BIFFes to be held in April first week

As of now, there is no plan to screen films online or increase the number of venues

The 13th edition of Bengaluru International Film Festival (BIFFes) will be held in the first week of April, Karnataka Chalanachitra Academy has announced.

The event has been delayed this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Given that the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has eased restrictions on occupancy in film theatres from February 1, the festival will be held at Orion Mall in Rajajinagar, like the previous editions, said Sunil Puranik, President of the Academy.

Following the pandemic, most of the film festivals across the world have gone hybrid – screening films both in theatres and online, even as films are screened at multiple venues to distribute the audience.

However, as of now, BIFFes doesn’t plan to either screen films online or increase the number of venues, but a final call will be taken based on how full occupancy at theatres will pan out over the next two months.

“COVID-19 seems to be behind us. The case load is low and the vaccination drive has begun. So we have decided to hold the festival like the previous years, following all COVID-19 safety norms prescribed by the government,” Mr. Puranik said.

The executive committee will meet and take a call on multiple venues and online screening soon, he added.

“Theatres will start functioning to their full capacity from February 1, giving us almost two months to evaluate whether they do turn out to be spreaders of the virus. Even if they are not, we will know how people respond. Based on the situation, we will decide whether to go for the hybrid model and opt for multiple venues in mid-March,” said N. Vidyashankar, artistic director, BIFFes.

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B. Suresha, president, Suchitra Film Society, said they would offer their premises in south Bengaluru for screening films, which may help senior citizens avoid large crowds.

Meanwhile, BIFFes has called for films for Kannada, Indian and Asian competition sections with a deadline of February 8. “We have two months to organise the festival this year. Work on curating films has begun in earnest,” Mr. Vidyashankar said.

Amrutamati bags award

Dr. Baraguru Ramachandrappa’s directorial Amrutamati, a reinterpretation of the 13th century Jain poem Yashodhara Charite, starring Haripriya and Kishore, has bagged the best foreign language film award at the Atlanta International Film Festival. The film has been screened at six international films festivals till date. It had won the Best Actor award at the Noida International Film Festival last year for Haripriya, who plays the titular role of Amrutamati. The film is all set to hit the screens in March, Dr. Ramachandrappa said.

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Sagar Biswas

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