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Nepal International Film Festival – NIFF  winding up

Nepal International Film Festival – NIFF kicked off on 21 February. The fest is scheduled to conclude on Monday. 60 movies from 31 countries participated in the festival taking place at Nepal Tourism Board and Rastriya Sabha Griha.

According to the organizers, the festival is organized to create a bridge between alternative & mainstream cinema and also to celebrate cinema as a medium of intellectual expression. The global event featured panel discussion on issues, including ‘Challenges of the Nepali Film Industry’ and ‘Women in Cinema’.

‘Green Cats’ will be screened on the last day of the event. The film is directed by an Estonian film director Andres Puustusmaa. It revolves around the story of two old men who have spent their entire lives in jail and are released on amnesty at the age of 70. The film portrays the struggles of prisoners for freedom.

Films that will be screened on Monday are listed below:

Film

Time

‘Ala Changso’

110 minutes

‘The Blind of The Cathedral’

17 minutes

‘Astitwo’

8 minutes

‘The Wind Will Carry Us’

15 minutes

‘The Stained Flag’

8 minutes

‘The Myth 0’

13 minutes

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What to see at the Nepal International Film Festival

Kathmandu’s cinema aficionados better roll up their sleeves, as the Nepal International Film Festival starts today and the Nepal International Theatre Festival is just a few days away.

Kathmandu’s cinema aficionados better roll up their sleeves, as the Nepal International Film Festival starts today and the Nepal International Theatre Festival is just a few days away.

The International Film Festival, to take place in parallel sessions at the Nepal Tourism Board and Rastriya Sabha Griha, will feature 60 films—13 feature-length fiction films and the rest shorts—from 31 countries, selected by an adjudication panel led by filmmaker and journalist Bijay Ratna Tuladhar.

The purpose of the festival, contends festival chair KP Pathak, is “to bridge the gap between alternative and mainstream cinema, and to celebrate cinema as a medium of intellectual expression.” Alongside screenings, the fest will also host panel discussions on a cross-section of issues, including ‘Women in Cinema’ and ‘Challenges of the Nepali Film Industry’ featuring industry stalwarts. There’s also a tempting masterclass with Eric Valli, the French director who helmed 1999’s Caravan, Nepal’s only selection for the Oscars so far.

The festival will be inaugurated by Nepal Communist Party co-chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal, followed quickly by the screening of last year’s critically-acclaimed feature Hari. Alongside Nepal premieres, the festival will be featuring a number of films that have already graced the Nepali silver screen but perhaps did not receive the audience they deserved. This is thus a second chance to catch some critically-acclaimed gems that might have gone unnoticed, like Panchayat, Nepal’s submission to the Oscars this year. Here is a brief rundown of films that cinephiles should definitely look out for every day for the five days of the festival.

Day 1: Hari

There is no choice but to see Hari on the first day, and this film is worth its solo slot. It will even make for a good second watch, if you’ve seen it already. The film reportedly performed dismally at the box office, but was acclaimed by film reviewers, with one critic touting it as “a Kafkaesque Nepali flick.” Hari is definitely an outlier in the canon of Nepali cinema. While it’s a realistic feature, telling the story of an identity crisis-stricken youth, elements of surrealism also make their way into its narrative in a way that feels natural, hardly superimposed. The film is beautiful to look at, with neat, informed cinematography, which shows rather than tells, and a nuanced production design. It’s directed by debutantes Pratik Gurung and Safal Gurung, and features Bipin Karki as the titular Hari. It’s often funny, often tragic and often just fantastic. Hari shows at 5pm on February 21.

Day 2: Panchayat

This film was released in March last year and it went almost unnoticed, despite the fact it was shown to a number of political leaders. The film came into the limelight later because it was selected as Nepal’s official entry for the upcoming Academy Awards. The film, however, didn’t make it past the preliminary round. Panchayat is written and directed by Shivam Adhikari, and features actors Neeta Dhungana, Saroj Khanal and Rupa Rana in lead roles. As the name suggests, it is set during the autocratic Panchayat era and tells a story of abuse and a clash of egos. I haven’t seen the film and its merits are little known, but if nothing else, it might be interesting to see just what kind of Nepali film made the cut for the Oscars this year. Panchayat will be screened at the Rastriya Sabha Griha, at 12 pm on February 22.

