Somendra Harsh, founder, CEO and director of Rajasthan International Film Festival (RIFF), launched RIFF a year ago. The second edition of RIFF will be held from 17 to 20 Jan,2016. Rajasthan Post’s Iram Tasleem in conversation with Somendra Harsh who says RIFF will see academic sessions, workshops by renowned experts, discussions, talks, debates, seminars, and research papers related to films.
1.What is your objective behind organising Rajasthan International Film Festival RIFF?
We started RIFF last year. We wanted to do an international film festival in Jaipur, which not only has glamour but also has an academic feel to it, so that students who are interested in film industry can get the opportunity to learn various aspects of film industry from eminent personalities. We also want to a provide a platform to the young generation to showcase their creativity.
2. How successful have you been so far?
We want to encourage participation of youth in film arena. It is also an attempt to promote world cinema amongst the common public by conducting various seminars, debates and discussions. We have also been trying to seek support from the government, business leaders, local organisations, media and distinguished scholars, eminent artists in different aspects of the film industry. And when so many proficient people are coming together, it will definitely yield qualitative output.
3. Who all are coming for RIFF 2016 ?
Many famous personalities are coming like director Prakash Jha, musician Bappi Lahiri, actors Om Puri, Anant Mahadevan, Raghuveer Yadav, Tinu Anand, Anup Jalota, Rekha Rana and Raina Basnet etc. Also the special guest is actress, TV hostess, and singer Selena Du, who is the first Asian American to win the Miss Intercontinental, United States.
4. What should audience look out for in RIFF 2016 ?
There will be concerts, fashion show, gala events, film parties, seminars and workshops etc. Workshops for young people on photography and digital film making, Make-up techniques for television and films and animation etc. Besides we got entries of around 450 films from which we have selected around 56 films for screening. So people can look forward to watching best films of different genres and even those films which are censored. This is because in film festivals, censored films are not banned. Like “How to steal a dog” is a beautiful Korean movie which will be screened in fest. So it will be basically a mix of entertainment, fun and academic experience.
5. How is RIFF different from the recently held Jaipur International Film Festival (JIFF) ?
I don’t know exactly about JIFF but they certainly started five-six years before we had initiated RIFF. Our RIFF is a new born baby.
6. All kinds of films like Offbeat, Hollywood, Bollywood and regional films seem to be on your catalogue. Tell us about the films ?
We have selected films in different categories like short film, documentary, international animation films, Hindi feature film and international feature films etc.Some of the remarkable films like MSG-2, Masaan, Ankhon Dekhi and Save the Girl Child will be the highlights of the RIFF, 2016.
7. Why you have chosen the theme of RIFF 2016 – ”Cinema: Village Vs Global Village”? What is concept behind this theme ?
It is based on the concept that people in earlier times lived very simple lives based on available resources and shared compassionate relationship with each other but now in the midst scientific advancements, the real concerns of the society seem to have been lost. And people keep trying to search the lost individualities, social surroundings and personas in the globalised world. The whole humanity will come to know that in the midst of hustle-bustle of life, too much is left out and remains untouched.
8. Tell us about the main awards of the event ?
The major awards will be Lifetime Achievement award, Theme Award and Pride of Rajasthan Award along with many awards in various categories of films and in other events.
9. How do you rate Rajasthani cinema ?
Last time we had received 12 Rajasthani films but this year only five-six Rajasthani films. We are promoting other regional cinema but unfortunately Rajasthani film industry is in a pathetic state.