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“Centre Is Interfering In Every Aspect Of Cinema”: Leena Manimekalai At IFFC 2019

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The Independent Film Festival of Chennai 2019 kicked off at Prasad Labs in Chennai with traditional Tamil music and dance performances such as Parai Isai, Silambattam etc. Organized by the Chennai-based independent cinema initiative Thamizh Studio, the event, which is entirely crowd-funded, will take place today and tomorrow with numerous independent films being screened at Prasad 70MM and MM Preview Theater in Chennai.

Ace cinematographer PC Sreeram, Director Myskkin, Bhonsle movie director Devashish Makhija, Sincerely yours, Dhaka creative producer Mr Abu Shahed Emon, Yours Truly director Sanjoy Nag, writer and Manushangada movie director Amshan Kumar, cinematographer G Murali, Demons in Paradise director Jude Rathnam were the guests present at the event.

The event also saw a stage play by the theater group Thinai Nilam which depicted the difference between independent cinema and commercial cinema. The play also dealt with the audiences’ approach towards movie stars and the political shades of banning beef.

While PC Sreeram congratulated the team effort, director Devashish Makhija said he was a filmmaker who preferred to ask people to go and watch the film than talking about the film.

Speaking at the event, writer and filmmaker Leena Manimekalai, the event coordinator, said, “Before I start talking about the event, I would like to talk about the recently held Pune Film Festival. There were some 7 films screened and at the start of every film they played National Anthem.  And those who don’t stand for the anthem are seen indifferently by others. In this way, the Central government is interfering in every aspect of Indian cinema. It is spreading Hindu nationalism and hate politics and those who call themselves as Independent films are not really independent.”

“In these circumstances, it takes huge effort to really have an independent film festival which is done entirely by crowd-funding and we thank the audience who made this possible.”

“I have never been to any film institutes. But I learnt film making only through attending various film festivals since 2002. I can proudly say that I am a film festival student,” she said.

She also added, “Independent cinema lovers in Chennai can have a really good time with films across the borders being screened at the event.”

Image courtesy: Ram Nada, Facebook

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