Film festivals are here to stay, say experts

Prajakta Joshi
Thursday, 17 January 2019

In age of platforms such as Netflix, film lovers still prefer film fests to watch movies

Pune: Films and television series from across the world can now be watched sitting at one’s home with several streaming platforms bringing content from various corners of the globe. While film festivals were the only medium for film lovers to enjoy films from the rest of the world till a couple of years ago, today, it is possible to do that with a monthly or annual subscription of a streaming platform, good Internet connection and a laptop or a smartphone.

Despite all of this, film festivals still attract huge crowds of movie buffs, comprising a large number of young people, who are tech-savvy and Internet addicted. Even at the Pune International Film Festival (PIFF), right from students of film and television institutes to usual film lovers, everyone can be seen surfing through their catalogues, searching for foreign films to watch.

“It is not just about watching films, it is the overall experience of watching a film in a community that counts,” said Samar Nakhate from PIFF’s selection committee.

“Watching a film on a big screen with so many people around you is an experience in itself. A cinema hall provides one of the best settings to enjoy a film, as a community. Therefore, despite so many films being available to you on the Internet, people still rush to cinema halls when it comes to the experience,” he said.

Nakhate said, “One of the specialities of film festivals is that they bring exclusive content, transcend boundaries as far as its meaning and relevance is concerned. There are some films, which are not available on any streaming platform as these filmmakers cannot afford to release it there. There are so many indigenous films as well that the filmmakers cannot upload anywhere or release
commercially. Film festivals give these films a chance to reach their audience and an opportunity for true film lovers to watch them.” 

“These are the films that give a chance to the students of filmmaking to learn and get inspired,” Nakhate said. 

He said that while streaming platforms are universal, content differs from country to country. Even here, it’s the film festival that comes in handy.

“The films that we get to watch here are hardly ever available on streaming platforms, as these platforms cater more to the masses. An ardent film-lover will prefer to go to a film festival for the love of exotic content,” said Mayank Sahal, a film lover.

Another film enthusiast at PIFF, Anahita Jagwani said, “We try to look out for the films from the countries that are not very accessible or the ones that address niche and offbeat subjects. Not only are these a treat to watch, but you can learn so much from them.”

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