The picturesque hill station of Shimla came alive with the glitz and glamour of the silver screen as the International Film Festival of Shimla (IFFS) celebrated its grand award ceremony. The event, chaired by the Hon’ble Governor of Himachal Pradesh, Shri Shiv Pratap Shukla, showcased outstanding cinematic achievements from around the world.
The highlight of the festival was the prestigious awards ceremony, where the best of the best were recognized and celebrated. Eminent film directors and producers were present, adding to the grandeur of the evening.
Governor Shiv Pratap Shukla, who graced the event as the chief guest, commended the filmmakers for their dedication to the craft and their ability to tell compelling stories. He emphasized the power of cinema in promoting cultural exchange and understanding among nations.
In his address, Governor of Himachal Pradesh expressed his enthusiasm for the festival and emphasized the importance of cinema as a medium of cultural exchange. He said, “The International Film Festival of Shimla has become a regular feature for our state, fostering a deeper connection between Himachal Pradesh and the global film community. Through the power of cinema, we share our culture, values, and stories with the world.”
The International Film Festival of Shimla, in its 9th edition, has always been a platform that bridges cultures through the art of cinema. This year was no exception, as the festival screened a diverse array of films that captivated audiences and jurors alike.
The festival, which took place from 22 to 24 September 2023 featured a remarkable selection of films across various categories, from thought-provoking documentaries to compelling narratives. Filmmakers, actors, and cinephiles from all corners of the globe descended upon Shimla to witness this cinematic extravaganza.
Festival Director further added that likewise, its previous editions International Film Festival of Shimla has an unusual screening of its 9th edition at Model Central Jail Kanda and Nahan. There is one more screen in Institute for children with special Abilities Dhalli for special children where 130 students see films in their campus
The festival is featured with a diverse selection of films from 20 countries and 24 states, including shorts, documentaries, and feature films, offering a captivating array of cinematic experiences to the audience. This year 38 International category,62 National and 5 films in State category has been officially selected for the competition. In International category filmmakers from United states of America, Belgium, Iran, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Turkey, Nepal, Egypt, Bangladesh, Italy, Poland, Argentina, Sweden, Afghanistan, Australia, France and Dubai are participating. While twenty-one states are participating from India viz., Kerala, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Manipur, Assam, Delhi, Punjab, West Bengal, Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Orissa, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Karnataka and Himachal Pradesh. Gaiety Theatre, an iconic heritage venue nestled in the heart of Shimla, is an ideal backdrop for this cinematic extravaganza. Its historic charm combined with state-of-the-art screening facilities will provide a unique and immersive experience for festival attendees.
Notable awards presented during the ceremony included:
1 Best Feature Film: Nargesi
Director: Payam Eskandari
2 Festival Mention Feature Film: For The Sake Of Ava
Director: Mohsen Seraji
Producer: Faranak Foroutan
1) Best Short Film: Roya
Director: Mohammad Reza Mohammadi
2) Festival Mention Short Film: Naree
Director: Mohammad Arafatur Rahman
Country: Dhaka, Bangladesh
3) Festival Mention Short Film: NELUMBO
Director: Abbas Khademalrasoul, Iran
1) Best Documentary: Seven Thousand Souls
Director: Sanjin Miric
Country: Czech Republic
1) Best Animation Film: On / Off
Director: Nicolas P. Villarreal
1) Best Feature Film: Akashathinu Thazhe
Director: Lijeesh Mullezhathu
FROM: Kochi, Kerala, India
2) Festival Mention Feature Film: DAHINI – THE WITCH
Director: RAJESH TOUCHRIVER
FROM: Hyderabad, India
3) Festival Mention Feature Film: Beyond the 7 Seas
Director: Pratheesh Uthaman & Dr Smily Titus
FROM: Kochi, Kerala, India
4) Festival Mention Feature Film: Vindhya Victim Verdict V3
Director: AMUDHAVANAN P
FROM: Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu
Best Short Film: Ekaki
Director: Rupam Jyoti Malakar
FROM: Guwahati, Assam, India
Festival Mention Short Film: LIB: Life is Beautiful
Director: Baijuraj Chekavar
FROM: Kozhikodu, Kerala
Festival Mention Short Film: Pratibada
Director: Jitendriya Pradhan
FROM: Bhubaneswar, Odisha
Best Documentary: FATIMA
Director: Sourabh Kanti Dutta
From: Kolkata, West Bengal
Festival Mention Documentary Film: SHAKILA – The Collage of Struggle
Director: Subhasis Chakraborty
FROM: Kolkata, West Bengal
Best Music Video: Chiya Bare Bare
Director: Gul Riyaz, Srinagar
Best Short Film- What are you Searching
Director: Princy Pal
Festival Mention Short Film: SAAS
Director: Rajneesh Chauhan
The jury panel, comprised of film critic and veteran filmmakers, had the challenging task of selecting the winners from the outstanding submissions. Their dedication to maintaining the integrity of the awards was evident in the quality of the films recognized. National award winning filmmaker Farah Khatun from West Bengal, National Award winning filmmaker Pampally from Kerala, Award winning filmmaker and writer from kerala Rajesh James and Shriniwas Joshi, ret IAS from Shimla, Sarvchetan Katoch, Associate Professor of English literature and writer of books on Cinema , former fellow of IIAS, Shimla was among the eminent juries.
The success of the festival was made possible through the collaborative efforts of the organizing committee, sponsors, volunteers, and the enthusiastic audience. Their passion for cinema and their commitment to promoting art and culture were instrumental in making this event a resounding success.
Festival Director Pushp Raj Thakur said that screening in Jail and in Institute for children with special Abilities Dhalli is an opportunity to bring the magic of cinema to unexpected places and engage with audiences in a meaningful way. They truly deserve opportunities to explore outside world and there is no better way than cinema that can show various glimpses of contemporary society, creative elements of existing lives of people and it can make the inmates revamp their own sense of learning and creativity.
Festival Director, IFFS, expressed his excitement about this year’s festival, stating, “The Three Days International Film Festival of Shimla has always been a prestigious event on the cultural calendar, celebrating the art of cinema from both India and abroad.
In three days long IFFS cinephiles, filmmakers, and enthusiasts had the opportunity to engage in Q&A sessions with directors, attend panel discussions, and participate in workshops aimed at nurturing the next generation of filmmakers. From thought-provoking documentaries to heartwarming narratives, the festival’s lineup boasts a curated selection of films that promise to entertain, inspire, and challenge perspectives. Attendees can also look forward to engaging panel discussions, workshops, and networking opportunities that provide insights into the art and craft of filmmaking.
As the curtains drew to a close on this year’s International Film Festival of Shimla, it left a lasting impact on both the local community and the global filmmakers. The festival will continue to be a beacon of cinematic excellence and cultural exchange in the years to come.
The Three Days International Film Festival of Shimla is an annual event organised by Himalayan velocity in association with Ministry of Information and broadcasting and Language Art and Culture deptt of GoHP, that celebrates the art of cinema from around the world. It provides a platform for independent filmmakers to showcase their work and engage with a diverse audience. The festival aims to promote cultural exchange and inclusivity through the medium of film.
To know more detail about 9th International Film Festival of Shimla you can log on to our website www.iffs.in