Osian’s Cinefan Film Festival, the largest film festival devoted to Asian and Arab cinema, is part of Osian’s Film House Division. The festival celebrated its 10th anniversary in July 2008. Cinefan began in 1999 as an outgrowth of Cinemaya, a quarterly Asian cinema magazine published from New Delhi since 1988.
Marking a return after a gap of 2 years, Osian’s Cinefan Festival of Asian and Arab Cinema proved to be the biggest film event in the country with as many as 176 films from India and 38 other Asian and the Arab countries. Osian’s Cinefan Film festival, which was held recently in New Delhi from 27 July to 5 August 2012 at the Siri Fort Complex at the Kila Complex, and the Blue Frog, had 15 world premieres, 8 international premieres, 104 Indian premieres and 13 Asian premieres.
The films were shown within a framework which focused on freedom of creative thought and expression. Five landmark films from the history of cinema made against prevailing censorship norms – Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Salo, Virginie Despentes and Coralie Trinh-Thi’s Baise-Moi, Shuji Terayama’s Emperor Tomato Ketchup, the Devika Rani-Himanshu Rai starrer Karma and Jafar Panahi’s This is Not a Film – were also screened in the festival. However, it was Anurag Kashyap’s Gangs of Wasseypur Part 1 and Part 2 that stole the show. The tickets for both parts, screened back to back during the festival, were completely sold out.
A new component this year was the introduction of music with performances by renowned artistes every night at Blue Frog under the shadows of the Qutab Minar. Osian is establishing an Osianama Arts Complex for promoting art and good cinema culture. It will be coming up in the Kila Complex in New Delhi by September. The Japanese film Asura by Keiichi Sato of Japan opened the Festival on 27 July and the Bengali film Chitrangada by Rituparno Ghosh was the closing film. This film had its Indian premiere at the Osian’s Cinefan Festival. The Asian and Arab competition with 12 films were judged by Marco Mueller who is the artistic director of the Rome Film Festival. Members included the eminent Indian filmmaker Muzaffar Ali, Iranian filmmaker Ali Mostafa, Egyptian director Magdi Ahmed Ali and the American filmmaker James V. Hart. Mueller delivered the first Mani Kaul Memorial Lecture and Hart held a master class on 2 August which was marked as Horror Day because of the genre in which he has specialised. The Indian jury which saw nine films was headed by Iranian filmmaker Hamid Dabashi, Indian director and film critic Khalid Mohammed, renowned actor Lillete Dubey, Annemarie Jacir from Jordan, Afghanistan-born filmmaker Atiq Rahimi, and Dutch documentary filmmaker Sonia Herman Dolz. The First Features Jury judging nine films had eminent filmmaker Huseyin Karabey, Korean actor and writer Jeon Kyu-hwan and Indian filmmaker Gurvinder Singh. The shorts competition jury which judged 12 films comprised Iranian filmmaker Panah Panahi, independent Indian filmmaker Ashvin Kumar and National Award-winning filmmaker Umesh Kulkarni. China, Estonia, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Japan, Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Morocco and Algeria among many other countries participated in the festival.
Another highlight of the festival was the first Osian’s Cinefan Film Festival Auction of Indian Cinema Memorabilia. It turned out to be a grand success with sales of Rs. 69.55 lakh. The auction offered vintage and rare posters, show-cards, stills, song-synopsis booklets among other artefacts.