director Programmes,
Email: dd-programme@saarcculture.org

14.2 Mr. Keerthi Gunathilaka, (Logistics)
Administrative Officer,
Mobile/WhatsApp: 0094-77-105-3006
Email: admin@saarcculture.org / kkeerthigunathilaka67@gmail.com

Film Information Form : Annexure 1

Registration Form for Participants : Annexure 2

SAARC Film Day 2024 – “PINK” from India

The SAARC Cultural Centre will be screening the award-winning movie “PINK” at the Moon Bastion of the World Heritage City of Galle on 5th April 2024 at 8:30 pm.  PINK is a movie portraying three young female professionals facing social and cultural prejudices, political pressure and respect for their choices.  It is a movie with strong social meaning which encourages women to speak up in society and fight for their choices.   

Pink is directed by Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury and was first screened in 2016.  The Cast includes Amitabh Bachchan, Taapsee Pannu, Kirti Kulhari, Andrea Tariang, Vijay Varma, etc. 

Please join us at the Moon Bastion Open Air to enjoy this uplifting movie. 

Date: 5th April 2024 Time: 8:30 pm onwards Location: Moon Bastion of the World Heritage City of Galle

Entrance Free

SAARC Film Day – Bhutan

This quarter the SAARC Cultural Centre will celebrate the SAARC Film Day with the screening of a popular film from Bhutan.  The SAARC Film Day is organized every quarter by the SAARC Cultural Centre in collaboration with the National Film Corporation.  On 21st November 2023 the SAARC Cultural Centre will screen the Bhutanese Film “Wind of Karma” a popular movie in Bhutan directed by Karma Lhatrul Dorji.  Honorary Consul for Bhutan Mr. Abbas Esufally will attend the screening as the Chief Guest. 

Date :    21st November 2023

Time :    3:00 pm onwards

Venue:  National Film Corporation Cinema Hall (Tharanganie Theatre), No. 303, Bauddhaloka Mawatha, Colombo 07.

ENTRANCE FREE

SAARC Film Festival

SAARC Film Festival will be held from 22nd to 26th September 2020 in Sri Lanka. The Festival which is acclaimed for being the platform for regional engagement for the South Asian film fraternity will witness its 10th Edition this year. SCC has been working on the realignment of the festival format and the due precautionary measures to comply to the prevailing challenges.

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.

INAUGURATION CEREMONY
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.

MASTER CLASS
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.

FILM SCREENINGS
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.

Ninth SAARC Film Festival Award Winners

Ninth SAARC Film Festival 2019
AWARD WINNERS AND CITATIONS

1. BEST FEATURE FILM – NAGARKIRTAN – INDIA
For its most sensitive and delicate employment of the emphatic power of cinema, not just in depicting truth but understanding beyond prejudice, cultural, religious and gender borders.

2. BEST SHORT FILM – NA BOLE WO HARAM – INDIA
For its playful yet vital depiction of the young generation, searching within the deep cultural bias, and finally finding balance in understanding the moral code of right and wrong.

3. BEST DIRECTOR – MR. KAUSHIK GANGULY for the film NAGARKIRTAN – INDIA
For taking full reins in giving humanity, nuance, colour, exigency, impetus and form to a narrative of beautiful sexual identity and self-creation, beyond the tragedies of social prejudices.

4. BEST SCREENPLAY – Mr. AZIZ DEILDAR for the film LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT – AFGHANISTAN
For its courage to finally speak the truth about real events behind closed doors, the complex and corrosive relationship between government law and customary law and the unspoken but systemic depiction of injustice against a woman in Afghanistan

5. BEST ACTOR – MR. RIDDHI SEN in the film – NAGARKIRTAN – INDIA
For his sharply measured yet intricately beguiling portrayal of the inner life and outer transformations of a young boy coming out painstakingly from of its own constricting chrysalis into the light and embrace of self-acceptance as a woman.

6.BEST ACTRESS – MS. ANOMA JANADARI in the film DAVENA VIHAGUN – SRI LANKA
For her stoic but powerful, silent and blistering portrayal of “mother courage” in facing countless brutal degradation, and humiliation in carrying the double burden of being the centre and periphery of boundless, selfless parental love.

