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Top 5 Indian Film Festivals That You Should Bookmark

As the harsh summers calm their tempers and moody monsoons turn a page, the cooler temperatures beckon travelers from across the globe to pack their bags and make their way to Incredible India. With the richness of cultural diversity on offer, one lifetime is not enough to discover and marvel at what this dynamic land has to offer. From music to art to cinema to literature, India is soon becoming the hotbed for cultural innovation and engagement.

To us, cinema is the gorgeous window through which a slice of life is served. With the upcoming months providing a rich climate for all things artistic and cultural to bloom, film festivals facilitate the exchange of ideas by offering a peek into the lives of others.

So if you are:

  1. A movie enthusiast
  2. Travelling to any of the following cities
  3. Keen to learn about new cultures
  4. All of the above

head to these international film festivals, which not only bring foreign cultures home, but also celebrate contemporary regional cinema in local dialects. Bookmark these in your diaries!


International Film Festival of India, Goa (20-28 November, 2017)

In its 48th year, IFFI is the oldest film festival of the country. Hosted in the sun and sands of Goa, this festival is a delightful addition to any cinephile’s itinerary who is breathlessly looking forward to escape the chilly Delhi winter (or, umm, smog). Opening this year’s festival is celebrated Iranian filmmaker Majid Majidi’s Beyond the Clouds. The follow up includes India’s official entry to the Oscars this year, Amit V Masurkar’s Newton; Manusangada, a wonderful Tamil film on caste based violence by Amshan Kumar; seven BRICS Award-winning films; and several restored classics of world cinema. To shake, but not stir things up, this year’s IFFI will also showcase a retrospective of nine Bond films to celebrate 50 years of 007, cinema’s most iconic spy.


Delhi International Film Festival, New Delhi (4-9 December, 2017)

With Delhi becoming an increasingly indispensable part of many screenplays, it seems right for a film festival to be conceptualised in the capital to mark a century of filmmaking in India. Fun fact: It also coincides with Delhi completing 100 years as the National Capital. The 6th edition of DIFF aims to offer an eclectic mix of everything that #OurCity celebrates: films, art, music, and poetry.  A myriad range as variegated as the people of Delhi, thus spoiling us for choice. This year’s special focus is on Arab cinema, culture and heritage. 20 films will zoom in on issues of peace, women, children, and the war against terrorism. The festival will also showcase films from Northeast India and from our neighbouring countries.


Image:; Still from Malila: The Farewell Flower

International Film Festival of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram (8-15 December, 2017)

Conducted by the Kerala State Chalachitra Academy (Motion Picture Academy of the Kerala State), IFFK boasts of a competitive segment with films from Asia, Africa and Latin America. With a mission to recognise the role of cinema in shaping and enlightening the society, the line-up is as spectacular as the backwaters of God’s Own Country. From Nila Madhab Panda’s Dark Wind, which is an account of farmer suicides in India in the face of mounting debts and irreversible climate change; to Anucha Boonyawatana’s Malila: The Farewell Flower from Thailand, which entwines homosexual love with Buddhist philosophy; and the Iranian feature White Bridge, directed by Ali Ghavitan, about a young girl’s refusal to go to special school after an accident renders her physically disabled. The winner in the international segment bags the Golden Crow Pheasant Award with a cash prize of INR 15 lakhs.


Chennai International Film Festival, Chennai (14-21 December, 2017)

CIFF kicked off in 2003 by the Indo Cine Appreciation Foundation (ICAF) to promote parallel and non-commercial films in Chennai. The country in focus this year is South Korea, with award-winning films slated to be screened throughout the week-long affair. In additional segments, CIFF has curated eight films to represent contemporary German cinema, and the films of Thomas Arslan, whose Bright Nights premiered at the Berlin Film Festival in early 2017.


Image:; Thomas Arslan

Pune International Film Festival, Pune (11-18 January, 2018)

Pune’s might and significance in the field of cinema cannot be emphasised enough. The city is home to the famed Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) that boasts of an illustrious alumnus of imminent filmmakers, actors, and technicians in the country. It is also the custodian of over a century’s worth of cinematic treasure – the National Film Archive of India. With two institutions already establishing Pune on the celluloid map, a curated film festival is certainly the icing on the cake. Organised by the Pune Film Foundation, in collaboration with the Government of Maharashtra, PIFF not only brings together a motley crowd with a shared love for films, but also provides a platform for engaging discussions, exchange of cultural ideas, and workshops.


See you at the movies!


Feature Image Courtesy: