"This is a People's festival," says Basant Rathore, senior VP, Jagran Prakashan on JFF

By Deepashree Banerjee , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Media Publishing
Published : August 01, 2018 05:18 AM
What started on 29th June in Delhi, the Ninth Jagran Film Festival has received over 3500 entries from about 112 countries, covering over 50 languages. The next leg of the festival will take place on August 3-5 in Jamshedpur and Ranchi.

The initial five-day cinematic extravaganza of the Ninth Jagran Film Festival began on June 29 in Delhi. It was inaugurated by union minister for law and justice Ravi Shankar Prasad, actress Tabu and festival director Mayank Shekhar.

The next leg of the festival will take place on August 3-5 in Jamshedpur and Ranchi.

We spoke with Basant Rathore, senior VP - strategy, brand and business development, Jagran Prakashan, about how the Jagran Film Festival, in its ninth edition, focuses on bridging the growing chasm between the metro cities and small-town India, when it comes to cinema.

The Philosophy behind it all:

Basant Rathore Basant Rathore

Rathore believes that while the themes are increasingly more heartland driven, good cinema has remained the exclusive preserve of metro audiences. "The 'underprivileged' cinema-viewers of small towns were stereotyped as naive, low-brow, non-premium, and rustic. As a result, great cinema eluded 500+ million Indians living in the small towns where Dainik Jagran was read," he explains adding that the reason behind starting the Festival was to help bridge the gap and take some of this great cinema to audiences across the Tier-2 and 3 markets in India. "This is a 'People's festival' that travels through 18 cities across 10 states," Rathore emphasises.

Unlike other festivals, which are largely trade-driven and usually organised for 10-12 days, post the initial five-day event held in Delhi, the Festival will continue for about 50 days.

The 2018 edition of the Festival will connect 18 cities and showcase over 200 films. It will tour through Indian cities like Kanpur, Lucknow, Allahabad, Varanasi, Patna, Dehradun, Ranchi, Jamshedpur, Bhopal, Indore, Gorakhpur, Agra, Ludhiana, Hissar, Meerut, and Raipur before concluding in Mumbai in September.

"We organise over 400 screenings to an audience of approximately 50,000. We conduct numerous workshops on various aspects of filmmaking - be it script writing, casting, cinematography, acting etc. There are several Masterclasses held by experts. More importantly, through Dainik Jagran, we're able to amplify these conversations at scale to our vast reader-base and prepare audiences to accept and appreciate world-class cinema," Rathore elaborates.

This year, the Festival has received over 3500 entries from about 112 countries covering over 50 languages. "There's a preview panel that scans through these before we arrive at a final list of films for the competition, in different categories," he shares.

The categories:

The categories across which the Festival authorities screen films are - International Competition, Indian Competition, International Shorts, Indian Shorts, Homage (Shashi Kapoor, Sridevi, Kundan Shah), Retrospective (Tabu), Feature Documentaries, Cinema of the Sellers, World Panorama, Indian Showcase, Country Focus (Iran), Special Screenings, and the Achievers Category.

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The India Features Competition includes award-winning films such as - Shoojit Sircar's October (Hindi), Reema Das's Village Rockstars (Assamese), Atanu Ghosh's Mayurakshi (Bengali) and Lijo Jose Pelissery's Ee.Ma.Yau (Malayalam).

Three promotional-type videos were made for last year's Jagran Film Festival but didn't gain much traction in terms of YouTube views (around 1000 per video).

"The Jagran Film Festival promo films were meant for the audiences attending the festival and screened at the venue," reveals Rathore.

"However, going forward, we'll use these films and more, for digital promotion," he signs off.

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