7. BEST CINEMATOGRAPHER – MR. ENAMUL HOQUE SOHEL for the film FAGUN HAOAY – BANGLADESH
For cinematically depicting the milieu, scope and period of historical significance, making each frame vital not just in pushing the narrative, but highlighting the culture, identity and aspirations of a collective mass of people.

8. BEST EDITOR – AJITH RAMANAYAKE & KATHARINA WARTENA for the film – DAVENA VIHAGUN – SRI LANKA
For creating an immersive and riveting experience, by combining the push and flow of slow takes, and precise cuts, weaving a tragic tale of inevitability unto its bleakest end.

9. BEST SOUND DESIGNER – MR. RIPON NATH for the film FAGUN HAOAY – BANGLADESH
For creating a tumultuous aural tapestry of the native spoken languages of a country and its people, in their everyday struggle and escalating conviction against a power-hungry and repressive foreign regime.

10. BEST ORIGINAL SCORE – MR. PRABUDDHA BANERJEE for the film NAGARKIRTAN – INDIA
For musically rendering the arrestingly soft, intoxicating and painstaking beauty of a unique kind of love between a musician and a young paramour, against the harsh realities of social judgement and prejudice.

11. Special Jury Award – (PERFORMANCE) – MS. SWASTIMA KHADKA for the film BULBUL – NEPAL
For fully committing and brilliantly bringing out the pain and agony, and still imbibing indefatigable courage, balancing mental, emotional and physical turmoil authentically, in a performance both fully transformed and transformative.

12. SPECIAL JURY (DIRECTION AND STORY) – MR. PRAVEEN MORCHHALE
For the film WALKING WITH THE WIND – INDIA
For mightily depicting a moving story of childhood innocence and single-minded purpose, and for its definitive direction and self-assured telling of its simple but joyful story.
_____________________________________________________________________________
NB: ADDITIONAL AWARDS PRESENTED AT THE DISCRETION OF THE JURY
13. SPECIAL JURY RECOGNITION (Certificate only):
TRADITION – SRI LANKA (for strong FEMALE PERSPECTIVE)
For courageously depicting the struggles of a young woman in reconciling personal relationships with gender politics and cultural bias, by giving light into her inner life and emotional nakedness.

14. SPECIAL JURY RECOGNITION (Certificate only):
TATTINI (Moon is Bright Tonight) –  NEPAL
For its picturesque and encompassing view of societal tradition and norm, in a story of a woman’s continued fight for marital ownership, acceptance and respect.

SCREENING SCHEDULE – SAARC Film Festival 2019

2nd July 3rd July 4th July 5th July 6th July 7th July

10.00 am

Inauguration

11.30 am

Padmaavat*
Master Film/ 164 Mins/ India

2.45 pm

Bulbul
Feature/ 127 Mins/ Nepal

5.15 pm

A Quarter Mile Country
Short/ 30 Mins/ Bangladesh

6.15 pm

Motorcycle Girl
Feature Film/114 Mins/ Pakistan

9.00 am

Fhagun Haoya
Feature/ 101 Mins/ Bangladesh

 

11.00 am

Soul
Short Film/ 20 Mins/ Maldives

 

11.45 am

Load Wedding
Feature/ 136 Mins/ Pakistan

 

2.15 pm

A letter to the President
Feature/ 83 Mins/ Afghanistan

 

4.00 pm

The Remains
Short Film/ 16 Mins/ Nepal

 

4.20 pm

Na Bole wo Haram
Short Film/ 20 Mins/ India

 

5.00 pm

Komola Rocket
Feature/ 95 Mins/ Bangladesh

 

7.00 pm

Walking with the wind
Feature/ 79 Mins/ India

9.00 am

See You
Short Film/ 23 Mins/ Bangladesh

 

9.30 am

Prasad
Feature/ 138 Mins/ Nepal

 

12.00 pm

Tradition
Short/ 11 Mins/ Sri Lanka

 

12.30 pm

The Wind of Karma
Feature/ 67 Mins/ Bhutan

 

2.00 pm

Gohraalhu
Feature/ 90 Mins/ Maldives

 

4.00 pm

Nagarkirtan
Feature/ 120 Mins/ India

 

6.30 pm

Afghanistan Night Stories
Feature/ 120 Mins/ Afghanistan

10.00 – 12.00 pm

Masterclass

“Why do we need funding for independent cinema?”

@ Colombo Film and Television Academy
No 65/5, Ward Place, Colombo 7.

