Ruben Ostlund inaugurated the 10th BISFF, as it goes digital

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The Bengaluru International Short Film Festival (BISFF) is all set for its 10th edition which will be held between August 13th – 16th, 2020. This year, the festival has transformed into a digital avatar and will be screening online keeping in mind the health and safety of the cinephiles. Enthusiasts can log into on the scheduled dates and enjoy, encourage, and appreciate the art of short films. In order to keep up the spirit of people during tough times as present, the festival will be aired online for free, upon registration. Ruben Ostlund, multi-award-winning Swedish film director and screenwriter graced the opening ceremony of the festival on August 13th, 2020. Known for his films ‘Force Majeure’, ‘The Square’, ‘The Guitar Mongoloid’ etc., Ostlund was a member of the jury for the Un Certain Regard section of Cannes, in 2016. 

Earlier this year, the film festival received Oscar accreditation making it the only Oscar Academy qualifying short film festival in India for the Live-Action Category. The winning short films in the International and Indian Competition sections of BISFF 2020 are automatically eligible for consideration in the Live Action Short Film Category of the Academy Awards®, without a standard theatrical run, provided the film complies with the stringent Academy rules.

In its 10th edition, the film festival has three new additions 

Let’s include: A special category included in the competition section showcases short films exclusively featuring stories on intellectual and developmental disabilities. BISFF aims to fight stigmas by promoting diverse and authentic portrayals of people with disabilities in these short films. 

Let’s Pitch: BISFF along with ‘Katte movies and more’, is introducing ‘Let’s Pitch’ which aims at providing a platform for people to pitch their idea of short film and get it produced. Being in the first year of introduction, the segment, as of now, is open for the Kannada language and its dialects only. 

Women in Cinema Collective: Women in Cinema Collective (WCC) is an organization for women working in the Malayalam cinema industry. This year, a special package from WCC has been included.

BISFF had previously partnered with Goethe Institut and Pocket Films, and this year too, the festival will feature short film packages from these partners. Additionally, BISFF’s trusted partner, Shorts TV – known for being the global home for short movies, will air all the films under the Indian Competition category, on their platform. 

The competition sections included in this year’s festival are – International, Indian, Karnataka, Animation, and Let’s Include, and the winners of each category will be selected by the expert committee. About 200 films from across 38 countries will be screened in the mentioned categories. The previous edition was a resounding success with 270 films screened. 

Being the largest short film festival in Asia, BISFF not only provides a platform for young filmmakers to screen their films but also learn from the doyens of the industry.  The Let’s Talk – a live chat session with film experts, provides an opportunity for film enthusiasts to hear from the experts and learn from their experience. As of today, the session has brought in esteemed guests such as – Monoj Bajpayee, Hardik Mehta, Nitya Menen, Vinay Pathak, Umesh Kulkarni, etc.

While the festival is free for the audience to register and watch online, BISFF is conducting a donation campaign with an aim to acknowledge the remarkable work done by many to combat the impact of COVID-19. Vidyanikethan, an NGO working towards the upbringing of socio-economically marginalized people, education for children, and environment protection, was recently honored for their exemplary work on COVID Crisis by Green Channel Organisation. A part of the donation received goes in support of this organization and the remaining to support budding filmmakers.

Prakash Belawadi, Actor, Director and Mentor, BISFF, said, “The Oscar accreditation we received this year certainly validates our efforts in making BISFF a prestigious event and more of a recognition platform for the young filmmakers participating. It’s really heartening to see how BISFF has shaped in these last 10 years. If we look back, the journey has certainly been a struggle, but it’s really exciting to witness how the festival has been established as a significant event with doyens of the industry visiting year after year. With our direction being more digital for the future, we do hope to make this festival more than just a 3- day program, and make it accessible to people nationally and internationally.” 

Anand Varadaraj, Festival Director, BISFF, commented, “We are excited to proceed with the festival, despite the challenges initially posed due to the current situation. Going digital has brought in a surprising element of reaching out to some big names in the Film Industry. The artists agreed to do talk shows from their homes and converse with us to answer queries. While film buffs might miss the typical theatre-going experience of the film fest, they get to enjoy the fest safely at the comfort of their couch.  The transition has been smooth and seamless and we are hoping to see more footfalls (digitally) than the earlier years, as cinephiles have the ease of access from anywhere in the world. We are hoping for a grand success through our digital venture.”

Film enthusiasts can register and watch the movie here – . Make a difference, donate to support budding artists and COVID Warriors – 

BISFF was launched in 2011. It now has the distinction of being one of the largest Short Film Festivals in India. BISFF showcases shorts from across the world, creating a physical space for a great experience of cinema. It brings together keen, like-minded audiences for the filmmakers. BISFF also exhibits works by past masters who have dabbled in short filmmaking that today as an independent art form. In 2020, BISFF received Oscar accreditation, making it the only Oscar Academy qualifying short film festival in India for the Live-Action Category.

Additionally, the festival presents talks, panel discussions, demonstrations, and workshops with leading thinkers, professionals, and industry practitioners, providing an opportunity for young filmmakers to interact with the best in the industry.

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