Day 3: 1190

This curious film is directed by a young writer-director Andzej Gavriss, originally from Riga, Latvia, known for his experimental filmmaking. This film “follows a young woman on a dark journey to find her lost home and identity.” Gavriss is an extensive traveller and draws inspiration from his travels and juxtaposes them with his personal experiences. “Gavriss’ distinctly stylised portfolio combines beautifully crafted shots with storytelling that packs a punch,” reads one review.  1190 is 30 minutes long and will be screened at Rastriya Sabha Griha on Saturday, February 23, at 2:45 pm.

Day 4: Highway 318

This is a road movie directed by Chinese director Yunxing Nie. The film takes viewers on a journey across the titular Highway 318 that connects China with Tibet, noted as one of world’s most picturesque routes. The film follows two characters, one Chinese and another Tibetan, both of whom are travelling for different reasons but have one thing in common—they both seek redemption from their past. “Their tough journey together across endless valleys and snowy mountains will bring them closer to each other, becoming a deep inner journey and a meditation on life. Harsh, mysterious and breath-taking, Highway 318 can become a road to redemption,” reads a note for the Warsaw Film Festival, where this 98-minute long film was previously screened. It will show at 4pm on February 24 at Rastriya Sabha Griha.

Day 5: Green Cats

Green Cats is an Estonian crime drama directed by Andres Puustusmaa, who comes from a theatre background, having worked as an actor on stage and on television. The film follows two old men who have lived behind bars for most of their lives and were granted amnesty when they were both 70. Even though they didn’t commit a serious crime, they ‘deceived’ their then country—Soviet Estonia. This 105-minute long feature tells the story of their pathos, their newfound freedom and trials of the passage of time. It will be screened at Nepal Tourism Board on Monday, February 25, at 10 am.

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Nepal International Film Festival 2019 Kicks Off at Kathmandu!

The five-day event will showcase 60 films, including 13 feature-length fiction films

Calling all the Nepali movie buffs! Get ready for some engaging activity over the next few days.

The Nepal International Film Festival (NIFF) begins on February 21, 2019, just days before the Nepal International Theatre Festival.

The International Film Festival will be held at the Nepali Tourism Board and Rastriya Sabha Griha.

According to Festival Chair KP Pathak, the film festival is being organized with an aim to ‘bridge the gap between alternative & mainstream cinema’ and celebrate cinema as a medium of intellectual expression.

What to Expect at the International Film Festival?

The five-day event will showcase 60 films, including 13 feature-length fiction films and the remaining are short films from 31 countries.

These shortlisted films have been selected by a jury headed by Nepali filmmaker and journalist Bijay Ratna Tuladhar.

NIFF first press conference on 17th Jan 2019, at Nepal Tourism Board (NTB)

The global event will also hold panel discussions on various issues, including ‘Challenges of the Nepali Film Industry’ and ‘Women in Cinema’ that will witness the participation of key industry stakeholders.

Eric Valli’s ‘masterclass’ is another important program that the audience can look forward to. Valli’s 1999 movie ‘Caravan’ is the only Nepali nomination for the Oscars, so far.

Event Format

Formet PM Pushpa Kamal Dahal will inaugurate the Nepal International Film Festival.

Post the inauguration, 2018 critically-acclaimed Nepali movie ‘Hari’ will be screened at the festival.

Note to Attendees: The international film festival will feature Nepal premiers along with a number of already featured films that didn’t receive the deserving audience earlier.

This list also includes Panchayat, Nepal’s submission to the Oscars this year.

Here’s a list of Nepali films that will be featured at the Nepal International Film Festival:

Day 1 – February 21, 2019
Time: 5 PM
Venue: Rashtriya Sabha Griha

The first day of the festival features Nepali film ‘Hari‘. This movie was hugely appreciated by film reviewers due to its realistic appeal and a naturally-flowing narrative. Directors Pratik Gurung and Safal Gurung have done a fantastic job at putting together Hari’s story which is a combination of funny, tragic and fantastic.

Day 2 – February 22, 2019
Time: 12 PM
Venue: Rashtriya Sabha Griha

Panchayat did not get the attention it deserved when it released in March 2018. However, the film was brought back to the limelight after getting finalized as Nepal’s official submission for the upcoming Academy Awards.

It revolves around Nepal’s Panchayath era and is a tale of abuse and clash of egos.