 

12.30 pm

Alpha*
Master Film/ 87 Mins/ Bangladesh

 

2.15 pm

The Image
Short Film/ 8 Mins/ Sri Lanka

 

2.45 pm

The Vested Astrologer
Feature/ 135 Mins/ Bhutan

 

5.15 pm

Row
Short Film/ 8 Mins/ Bhutan

 

5.30 pm

Burning Birds
Feature/ 84 Mins/ Sri Lanka

10.00 am

The Wind Beneath us
Feature/ 84 Mins/ Sri Lanka

 

12.00 pm

The Moon Is Bright Tonight
Short Film/ 15 Mins/ Nepal

 

12.30 pm

Monitor
Short Film/ 20 Mins/ India

 

1.00 pm

Single Mother
Short/ 20 Mins/ Afghanistan

 

1.30 pm

Chalay Thay Saath*
Master/ 120 Mins/ Pakistan

 

4.00 pm

Women of Pure Heart
Short Film/ 24 Mins/ Bhutan

 

4.45 pm

Salary
Short Film/ 25 Mins/ Afghanistan

 

5.30 pm

Palama Yata*
Master Film/ 132 Mins/ Sri Lanka

10.00 am

Hari*
Master Film/ 106 Mins/ Nepal

 

12.00 pm

Light Breeze*
Master Film/ 50 Mins/ Afghanistan

 

6.30 pm

SAARC Film Award Ceremony

 

7.00 pm

Screening of the Award
Winning Best Feature Film of the SAARC Film Festival 2019

* Non-competitive entries

– Some of the films screened may contain adult content, parental guidance advised

– Films and Timings subject to change without prior notice

Entrance Free

– No bags will be allowed inside the Film Hall and adjacent premises at any time during the entire duration of the SAARC Film Festival 2019

– All persons will be subject to security checks prior to entering the premises and will be required to carry identification

RESCHEDULED – SAARC Film Festival 2019

 

The SAARC Cultural Centre is delighted to announce…

 

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DATES AND VENUE

2nd July 2019
Inauguration Ceremony
@ The Cinema Hall, National Film Corporation, Sri Lanka

4th July 2019
Film Workshop
@ Colombo Film and Television Academy (Prior registration required)

7th July 2019
SAARC Film Awards and Closing Ceremony
@ The Cinema Hall, National Film Corporation, Sri Lanka

Further information will be available shortly at www.saarcculture.org

SAARC Film Festival 2019

1) INTRODUCTION

SAARC Cultural Centre will be holding the SAARC Film Festival for the 9th consecutive year in 2019 in Sri Lanka.  The SAARC Film Festival has built a reputation as being a very important platform and focal point for the promotion, celebration and enjoyment of some of the best films from the SAARC Region.  A reputed panel of international judges will select the best films and recognise the individuals who are at the very core of this creativity as a form of encouragement and respect to continue producing quality, thought provoking and representational films for the Region.

The SAARC Film Festival 2019 will focus on films created in South Asia and first screened after 1st May 2017.  Directors and artistes of these films will be invited to participate in the workshop, which is conducted to encourage and improve future productions.

Please send in nominations and benefit from the exposure this magnificent event will bring to the industry, artistes, vision and creativity of the directors and movie makers of each valued SAARC Member State.  Most importantly, be present as we showcase a very special part of culture and art within our varying and wonderfully diverse Member States.

As such, the SAARC Cultural Centre looks forward to receiving the valued nominations of Member States at the earliest convenience and no later than the deadlines specified below.  We warmly invite the Member States to join us, as we resume our journey in 2019 to bring South Asian film to the forefront of the international film world.

2) FILM CATEGORIES FOR NOMINATIONS

There will be three film categories open for nominations at the SAARC Film Festival 2019:

  1. Feature Films – Nominations for the Competitive Categories (Maximum of two nominations)
  2. Short Films – Nominations for the Competitive Category (Maximum of two nominations)
  3. Master Films – Non-Competitive Nomination (One Nomination)

3) SAARC FILM FESTIVAL RULES AND REGULATIONS (CATEGORY A & CATEGORY B)

