By Renuka Dhakal, Kathmandu, May 8: The fourth edition of the Nepal International Film Festival (NIFF) began on Thursday with the slogan ‘Festival of World Stories’.
The festival is being organised with the objective of introducing Nepali films and filmmakers to the international arena and spreading Nepali art, culture and tourism all over the world through films.
However, this year, the festival is being held online because of COVID-19.
Speaking on the opening ceremony, Chairman of the Film Development Board Dayaram Dahal expressed his confidence that the film festival would help maintain close ties among different countries. He said that the festivals like NIFF could play an important role in internationalising Nepali films.
He said that the Development Board was in a process of implementing a story bank and a preparation for a story bank is underway. He said that the government was also ready to help the filmmakers.
Speaking as a special guest, Member of National Planning Commission Dr. Ram Kumar Phunyal expressed his commitment to promoting Nepali art, culture and tourism in the world through international film festivals like NIFF and creating more jobs in the country.
Bollywood producer and director Anurag Kashyap said that he had visited Nepal many times and was impressed by the snow chains of Nepal. He also said that he has a plan to shoot a film in Nepal soon.
Stating that he has watched Nepali films “Seto Surya” (White Sun) directed by Deepak Rauniyar and “Kalo Pothi” (The Black Hen) directed by Min Bahadur Bham.
When asked if he was interested to shoot films in Nepal, he said, “Of course. I came to Nepal many years ago. My inner desire is to reach the base camp of Mt. Everest. I also have a film subject matter, the story of a shepherd at a high altitude. I will do it soon.”
On the second day of the NIFF, there was an interaction between politicians on the title “How politicians see cinemas”.
Politicians including Bijaya Subba, leader of the UML, Gururaj Ghimire of the Nepali Congress, Satya Pahadi of the CPN Maoist Centre, and Ganga Narayan Shrestha of the Janata Samajwadi party discussed Nepali film industry, its weaknesses, challenges and possibilities.
The politicians opined that cinema is the mirror of society and it will make a great contribution to the social, economic, cultural and geographical diversities of the country through the medium of art and expression.
They said that Nepali cinema should contribute to the development of the country by focusing on issues that affect society, not just only focusing on entertainment.
They said that the story of Nepali cinema is very weak and the Nepali filmmakers should follow the transformative trend of cinema and should focus on the subject matter which reflects Nepali soil and originality.
They said that the cinema sector is in the difficult situation due to COVID-19 pandemic and the state should introduce special programmes to promote the cinema sector in the time of difficulties.
The festival that began with film screenings and debates on Nepali cinema on Friday will end on Monday.