Day 3 – February 23, 2019
Time: 2:45 PM
Venue: Rastriya Sabha Griha

Not by a Nepali director, this film is a creative work of Latvian filmmaker Andzej Gavriss. 1190 presents the story of a young women on journey to find her lost home and identity.

Garviss is known for his style in experimental filmmaking. “Gavriss’ distinctly stylized portfolio combines beautifully crafted shots with storytelling that packs a punch,” reads a review.

Day 4 – February 24, 2019
Time: 4 PM
Venue: Rastriya Sabha Griha

Highway 318‘ is a story directed by Chinese director Yunxing Nie. The film features the journey of two individuals from China and Tibet. As the story unfolds, viewers are treated to the picturesque views along Highway 318 that connects China and Tibet. Make the most of this film that showcases the journey of two individuals towards redemption from their past.

Day 5 – February 25, 2019
Time: 10 AM
Venue: Nepal Tourism Board

Green Cats‘, a crime drama directed by Estonian film director Andres Puustusmaa revolves around two old men who have spent their entire lives in jail and are released on amnesty at the age of 70 years. The film lays bare their struggles with prison life, their freedom and the pain of the loss of time.

So Nepal movie fans, where are you headed to? Hope you enjoy your time at the international film festival. Let us know what you think about the festival and what you liked aspect did you like most of it!

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NIFF 2020 Short and documentary film awards

3rd NIFF 2020 closes with awards going to various national and international films. The closing program and the awards ceremony was attended by industry guests and delegates, including members of the NIFF 2020 juries, headed by Prakash Jha (feature segment) and Anomaa Rajakaruna (shorts and documentary segments)

Awards for the short and documentary film programs were announced under both the international and national competition. The jury for the feature film programs, comprising of Anomaa Rajakaruna (jury head, Sri Lanka), Thibaut Bracq (France) and Karun Thapa (Nepal), comprising of 3 people was unanimous in selecting the winners. Below is the full list of awards at NIFF 2020, short and documentary film programs.  

The Mt. Everest Award for the Best Documentary Film went to

Co-Husband (directed by Ganesh Pandey, Nepal)

For poignant exploration of a traditional social issue called polyandry, unknown in many geographical locations

For questioning individual inner selves and bringing out emotions out of their situation inside their community

For it’s traditional yet contemporary way of approach

For its creative and elegant mise-en-scene

The Bagmati Award for the Best LIVE ACTION Short film went to

Nooreh (directed by Ashish Pandey, India)

For its moving portray of a young Kashmiri girl, growing up in a conflict ridden village on the India-Pakistan border.

For the way it depicts the everyday life fears and war background reality, through off-camera sound elements and subtle details

For the patterns and repetitive creative frames, giving us access to the rhythm of life in war time, through the children’s perspective

For its positive and poetic ending,

The Award for the Best National Short film went to

Kalam (directed by Prabin Kumar Rawat, Nepal)

For telling a story of shattered dreams of children and youth who had to left the country because of the Maoist insurgency 

For highlighting the psychological impact of the conflict on children and the society with subtle story telling

The Manjushree Award for the Best Animated Short Film went to

Spirit of the Drowning Girls (directed by Runze Cao, China)

For its beautifully made drawing animation, inspired by graphic novel and comics,

For its strong characterization of a woman fighting for girls rights, focusing on a very important hidden issue of abortion of female fetuses

For its full creativity, gathering great and fluid animation with a good and relevant storytelling,

The Special Jury Mention in national competition went to

Junu Ko Jutta (directed by Kedar Shrestha, Nepal)

The Special Jury Mention in national competition went to

Anna (directed by Dekel Berenson, Ukraine)

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NIFF 2020 Feature film awards

3rd NIFF 2020 closes with awards going to various national and international films. The closing program and the awards ceremony was attended by industry guests and delegates, including members of the NIFF 2020 juries, headed by Prakash Jha (feature segment) and Anomaa Rajakaruna (shorts and documentary segments).

Awards for the feature film programs were announced under both the international and national competition. The jury for the feature film programs, comprising of Prakash Jha (jury head, India), Yuni Hadi (Singapore), Gauri Malla (Nepal), Joao Paulo Macedo (Portugal) and Manju Kumar Shrestha (Nepal) of 5 people was unanimous in selecting the winners. Below is the full list of awards at NIFF 2020, feature film programs. 

