The first edition of Imphal International Short Film Festival (IISFF), held from April 15-18th, 2012, at Rupmahal Theatre concludes with the screening of 15 International films and 29 Regional films. However, 18 short films in Hindi category are not available for public screening due to ban on screening of Hindi films by the Manipur based insurgent groups. The festival that concluded last evening (April 18) ended with “The Bare Foot Leader” from Iran before culminating into the announcement of the winners, followed by an after party.
Festival Director, Mohen Naorem said, “IISFF 2012 is a starting point for the North East India Film industry, With the grand success of this festival, we hope our coming North East India Film Festival in November would be the biggest event in Indian Film Festival circuit. We would be inviting films from South Asian nations in one category under LOOK EAST section, International films from Russia, UK, Greece, Poland, middle east in GLOBAL section and other regional films in INDIAN section and our own North East section under EIGHT SISTERS.”
The four day festival saw people of various communities thronging the venue to enjoy the short films from countries like Spain, Italy, Bangladesh, Iran, Poland and Indian regional languages like Malayalam, Telegu, Bengali, Tamil, Marathi, Meeteilon and Kanada. The four member jury decided to add few more award categories after reviewing the shortlisted films. Earlier, the festival organizing committee instituted 8 awards and 3 special mentions at the time of submission of entries. The juries decided to increase 7 more awards totaling 18 awards in total, which is the highest number of awards in any short film festival around the world. Best film award was bagged by Nishaptham while Pahela Boisakhi won the Best Documentary award, The jury also awarded special mention award to LOC…a Playground as Best Film on National Integration.
The winning short films were:
BEST FILM: NISAPTHAM
BEST DOCUMENTARY: PAHELA BOISHAKHI
SPECIAL MENTION (BEST FILM ON NATIONAL INTEGRATION): LOC …a playground
BEST DIRECTOR: AINHOA MENENDEZ for FABRICA DE MUNESCAS (Dolls Factory)
BEST ACTOR: JACOB C. ONTHIRICKEN For SABDAREKHA
BEST ACTRESS: SYLWIA JUSZCZAK for VANISHING
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: SASWATA CHATTERJEE for THE FORLORN
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: JANAKI for VAAZHKAI
BEST EDITOR: PRABIR GIRI for MANDAKRANTA
BEST SOUND: PROJECT 11
BEST MUSIC: JO JO LAALI
BEST STORY: SANDEEP MALANI for JO JO LAALI
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: FABRICA DE MUNESCAS (DOLLS FACTORY)
BEST SCREENPLAY: THE WAY SHE IS VENERATED IN LOVE
BEST CHILD ARTIST: PRANSHU GOEL for MY MAMMA’S MILK
CRITIC’S AWARD FOR SPORT PROMOTION: VIJENDRA VERMA for LOC.. a playground
CRITIC’S AWARD FOR BEST THEME MUSIC: MUSIC OF THE BROOM
SPECIAL MENTION (CRITIC AWARDS): FULLSTOP
10 films were also selected to represent Imphal Film Festival in other International Film Festivals.
MAA-E-RI –a lyrical conversation with Mother Nature by Parvez Khan
HOPE by Abhijit Purohit
MAUT KA KUNWA by Sumant Bapurao Mali
NISAPTHAM by Hari Prasad M
SABDAREKHA by Nirmal S.
THE JOURNEY by Tharun Bhascker Dhassyam
LOC-A PLAYGROUND by Atul Kumar Sharma
FULLSTOP by Vivek Muralidharan
SAMVEDANAM by Methil Komalankutty
LAADAM by Sandeep Pampally
The opening film of the festival was "The Forlorn"- Directed by Saptaswa Basu, that has Iconic Bengali actor and Dadasaheb Phalke Award Winner Soumitra Chatterjee in a lead role. It is a psychological thriller centering on a young woman who, after moving into a new apartment, stumbles upon the previous tenant's diary.
Some of the filmmakers from Mumbai, Pune and Kerala attended the four day long festival. Few films were screened more than once as per the audience request like- Tan by young filmmaker from Manipur whose subject deals with the victim of armed conflicts in the state.
The jury headed by eminent film critics Shri Sagolshem Indrakumar from Manipur and three distinguished juries namely Prof. Th. Tombi, former Principal of Imphal college and renowned painter; Shri B. Jayentakumar Sharma, oldest lyricist of Manipuri film industry and Shri L. Ram Sharma, film pesonality and critics based in Imphal.The festival was inaugurated with a formal function in the presence of eminent filmmakers of Manipur. Shri Laimayum Surjakanta Sharma, Chairman if Film Forum Manipur graced the function as Chief Guest, Dr. Naorem Iboton Singh, Dean, College of Agriculture and Honorary Advisor of Action for Social Advancement (ASA) was the President of the function. Shri K. Tomba (Lamja Tomba)- Veteran actor of Manipur Film Industry was also the guest of Honours. The opening day was filled with presence of jury members, filmmakers, leaders of civil organisations like Koijam Brojen alias Keingamba, President, South East Asia Cultural Organisation, (SEACO); Arambam Ongbi Robita, Founder, Young Women Help Organisation and Chandramani Khumancha, Working President, ACOAM-LUP.
The Chief Guest of the closing function was Shri Laimayum Surjakanta, Chairman of Film Forum Manipur. Shri Surjakanta encourages all filmmakers who have come to Imphal and make this event a grand success. He also requested to meet at the second edition of the festival next year with more good quality films.
The festival director, Mohen Naorem announced the list of award winning films and invited all winners to be present at the coming North East India Film Festival which will be happening in the month of November-December 2012. "Legend Studio is funding the work of few filmmakers whose story meets the criteria for entry into major International Film Festivals," Mohen added.
Mumbai based JK Group of Companies is the Diamond Sponsor of the event. The festival is an initiative by Legend Studio in association with a non-profit organisation, Action for Social Advancement (ASA), with the support of Film Forum, Manipur. Two International Film Festivals- Dhaka Film Festival and Half Short Film Festival are festival partners of Imphal International Short Film Festival.