Sikkim journeying towards the silver screen; all set to host Global Cinema Festival 2020

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Cinema in contemporary times has seemingly become the most popular and the cheapest means of entertainment after smartphones with data connections. It provides leisure for all kinds of people in all types of demographics, from hard-working labourers looking for some leisure time to youngsters looking for a good time, cinema provides a means of escape from reality and catharsis from all of the people’s troubles.

Apart from providing entertainment and amusement, cinema can also be educative by portraying tales of action, adventures, science fiction and fact, biopics of great people, as well as of successful men and women in different facets of life; cinema provides a taste of every field of life, films can undoubtedly enlighten people who can resonate with what the films portray. In society the moral impact of films can’t go unnoticed. Indian movies like Border, Bombay, Lagaan, Bhagat Singh, etc., have contributed to the growth of national fervour. Movies that advocate intellectual engagement rather than gaudy aesthetics and vulgar portrayal of beauty have been seen to impact thought processes of masses.

 The Indian film industry is the biggest movie producing industry in the world, producing about 1600 movies that are released every year; it is also among the highest revenue-generating film industry of the world. Indian cinema is a global enterprise. Its films have a following throughout Southern Asia and across Europe, North America, Asia, the Greater Middle East, Eastern Africa, China and elsewhere, reaching in over 90 countries. Biopics including Dangal became transnational blockbusters grossing over $300 million worldwide. Millions of Indians overseas watch Indian films, accounting for some 12% of revenues. Music rights alone account for 4–5% of net revenues. Global enterprises such as Universal Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Sony Pictures, Walt Disney Pictures and Warner Bros. invested in the industry along with Indian enterprises such as AVM Productions, Prasad’s Group, Sun Pictures, PVP Cinemas, Zee, UTV, Suresh Productions, Eros International, Ayngaran International, Pyramid Saimira, Aascar Films and Adlabs. By 2003 as many as 30-film production companies had been listed in the National Stock Exchange of India (NSE). 

Coming home to Sikkim, there’s not a lack of talent with a multitude of artists ranging from acting, directing, screenwriting, producing, to post-producing, the state has a promising future ahead but because of the scattered houses that engage in film-making, Sikkim has been slow in its strides towards greatness in the near future. Sikkim has heard a lot of grievances regarding lesser opportunities and rare to nobodies that govern entertainment industries. Breaking that wall on the cinema front is The Film Association of Sikkim, which is an ad-hoc body with Miss Mandira Chettri as the President along with the executive body; General Secretary: Aditya Cintury, Assistant Treasurer: Leewang Ghising, Treasurer: Tribeny Rai, Joint Secretary: Bhavesh Pradhan and Deepak Dhakal, Publicity Secretary: Karma Samten, Assistant Publicity Secretary: Samridh Rai, Publicity Secretary: Chitish Chettri and Executive Member: Shisir Ghatani. 

“This is an ad-hoc body right now since our registration hasn’t been completed yet but we wanted to bring together all the people from the filmmaking field in Sikkim and bring them under one umbrella so we can have a concrete body that can govern the industry and bring legitimate artists in creation.” Mandira shares.

The body has also held a meeting in order to clear out some agendas on their social media which goes, 

 1) All the executive members agreed on the need for an “Artist body” within the film association.

 2) Formulating a data-base for the Artist (a recorded performance) for audition purpose which could be later used as the Artists portfolio (who haven’t worked in any project thus this is to promote the upcoming artists)

 3) The need for a proper Memorandum for this formed Association

 4) Issues such as how to devise an effective marketing strategy for the content, the re-election of the executive body after legally registering the association

 5) Inclusiveness of all the Filmmakers and Artists of Sikkim by reaching out to them (by conducting workshops in those places) in all the four districts of Sikkim

 6) The first draft of the Associations Aims and Objectives were also put forth before the Executive body.

 7) Finalized that the meeting of the Executive body is to be held every once in a week.

Sikkim Chronicle/ET Chronicle had held an exclusive conversation about Global Cinema Festival Sikkim 2020 with its Event Manager Pragya Satpathy, Screen Writer Adarsh Rai, and Actor Lakpa Lepcha. The discourse held had opened doors to a conversation about what Global Cinema Festival was and how it was all set to build avenues for artists of all facets in the field of entertainment.

 The Global Cinema Festival is being organised by Film Federation of India along with Government of Sikkim and Sikkim Film Cooperative Society Limited that is a registered body which stepped in since the Film Association of Sikkim is still an ad-hoc body. 

The announcement of this festival that will be held from February 28th through March 1st was also made in Mumbai in the presence of Sakshi Mehra (exhibitor), Firdausul Hasan (president of FFI), Ravi Kottarakara (general secretary of FFI), Kiran Shantaram (Filmmaker), Namrata Thapa (secretary IPR Government of Sikkim) and Rahul Banerjee (Sikkim Film Cooperative Society). 

“The Film Federation of India decided last year that we would organize film festivals in tier 2 and tier 3 cities to promote films in smaller towns. Last year we did the festival in Siliguri [in West Bengal] and this year we are organizing it in Sikkim.” FFI President Hasan said, talking about the festival.

 “Sikkim has given many talents to the industry like Danny Denzongpa and Geetanjali Thapa. Sikkim is a state where nature smiles. Films are a very strong medium and through this platform and through films shot in Sikkim, we can make our presence felt in the rest of the country and globally.” Secretary Thapa shared.

The festival will open with Adil Hussain-starrer Every 68 Minutes directed by Anindita Sarbadhikari. Over three days, 20 feature films (national and international) will be screened along with documentaries, shorts, animation, and experimental videos. Azerbaijan will be the country in focus at the film festival.

During the course of the festival, FFI together with Media and Entertainment Skill Council (MESC) and Peerless Skill Academy will organise a special media and entertainment-related RPL drive for practitioners in Sikkim. In addition, there will be Master Classes and other locally produced cultural events.

Veterans of the Hindi film industry like actor Randhir Kapoor, director Rahul Rawail, and cinematographer Binod Pradhan will attend the festival. Binod Pradhan will be honoured with ‘Outstanding Achievement Award’ for his significant contribution to Indian cinema.

 In the light of this event and also with the formation of bodies like Film Association of Sikkim and Sikkim Film Cooperative Society, there is an Industry of Opportunities hovering above Sikkimese skies, all our artists need to do now is spread their artistic wings and soar to grab the opportunities. 

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