  1. All Member States are invited to nominate Two (2) Feature Films (Fiction), and Two (2) Short Films (Fiction) for submission to the SAARC Film Festival 2019 competitive categories.
  2. The qualifying period of screening should be two years before May 2019- ie: any film released or screened after 01st May 2017 or films which haven’t been screened as yet.  This applies to both the Feature and Short Film categories.
  3. A Short Film is defined as a ‘Short Fictional Film’, for any duration UNDER 30 minutes. Documentary Films will not be considered in this category.
  4. As the aim of this SAARC Film Festival is to promote culture and embrace unity amidst the diversity of culture that is shared among the SAARC Member States, films nominated should aim to promote culture, foster friendship and cultural harmony between Member States and not showcase films that would in any way be prejudicial to another Member State.  Films that are prejudicial to another country, or that would highlight issues that would not be in keeping with the aim of promoting the Festival and fostering goodwill in the Region, will be disqualified.  The organisers reserve the right to view nominated films prior to the Festival, and disqualify any film that would go against the very objective of promoting peace and harmony through culture within the SAARC Region.
  5. The Feature films and Short films nominated will be eligible for the Awards detailed below.
  6. All nominated films must be in English or subtitled in English.  Any film submitted without English subtitles, will be disqualified.
  7. EACH Film Nomination must be accompanied by a fully completed Registration form, which is attached to this Concept Note.
  8. All nominated films from the Region will be judged by an international jury of film professionals, and their decision will be final.
  9. All expenses pertaining to sending the film in the required format – as detailed below, will have to be borne by the nominating Member State.
  10. For submission dates and deadlines, please refer Section 9 below.

4) MASTER FILMS

  1. Under this category we would be honoured to screen films from each SAARC Member State, made by master film makers of the Member State.  As such, each Member State is encouraged to nominate ONE film, nationally accepted as being a master work by a master film maker of that respective Member State.  This would give a broader spectrum to the Film Festival and allow the SAARC Cultural Centre to showcase the depth and value of the ‘classic’ whilst celebrating and encouraging the ‘contemporary’.  In turn it will create an environment which celebrates the wider spectrum of film making, showcasing quality that has endured through the ages and its invaluable contribution to life and culture, through the passage of time.
  2. For submission dates and deadlines, please refer Section 9 below.

5) DATES AND VENUE

Dates:  2nd – 7th July 2019, including the following:

  • 2nd July 2019:   Inauguration Ceremony
  • 5th July 2019:   Film Workshop
  • 7th July 2019: SAARC Film Awards and Closing Ceremony

Venue:  The Cinema Hall, National Film Corporation, Sri Lanka

6) SAARC FILM AWARDS 2019

The following 12 Awards will be presented at the SAARC Film Awards 2019 on the 7th July 2019, selected by a panel of jury members from non-SAARC Member States.  The decision of the panel will be final.

  1. Best Feature Film
  2. Best Director
  3. Best Actor
  4. Best Actress
  5. Best Short Film
  6. Best Screenplay
  7. Best Cinematographer
  8. Best Editor
  9. Best Sound Designer
  10. Best Original Score (Music Composer)
  11. Special Jury Award No 1
  12. Special Jury Award No 2

7) PARTICIPATION OF FILM DIRECTORS AND OTHER FILM ARTISTES

  1. The SAARC Cultural Centre invites nominations for the participation of Film Directors and other Artistes from the nominated films to be screened at the SAARC Film Festival 2019.  The Directors and other Artistes will participate in a workshop intended to promote interaction within the film community of the Region.  It will also serve as an educational and knowledge sharing opportunity for young film directors, film enthusiasts and film critiques.  They are also invited and encouraged to participate at the SAARC Film Awards Ceremony scheduled to take place on the 7th July 2019.
  2. Each Member State can nominate a maximum of 4 persons, including Film Directors and Film Artistes, to attend the Festival.
  3. As per SAARC Practice, airfare of the nominated Film Directors and all nominated Artistes must be borne by the nominating Member State.
  4. The Nominated Persons (up to a Maximum of 4) will be provided hotel accommodation, local hospitality and transport as per usual SAARC practice by the SAARC Cultural Centre.
  5. For submission dates and deadlines, please refer Section 9 below

8) OTHER TECHNICAL REQUIREMENTS

1. All films submitted for the Festival (Feature Films, Short Films and Master Films) should be submitted in DCP in 2K/4K (D Cinema) format or Blu – ray format and downloadable data format.

