Goa is permanent venue of South Asian Film Festival

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Panaji, Jun 26 (UNI) Goa will be the permanent venue for the South Asian Film Festival (SAFF) as a prelude to the annual International Film Festival of India (IFFI).

Announcing this to mediapersons here on theeve of the four-day SAFF, beginning tomorrow with the theme of ''dissolving boundaries'', chairman of the coordination committee of the festival, Mr Jitendra Deshprabhu said it was part of the efforts at promoting film culture in Goa by attracting global talent in the film industry.

Mr Deshprabhu, who is also vice-chairman of the Kala Academy-- venue for IFFI, since its inception here in 2004, and also for the SAFF events--said a drive to provide ''studio facility with broadband online editing'' at the academy was underway.

He said the objective of the film festivals was to promote film trade across the globe, besides spreading the message of togetherness.

Earlier, chief minister Digambar Kamat, in presence of veteran film producer Mahesh Bhat, Pakistani actress Zeba Bhaktiyar, Afghan actress Khatera Yusufi and Afghan film president Latiff Ahmadia, announced that more than 45 films from eight South Asian countries would be screened at the four-day SAFF festival.

The Festival is being sponsored by the Entertainment Society of Goa and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations in association with the South Asian Foundation, New Delhi, with active support of the Kala Academy here.

The films would be screened at Maquinez Palace and Kala academy auditorium, the opening film being Afghanistan's Osama, directed by Siddiq Barmak.

Union minister for science Kapil Sibal is the Chairman of the Steering Committee of the festival that includes many prominent personalities of the region. It is one of very few festivals that have been designed for a larger socio-cultural and political objective.

''We believe that films are the single most effective medium for improving communication and cooperation within the South Asian region. The influence of films on the psyche of the masses is enormous. It could be used for reinforcing the initiatives that are already underway for generating peace and harmony,'' says Mr Rahul Barua, Secretary General, South Asia Foundation in charge of the Festival.

Five categories of films would be screened at the festival that include Classic Films, Short Films, Documentary Films, Mainstream Films and New Films. It would also include some of the internationally acclaimed and award winning films like- Osama (Afghanistan) and Matir Moina (Bangladesh).

It would also feature films like Khuda Ke Liye, which was the first Pakistani movie to be released in India after 40 years, and Khamosh Pani- a sensitive movie based on India-Pak division, besides contemporary films like Jannat, Corporate, Banaras, Zakhm which talk about the real life issues.

Kamat would inaugurate the festival, which presents world premiere of the movie - Unadittya from Bangladesh.

Mahesh Bhatt, Pooja Bhatt, Prakash Jha, Pankuj Parashar, Sudhir Mishra, Shyam Benegal, Manisha Koirala, Randhir Kapoor, Rishi Kapoor, Zeba Bakhtiyar and Reema Khan are some of the film personalities, who would grace the occasion.

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