River to River

River to River Florence Indian Film Festival 2015

The 15th River to River Florence Indian Film Festival rings the curtain down with over 12,200 visitors.

The ‘best of’ will be going to Bologna in January 2016 as part of the Cineteca’s programme and to Spazio Oberdan in Milan in February 2016

The film on the Bhopal tragedy, Bhopal: A Prayer for Rain by Ravi Kumar,

wins the River to River Award as Best Film

The award for best short film goes to Sarmad Masud for Two Dosas.

Diya Banerjee’s The Hope Doctors wins best documentary.

Florence, December 11th – On Human Rights Day – December 10th – Bhopal: a prayer for rain by Ravi Kumar, which tells about one of the greatest chemical catastrophes of all times, 31 years after the night when a lethal gas leak from Union Carbide pesticide factory in Bhopal, India, killed thousands of people, won the River to River Award for Best Film at the 15th River to River Florence Indian Film Festival, Italy’s only festival to be all about Indian movies (Cinema Odeon, Florence).

Produced by Sahara Movie Studios and Rising Star Entertainment with producers Seemanto Roy and Ravi Walia, the film has an international cast, including Misha Barton, Martin Sheen and Kal Penn.

Scriptwriter David Brooks and Colin Toogood from the Bhopal Medical Appeal – an organisation that takes care of the victims of the Bhopal tragedy – attended the screening in Florence.

The 15th Festival ended yesterday with about 12,200 visitors in six days (nearly 30% more than last year). The documentary and short films that won the “River to River Audience Award” were announced yesterday, Thursday 10th December, as well.

Human rights and mutual support take centre stage, again, in Diya Banerjee’s The Hope Doctors, which won best documentary; it tells about the deficiencies of the Indian healthcare industry that are relieved and told by some clown doctors.

The prize for best short film went to Sarmad Masud for Two Dosas, a tragicomic rom-com about the first date between science teacher Pavan and Chloe.

“It’s been a great festival, one of its kind – explains the festival’s director, Selvaggia Velo –, because it was partly supported by a crowd-funding campaign, so all donors felt deeply involved in it. We noticed that in the theatre as well, in people’s response, they felt really involved in the film. The films – Ms Velo goes on – received high scores, which means this year’s selection was been widely appreciated by the audience. Then, Deepa Mehta was a great guest, and the Italian premiere of her Beeba Boys has been one of the most touching moments in this year’s festival. The winner is Bhopal: A Prayer for Rain – the director ends –, a film about human rights and the tragedies of the world, which means that the importance of the message remains central to the film, and these are the stories that people feel most affected by”.

As part of the 50 Giorni di cinema internazionale a Firenze, the Festival presented 30 films, including national, European and international premiers, from new independent films to the latest Bollywood productions and even the contemporary video art scene, and 15 guests, including Deepa Mehta, a real star, a world-renowned Indian filmmaker, whose films the festival paid homage to.

The River to River Festival is not over yet: in 2016, a selection of its “best of” and the 2015 winning films will be screened at Cinema Lumiere in Bologna in January, for the very first time as part of the art cinema’s schedule, and then, for the third year running, they will be at Spazio Oberdan in Milan, from February 12thto 14th.

The River to River Florence Indian Film Festival has been founded and is directed by Selvaggia Velo, under the aegis of Fondazione Sistema Toscana with the patronage of the Indian Embassy, and it is supported by Regione Toscana, Ente Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze, Indian Tourism Milan. The festival’s sponsors are Salvatore Ferragamo, JK Place Firenze, Latte Maremma, Instyle, Air India, Hotel Roma, Pensione Canada, while its partners are Four Seasons Hotel Firenze, Kochi-Muziris Art Biennale, Cineteca di Bologna, Fondazione, Fondazione Studio Marangoni, The Florentine, Ied Firenze, Vini Mazzei, Villa Marcello, Amblè, Cescot Firenze.