2. Downloadable data format specifications:

  1. Audio, video and subtitles must be contained in a single file and the file size should not exceed 10 GB.
  2. Please submit HD material in the MP4 format (H.264, AAC, Stereo).
  3. Please encode your video data with a constant bitrate and either 24, 25 or 30 progressive frames per second.
  4. The file name must not include any special characters or blank spaces. Please do not, for example, use any file names like “myfilm!@&%$§ *().mov”.
  5. To ensure a high technical quality, the following settings for file compression are suggested:
    • Size / aspect ratio  –  1920 x 1080 px / 16:9 HD
    • Video codec / min. bit rate  –  H.264 high profile 5.000 – 10.000 Kbit/s
    • Audio codec / min. bit rate  –  AAC / 320 Kbit/s sampling rate 48

If the film is available in a different file format or on DVD, a conversion to H.264 is recommended.  File conversion is offered by the software “HandBrake”, which is free of charge and available for all popular computer operating systems.

3. Please ensure that the films submitted are not defective, are in the required format as stated above in Section 8, and are individually labelled, including the running time of each film.

4. As the aim of the Festival is to promote culture, new trends and ideas, there are no restrictions on themes and topics subject to section 3 (IV) above.

5. All films will be subject to approval from the Sri Lankan Public Performance Board prior to screening at SAARC Film Festival 2019

6. Member States must deliver 3 COPIES (Public Performance Board, records and screening) of the final format to the SAARC Cultural Centre as detailed above in Section 8 for the Festival screening, NO LATER THAN 8th April 2019.

7. For publicity purposes, please include a standard Press Kit with the required information, giving special consideration to the following:

  1. 150-word synopsis of EACH film submitted for the Festival;
  2. 3 High resolution (300 dpi) images from each film;
  3. 1 Profile picture of the Director (300 dpi);
  4. Biography of the Director;
  5. Film trailers, clip reels, posters, post cards if available;
  6. Film Reviews – to be sent in together with the names of the nominated films.

8. In addition to the Registration form, please email the information stated above in Section 8 (7) NO LATER THAN 8th APRIL 2019 to:

9) DATES FOR SUBMISSION, DEADLINES & NOMINATION PROCESS

  1. Titles of the nominated Films in all Categories (Short, Feature and Master) along with their relevant details (as stated above in section No. 8) should be sent through the relevant ministry of the nominating Member State, via their Foreign/External Affairs Ministries, to the SAARC Secretariat Kathmandu, to reach the SAARC Cultural Centre in Colombo, no later than the 8th of April 2019.
  2. Names of the Film Personnel (up to a maximum of 4 Film Directors and/or Artistes) nominated to represent each SAARC Member State, should be sent through the relevant ministry concerned of the nominating Member State, via their Foreign/External Affairs Ministries, to the SAARC Secretariat Kathmandu, to reach the SAARC Cultural Centre in Colombo by the 8th of April 2019.
  3. 3 copies each of the Nominated Films in the specified format please refer section 8 and the relevant publicity material and press kits, should be sent through the relevant Ministry of the nominating Member State, via their Foreign/External Affairs Ministries, directly to the SAARC Cultural Centre, Sri Lanka as detailed in the attached Registration Form, to reach the SAARC Cultural Centre, no later than the 8th April 2019.

10) SCREENING OF FILMS AFTER THE FESTIVAL

The SAARC Cultural Centre wishes to contact the Directors/Producers of the Feature Films and Short Films to obtain permission to screen their films at appropriate official SAARC Cultural Centre events.  Please tick the appropriate box in the application form (attached) if the Directors/Producers are willing to be contacted for permission to screen their films. Films will only be screened with the prior written permission of the Directors/Producers of the films.

