In the land of wonders, here’s a wondrous film festival. Upon the virgin hills of Uttarakhand. What started out two years ago, modestly, as Kautik Student Film Festival is now Kautik International Film Festival. In 2018, the Festival went international and competitive. This year, the “student” tag was dropped too, and there were well over 750 film entries from 75 countries. Conducted in association with the Marchula Festival and the District Administration of Almora, the third edition took place by the banks of the serene, gurgling Ram Ganga River, Mahaseer Fishing Resorts, situated in the buffer zone of the Jim Corbett National Park, November 08-10.
Chief assistant cameraman and focus puller of such films as Munna Bhai M.B.B.S. and 3 Idiots Kaku Rajesh Shah is the Festival Director. National Award winning documentary filmmaker Shalini Shah is the Artistic Director.
The Festival ceremony commenced with the lighting of the sacred lamp by the District Magistrate. National Award-winning film critic Utpal Datta’s Bohubritta, which in a few days from now would be shown in the Indian Panorama section of IFFI 2019, was the opening film; it was screened in the non-competition section. Showcased as the centrepieces were a package of Iranian films, two of which went on to win awards; the winner of the Best International Short Fiction Award is Esmaeel Monsef, whose feature The Charcoal, incidentally, was the opening film at the recently-concluded Guwahati International Film Festival.
Delegates at the Festival included people from Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, Noida, Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, and W. Bengal. A few filmmakers whose films were not even nominated turned up and pleaded an opportunity for their films to be screened. Since the primary purpose of the Kautik festival is to offer a platform for upcoming filmmakers, their cherished dreams were fulfilled.
AWARDS presented at Kautik 2019
The Kautik grand jury comprised retired FTII professor of film direction Surendar Chawdhary, and Associate Director of the Inner Path Film Festival Sudhir Tandon. As in the previous year, two critics choice awards were instituted by the Film Critics Circle of India (FCCI). The critics jury comprised Gautam Kaul, Deepa Gahlot, and Parthajit Baruah. Additionally, there were Audience Choice Awards too. Attended by a small informal gathering presided by Rahul Shah, the Additional District Magistrate of Sult, the curtains of the Festival fell at the onset of dusk of day 3, in the open air of the virgin hills.
Best International Short Fiction — Ardak by Esmaeel Monsef (Iran)
Best Indian Short Fiction — The Boy with the Gun by Khanjan Kishore Nath
Jury Special Mention — Look at the Sky by Ashok Veilou
Audience Choice for Best International Documentary — Baraka by Komeli Soheili (Iran)
Audience Choice for Best Indian Short Fiction — An Irrelevant Dialogue by Moinok Guhu
FCCI Award for Best Indian Short Fiction — An Irrelevant Dialogue by Moinok Guhu
FCCI Award for Best Indian Documentary — Ghost Villages of Himalayas by Kuldeep Sah Gangola
The winners of the Kautik Grand Jury Award for Best International Short Fiction and the Audience Choice Award for Best International Documentary are each offered a 3-nights-4-days-for-a-couple VIP stay at the Marchula Fishing Resorts, Jim Corbett National Park, valid for anytime within the next one year.
Call for entries for the next edition would open sometime by this month end. ALL FOREIGN FILMMAKERS whose films are in nomination for Kautik 2020 would be offered at the Festival in addition to, of course, local hospitality, a free hot balloon ride and a free safari tour in the virgin hills.