Ongoing Ahmedabad International Children’s Film Festival promises quality fare

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An overview of the various international films to be screened at the Ahmedabad International Children’s Film Festival (AICFF), December 24-29, 2022, at Ahmedabad Management Association (AMA) Premises. Photo: Courtesy AICFF Founder Chetan Chauhan

Ahmedabad International Children Film Festival (AICFF) will host its first in-person film festival after the pandemic lock-downs this year. The annual event being held this year December 24 through 29, 2022 at the Ahmedabad Management Association (AMA) at Dr. Vikram Sarabhai Marg, University Area, Ahmedabad, promises acclaimed films.

This year’s opening night film, ‘Chhello Show’, ‘The Last Show’ has been India’s official entry at the Oscars. The film and its child actors have won much critical acclaim. Other films will be screened December 26 through December 29th daily from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm.

Founder and Organizer Chetan Chauhan, has newspaper experience at the Times of India (TOI)  and Midday Newspapers, and experience in organizing film festivals for the papers, he told News India Times in an interview. Born and brought up in Ahmedabad, he wanted to do something in the field of media when he relocated to Ahmedabad. He has his own public relations agency in Ahemdabad.

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Chauhan said he wanted to do something in Children’s films and founded AICFF when the Children’s Film Society became part of the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC), resulting in not much being done specifically in the area of children’s films. India’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting recently merged several film bodies with the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) with a budgetary allocation of Rs. 1,304.52 crore up to the year 2026.

“Films are a reflection of life, and they should also relate to each and every child in even rural areas who will not be able to travel to different areas and experience its culture and lifestyle,” Chauhan said. Wanting to bring the world to India’s children, Chauhan finalized his resolve to create a platform for children’s film which he created in 2018.

AICFF has National Film Award winning director Manish Saini as the Festival Director. Its Jury Members Aarti Patel and Girish Makwana also are from the film background. Patel is an actor, writer, Radio jockey and producer known for her work in Gujarati cinema and television, Chauhan said. Makwana is a filmmaker, writer, musician, producer, and composer based in Australia. All of them have strong interest in children’s films, Chauhan said, who oversees the entire organizing of the festival.

The in-person AICFF was successful the first year in 2018, having 90 international film entries. The annual AICFF, held every December, was virtually held the following three years after that, with going back to being in-person this year.

Chauhan informed that AMA President Deevyesh Radia helped coordinate the venue for this year’s festival. “This year, the AMA has graciously donated the screening space on their premises,” Chauhan said, adding viewers can register on the AMA site for seats at the screening. He said he believes in not having children pay for the films and so entry is free for children and accompanying adults. AMA is a noted national educational organization with affiliations to many U.S. universities.

The AICFF has, in the past 3 years, had close to 500 entries from various countries. Many of the entries in the past have been from Iran, with 10 entries this year, while India has sent 9 entries, Chauhan said. Entries from 19 countries this year, include films from Iran, United States, Brazil, Poland, Turkey, Singapore, Canada, Spain, Slovakia, Russia, Portugal, Norway, Morocco, Italy, Ireland, Bangladesh, Czechoslovakia, Chile and India.

The awards for this year’s films would be for the Best Film in the general categories of Feature Film, Short Film, Documentary Film, Animation Film, Student Film. Awards in other categories would include Best Director for Feature Film, Short Film, Documentary Film, and Best Actor, Best Child Actor, Best Story, Best Background Musical Score, and Special Recognition Golden Kite Award, Silver Kite Award & Bronze Kite Award.

That an international children’s film festival is being held in Ahmedabad is commendable, especially as the Gujarati Film Industry has only now evolved into a serious industry with notable films. However, AICFF has not received its due attention and support in its own state or nationwide. Chauhan said he has been working with his own capital.

“Filmmakers in other countries are really looking to us as a good platform,” Chauhan said. The films at the festivals are really remarkable as educational means and art works. But, his efforts of trying to get donors or sponsors have not been very successful, Chauhan said. AICFF would welcome sponsorships and donations from anywhere to make the festival a bigger and wider event, Chauhan said.

A trailer of this year’s festival entries can be watched on YouTube at https://youtu.be/6xCj7ZImUNE . And free tickets can be booked on phone at +917926308601 to 05.

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