Director Girish Kasaravalli has attended almost 19 festivals all over the world, this year. But the fifth edition of the Bengaluru International Film Festival will always remain special for him as he will have the first ever retrospective show of his works at this festival.
"More than the diverse cinema, I feel special about that the retrospective category that will showcase all my films under one roof. This is the first time that a series of films will be screened at an international festival. Though Goa and Kolkata wanted to do a show, they cancelled it later. I am glad that now it is now happening in my own city," he admitted. His latest film, Kurmavatara was premiered at Toronto after which Girish travelled to different countries to showcase his film. Having attended many festivals, he felt that this year's BIFFES has a good collection. "This fest is getting a lot of attention with organisers taking care at every step for a good screening. This time we also see a lot of participation. I am watching at least four movies everyday and I am glad to see audience watch the entire film unlike last time, where people came and left as and when the movie started. I used to feel quite bad with people's reaction, which is not the case now as this festival has brought in a lot of change," he said.
Having interacted with the younger generation, Girish has realised that today's youth are more aware of different kind of films compared to the previous generation. "Youngsters are more prepared and do their homework before watching a film. They even asked me to recommend some good films. They are not those kind of audiences who just enjoy the movie and forget about it. This is a good sign for the festival and our culture," said Girish, who believes that it is not just globalisation but media expansion that has contributed towards awareness of such festivals. "The next generation that is the age group of 25 to 30 will definitely have better knowledge of world cinema," he added. Every festival used to see lot of repeated audience, which is the not the case this year, he observed. "I have been seeing a lot of new faces this time around and that's a positive sign.
Though today organising a film festival at an international level is an expensive affair now, festivals are mainly done for the promotion of culture. We can't expect any profit from such kind of events but definitely enjoy watching quality films created by excellent directors," he said. One drawback Girish that thought should be brought to notice is that every director should have live interaction after their films are screened. "It is not only in Bangalore. Even Goa or Kolkatta could not arrange the same. There should be a discussion about the movie with the director, where public also can participate," Girish said. According to Girish, such festivals need to be conducted for many years to bring a fortune to the Kannada industry and culture. "Such festivals will create a different atmosphere. The myth is that film festival are events where people enjoy watching films, which is a wrong sign. More than the industry people, it is cultural beneficiaries who should watch these films. At today's festivals, apart from movies we see a lot of other activities which provide a platform at such events. Also it is too early to gain anything as we have done only 5 to 6 festivals on this level. It takes times for people across the world to understand what is really happening in Bangalore. A good marketing and awareness will help Kannada films gain popularity. Foreign films usually land in Mumbai or at the most in Kolkatta. They have absolutely no idea of what is happening in South India. Unlike few other languages, Kannada was not listed in many festivals," he appealed.
Citing examples of the popular Kerala film festivals, Girish said, "Even people who sell chaats on the road know the importance of film festivals. This has definitely improved the tourism sector. It is high time we consider festivals as a part of our society and not a separate entity."