1st Kolkata International Children’s Film Festival: Celebrating Childhood Through Films

Kolkata International Children’s Film Festival 2011

Kolkata Children's Book Fair - Chotoder Boi Mela

December 24, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio / Penning Creations): This winter, the kids have a reason to celebrate too! The 1st Kolkata International Children’s Film Festival got its way on in the presence of the Honorable Chief Minister of the State Government of West Bengal, Ms Mamata Banerjee, the Finance Minister, Dr. Amit Mitra, the first citizen of the city, Shovan Chatterjee, the guests of honor, Amol Gupte and Partho Gupte, and the Director & Chairman of Shishu Kishore Academy, Ms. Arpita Ghosh.

Slideshow of pictures from 2011 Kolkata Children's Film Festival

Inaugurated on December 21, in Nandan – I complex, Kolkata, this film fest promises to gift the junior residents of the city with an eventful follow up to the Christmas weekend. During the seven days (till December 27), it will screen about 160 films at Nandan, Sisir Mancha, Star theatre, Rabindra Okakura Bhavan and SRFTI auditorium.

Inaugurated by Partho (a.k.a Stanley) Gupte, the ten year old son of the critically acclaimed film maker Amol Gupte, the first KICFF aims to be a platform where kids will be integrated into the pulsating pulse of the city, as pointed out by the director himself in his inaugural speech. He seemed to be pretty disappointed with the way that the specially-abled or the underprivileged children are treated in not only the suburbs but also the metropolitans - almost like they are not humans but some other species, he pointed out.

While the Chief Minister preferred to maintain the low-profile stand she had donned (owing to the personal loss that she suffered pretty recently), Dr. Mitra chose to express his gratitude to the organizing committee for arranging such an event for the city’s kids on the state government’s behalf. Adults can learn new lessons from children, he observed, and also pointed out on the lasting impression that Sukumar Ray’s ‘Abol Tabol’ and the Lilliputs of Gulliver’s Travels (Jonathan Swift) left on his mind.

Child psychology can be quite difficult to deal with, inclined to change as they are, and the habit of trusting what is envisioned, pointed out the eminent author, Shirshendu Mukherjee. He also stressed on the difficulty faced by filmmakers and authors, with children as their subject.

While Amol Gupte’s Stanley ka Dabba opened the festival with a balanced dose of entertainment and realism, the rest of the event will include a number of award winning classics such as Satyajit Ray’s ‘Goopi Gayen Bagha Bayen’ and Nila Madhab Panda's 'I am Kalam'. Other national entrees include Shyam Benegal's 'Charandas Chor' and the latest hit ‘Gosain Baganer Bhoot', with films like 'Alladin's Magic Lamp', ‘The Adventures of Robin Hood', ‘Born Free', ‘Laurel and Hardy’ and ‘The Little Mermaid’ representing international children’s cinema. Charlie Chaplin classics like the ‘Gold Rush’ and The Kid ‘will also be screened during this weeklong film fest.

To let more and more children be a part of this initiative, Shishu Kishore Academy has decided to work in tandem with a number of educational institutes and organizations, arranging special screenings and workshops for the kids. Enkindling their critical thinking and introducing them to the colorful world of film making are film and animation workshops to be conducted by Amol Gupte and Shikhar Mukherjee.

With new patterns and programs being planned for the forthcoming years, this international event is sure going to emerge as the most awaited program for all the kids of Bengal.