Celebrating diversity and inclusivity in cinema, 5th edition of CIFFI begins with a grand inaugural ceremony

Delhi Metropolitan Education Media School Noida with Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia and the University of Nottingham, China Campus inaugurated a three-day international film festival CIFFI (Cineaste International Film Festival of India) on 7th Feb 2024 in Nelson Mandela Auditorium. The festival received more than 600 films across the nations including India, Iran, Indonesia and Bulgaria. ‘Cinema for Inclusion’ is the theme of CIFFI 2023/24 celebrating diversity in films with #celebratingdiversity.

The welcome address was given by Prof. (Dr) Susmita Bala, Chief Associate Director, of CIFFI and Head of DME Media School. Dr Bala expressed her gratitude to eminent dignitaries for enriching the session with their valuable inputs.

Prof. (Dr) Ambrish Saxena, Festival Director, CIFFI and Dean, DME Media School in his opening remarks revealed the distinctness of this edition of CIFFI, adding that during this edition of CIFFI, a few films are being screened with audio descriptions and other unique concepts, especially for the people with disabilities. He also showcased the film festival’s rich history and emphasized his focus on inclusivity and diversity.

On this special occasion, the chief guest of the ceremony Dr Harvinder Mankkar a Filmmaker & well-known Cartoonist said, “Cinema is not just entertainment; it’s an ideology that has the power to shape our society. When we change our cinematic ideology, we can bring about significant changes in society.” His inspiring words left a lasting impression on the students.

The Vice Chairman of DME Mr Aman Sahni said that it is a great opportunity to have such a gathering amidst the pollution and cold environment. “I’m delighted with the vibrant theme chosen for CIFFI this year”, he added. Dr Ravikant Swami, Director, DME emphasized the importance of inclusivity and diversity in filmmaking.

Addressing the gathering, the Festival Director of CIFFI Dr Vikrant Kishore, stressed the importance of inclusivity and diversity as an essential element for films. “Cinema should be a platform for the voice of marginalized people like physically challenged or disabled people and Dalits and tribal community”, he added.

Mr Aditya Seth, an award-winning filmmaker, academic and consultant highlighted the importance of inclusivity and addressing marginalization in society, particularly for people with disabilities and Dalits. He emphasized the need to focus on these issues and work towards fairness and equality.

Festival director of ‘We Care Films Festival’, Mr Satish Kapoor revealed the success of the Purple Festival at Goa organised to encourage the disabled people. He also expressed his excitement about the impact of this festival as films with audio descriptions are being screened in CIFFI.

Dr Nimish Kapoor, a senior scientist at Vigyan Prasar, spoke about the selection of documentaries for CIFFI and his role as a Jury member in the festival.

Mr Ashish Kumar Singh, Secretary of New Delhi Film Foundation, praised CIFFI for its contribution to cinema and said, “ Nowadays when the success of films is seen based on opening day collection, film festivals provide a space for the cinema lovers to watch films which showcase art and socially responsible cinema”

Mr Ram Kishore Parcha, Festival Director of DIFF appreciated Dr Ambrish Saxena and Dr Susmita Bala for their efforts in organizing the festival. Stressing the importance of cinema in today’s world he said,” Film Festivals are very important in keeping alive the essence of cinema and especially when the culture of film festivals is lessening due to various reasons”.

Kalidas J Srinivas, a gold medalist of GGS IP University and an alumni of DME, shared his experiences with CIFFI.

The Session also witnessed the screening of messages from well-known actors of Bollywood Dayanand Shetty, Shahji Chowdhury, and Jashn Kohli. Video messages by Mr Praveed Nagda, festival Director of KidzCinema and CultureCinema, Prof. Ujjawal K Chowdhury, former strategic advisor of Daffodil University, Dhaka were also screened during the inaugural ceremony.

In addition to the valuable inputs provided by the respected dignitaries during the session, the students of DME performed some activities like Saraswati Vandana, Ganesh Vandana and Shiv Tandav.

The event concluded with a vote of thanks by Mr Madhav Sharma, Assistant Professor, DME. The ceremony ended with the national anthem, marking the official beginning of CIFFI 2023/24.