The Eighth SAARC Film Festival 2018 – Awards Ceremony

The Eighth SAARC Film Festival was concluded with the Eighth SAARC Film Awards Ceremony held at the National Film Corporation Film Theatre in Colombo, Sri Lanka on 27th May 2018. The Hon. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, Minister of Higher Education and Cultural Affairs graced this occasion as the Chief Guest. Mr. Munir Ghiasy of the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in Sri Lanka, Ms. Rajashree Behera of the Indian Cultural Centre representing the High Commission of India in Sri Lanka, Mr. Mohamed Faris Thaha the Executive Coordinator and Head of the National Centre for the Arts in Maldives, Ms. Fathimath Rifau of the Embassy of Maldives in Sri Lanka and Mr. Intisar Ahmad Sulehry of the Pakistan High Commission in Sri Lanka representing the SAARC Member States, Ms. Yasoja Gunasekara – Senior Director General of the SAARC Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Sri Lanka, Mr. Sitendra Senaratne – Chairman of the National Film Corporation, Ms. Uma Rajamantri – Chairperson of the Selacine Television Institute, Mr. M.D. Mahindapala – renowned Cinematographer and Film Educator, Mr. Ashely Ratnavibhushana – renowned film critic and film society activist, Ms. Han Sunhee of South Korea (Jury Member), Mr. Amable Tikoy Aguiluz of Philippines (Jury Member) and Mr. Christophe Henri of France (Jury Member) and Mr. Dhanushka Gunathilake – Consultant to the SAARC Film Festival participated as Guests of Honour at this occasion.

Mr. Tauquir Ahmed Director of Halda (Bangladesh), Mr. Morshedul Islam Director of Akhi and Her Friends (Bangladesh), Mr. Akram Khan Director of Khacha (Bangladesh), Mr. Manouj Kadaamh Director of Kshitij (India), Ms. Fathimath Nahula Director of 4426 (Maldives), Mr. Ali Shamin Director of Status (Maldives), Ms Mariyam Azza Actress of Hahdhu and 4426 (Maldives), Mr. Malaka Dewapriya Director of Bahuchithawadiya (Sri Lanka) and Mr. Prasanna Jayakody of 28 (Sri Lanka) represented the film cast and crew of the SAARC Member States.

During the Eighth SAARC Film Festival 26 Feature Films, Short Films and Master Films screened from the SAARC Member States from 22nd May 2018 to 27th May 2018.

The SAARC Film Award Winners are as follows:

Best Feature Film – Halda (Bangladesh)
(Tauquir Ahmed Director)

Citation
It addresses serious environmental issues of real day-to-day Bangladesh life, emphasizing the struggle of the people through cinematic language. It’s about sustainability of the life of the rural people.

Best Director – Prasanna Jayakody (Sri Lanka) for 28 (Twenty-Eight)

Citation
It’s basically a poignant storytelling about marginalized characters. The director captivates the audience through very clever cinematic storytelling, continuously surfing on the cutting edge of irony and humor.

Best Actor – Mahendra Perera (Sri Lanka) for 28 (Twenty-Eight)

Citation
For his depth, realism and sincere heart-felt portrayal of his character who gradually releases his emotion and connection to the corpse.

Best Actress – Vaishnavi Tangde (India) for Kshitij (The Horizon)
(Child Leading Actress from Kshitij who played Vacchi)

Citation
For her honest, innocent and realistic portrayal of a little girl who wants to rise above her situation.

Best Short Film – GI (India)
(Director Kunjila Mascillamani)

Citation
By the presentation of cinematic language, the director is able to tell her story about the girl’s sacrifice for her grandfather.

Best Screenplay – Prashant Pandey & Shreya Dev Verma (India) for Poorna

Citation
It’s a ‘triumph of the spirit’ story with compelling and accurate narration of true events that project the hardships of climbing Mt. Everest.

Best Cinematographer – Enamul Haque Sohel (Bangladesh) for Halda

Citation
For the light and shadow interplay of the lives and drama of the people in the river Halda.

Best Editing – Amit Debnath (Bangladesh) for Halda

Citation

For its fluid and balanced flow of the story.

Best Sound Design – Sasika Ruwan Marasinghe (Sri Lanka) for Bahuchithawadiya (The Undecided)

Citation
It accurately reproduced the sounds of the environment and locations of present day Sri Lanka.

Best Original Score – Tauquir Ahmed, Pinto Ghosh, Sanzida Mahmood Nandita (Bangladesh) for Halda

Citation
For its beautiful conversion of traditional Bangladesh music into contemporary flavor.

Special Jury Award – Malaka Devapriya (Sri Lanka) for Bahuchithawadiya (The Undecided)

Citation
It is a daring movie that pushes the cultural boundaries of the traditional Sri Lankan values, in a humorous and accurate way.

Special Jury Award – Manouj Kadaamh (India) for Kshitij (The Horizon)

Citation
For its sincere and relevant portrayal of the need for education of the youths in India, especially young girls.