By A Staff Reporter Kathmandu, Feb. 22: Nepal International Film Festival (NIFF), which opened its call for entries back in July 2020, received over 450 films from 52 countries despite the restrictions caused by the global pandemic. “We would like to thank all the applicants and participants for submitting their films for NIFF 2021 in the midst of the global health crisis,” said Festival chair, K.P. Pathak. Although several film projects have come to a grinding halt following the virus outbreak, Pathak expressed his enthusiasm over the growing band of indie films, which ramped up during the pandemic. Previously scheduled from February 24-28 2021, NIFF postponed screening until May 2021. Likewise, the festival had to reshuffle the dates for disclosing this year’s film lineup, which was scheduled for last November 2020. After a delay of over three months, the festival committee has finally released its lineup for the year. According to NIFF’s media coordinator Pradip Karki, 63 films from 31 countries comprising of feature films, documentary films, and short films have been shortlisted for screening this year. “The selection was performed by our six-panel Selection Committee Members, adhering to a strict 10-part marking system,” he added. Apart from the change in timing, the fourth installment will follow a structure similar to that of the previous iterations. “The film screening segment at NIFF 2021 involves six programmes, namely Feature Film Competition (International), Live Action Short Films (International), Animated Short Films (International), Documentary Competition, Feature Film Competition (National), and Short Film Competition (National),” informed Chair Pathak. All film programmes will screen films of various genres, and the best films under each programme will be awarded. The highest award being the Gautama Buddha Award for the Best Feature Film (International) involving a trophy and a cash prize of US$ 1500. In addition to this, NIFF 2021 will also be hosting the ‘Pandemic Film Exhibit’, where stories dealing with the COVID-19 will be portrayed across different genres from screen shorts to documentaries, and the best film in this category will be awarded US$ 500 and a trophy. NIFF Forum at NIFF 2021 will also involve sessions such as masterclasses, workshops, panel discussions, and storytelling sessions. “NIFF Forum aims to gather people from the entire national film and art sectors and act as an incubator for upcoming filmmakers,” said Pathak. A list of selected films has been provided on the NIFF website.