Gautama Buddha Award for the Best International Feature Film went to

TRAP (directed by Seyid Colak, Turkey)

A strong narrative served by a poetic cinematography challenging the sensibility of the viewers

Jury’s Choice Award for the Best International Feature Film went to

THE OTHER HALF (directed by Lalith Rathnayake, Sri Lanka)

For giving us insights into a world we need to see, supported by a convincing performance and strong visual narrative

The Award for the Best National Feature Film went to

BULBUL (directed by Binod Paudel)

A Nepalese story that brings us to the Kathmandu streets reality with a social and visual construction of a coherent film.

The Jury’s Choice Award for the Best National Feature Film went to

GOPI (directed by Dipendra Lama)

Nowadays political and economic reality explored in a fluid narrative through a metaphor of a Nepali rural story

The Award for the Best Director in a Nepali feature film went to

BINOD PAUDEL, for Bulbul

For mixing directorial competency with a cinematographic language that stands out as a beginning of a new age on Nepalese cinema.

The Award for the Best Cinematographer in a Nepali feature film went to

SHAILENDRA D. KARKI, for Gopi

For building ambiances that bring the story to a new level with a beautifully elaborated visual narrative.

The Award for the Best Screenwriter in a Nepali feature film went to

BINOD PAUDEL, for Bulbul

Successful in constructing characters that come to life in a naturalistic acting and the strength of a storytelling with a personal view that stands out on the films in competition.

The Award for the Best Male Actor in a leading role went to

BIPIN KARKI, for Gopi

Bringing a real everyday man to the screen with a creative and empathic acting.

The Special Jury Mentions for a Male Actor in a Nepali feature film went to

MUKUN BHUSAL, for Bulbul

From a secondary role to a remarkable presence in the film.

The Award for the Best Actress in a Nepali feature film went to

SWASTIMA KHADKA, for Bulbul

Playing the struggle of a young woman in a challenging role that, in the end, may not be very different of the ‘real world’ created in the film, make the Jury acknowledge the courage of a talented actress.

The Special Jury Mentions for a Female Actor in a Nepali feature film went to 

LAXMI BARDEWA, for Bulbul

Shinning in a supporting role where she builds a complicity and mature relation with the character

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Gauri Malla to be a part of the jury at NIFF 2020 feature programs

Gauri Malla is a Nepali actress who has worked in leading female roles in more than 20 films, and has bagged various acting awards at prestigious film events in the country.

Veteran actress and a national heartthrob, Gauri has decided to again be back into the spotlight, but this time as a member on the jury, NIFF 2020 feature programs. 

NIFF team is extremely happy, and we hope that with guidance from veterans like Gauri Malla on the jury, NIFF can definitely look towards immense success inside the country’, says the Festival Chair, K.P. Pathak. 

Anyways, welcome Gauri Malla, on the NIFF 2020 juries. 

The five member jury for the feature programs and the three member jury for the shorts and documentary program involves a string of film makers and professionals from outside and inside Nepal. 

For more details, visit www.niff.org.np/jury/ 

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Announcing the NIFF 2020 Forum

NIFF announces a string of masterclasses, sharing sessions and panel talks as a part of its industry forum. The activities are intended to involve the Nepali and international film community, facilitate the sharing and exchange of ideas (and business cards!). 

As a part of a special push towards making films for online and streaming purposes, and exposing Nepali film and Nepali narratives to the global audience, a sequence of panel talks, workshop and a masterclass with film makers and producers from Nepal and abroad. 

More information on the Forum programs can be accessed at www.niff.org.np/programs

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Juries at NIFF 2020 announced

NIFF 2020 has recently announced the jury for its feature film programs; World Panorama and Nepali feature competition, and another jury panel for its documentary and shorts program (both national and international). 

The five member jury for the feature programs and the three member jury for the shorts and documentary program involves a string of film makers and professionals from outside and inside Nepal. 

For more details, visit www.niff.org.np/jury/ 

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Lineup announced for NIFF 2020

NIFF 2020 film lineup has been announced on 31st November 2019. Coming up with a diverse lineup for 2020, NIFF selection committee have watched and chosen 79 films from 40 countries, in six different film competition categories summarized below:

World Panorama (International Feature Competition): 10 films

Nepali Feature Competition: 5 films

Documentaries at NIFF: 8 films

Shorts Live Action Competition: 35 short films

Shorts Animated Competition: 6 short films

National Shorts Competition: 15 short films

Full lineup can be accessed at www.niff.org.np/niff-film-2020

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