River to River. Florence Indian Film Festival

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River to River. Florence Indian Film Festival
River to River 2012 Logo.jpg
The Festival Logo
Dates 7–13 December 2012
Location(s) Florence, Italy
Years active 2001 - today
Patron(s) Selvaggia Velo

River to River. Florence Indian Film Festival is an annual film festival in Florence, Italy that showcases independent and low-budget Indian films. It is under the patronage of the Embassy of India in Italy and is the first film festival in the world entirely devoted to films from and about India.

The festival, founded and run by Selvaggia Velo, is supported by Mediateca Regionale Toscana-Film Commission as part of the Cinquanta Giorni di Cinema Internazionale a Firenze. The 2010 festival took place from 3 to 9 December at Odeon, a 1920s-style theatre located in the heart of Florence.

The Festival[edit]

The first edition of the River to River. Florence Indian Film Festival took place in October 2001 in Florence, Italy, as the first festival in the world totally devoted to Indian cinema and films about India, including Sri Lanka, Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Indian cinema had been recognized outside of its country of origin, but the Golden Lion won by Mira Nair with Monsoon Wedding at the Venice Film Festival in 2001 inspired new interest on an international level. Indian cinema has traditionally been best known for the mainstream masala films of Bollywood; the goal of the River to River. Florence Indian Film Festival is to promote the less prominent independent and parallel films of India. Every year feature films, short films and documentaries are screened at the festival.


The first River to River. Florence Indian Film Festival was held in 2001. The works were low budget, part of the festival's aim to focus on directors who deal in a strong and innovative way with stories about topical questions, but are crushed by the commercial machine of Bollywood. During its first year, the festival had a large audience and a positive press response. The 8 films shown were from directors like Dev Benegal, Biju Viswanath and Preeti Chandrakant.


The second year of the Festival, which was held at Florence from 11 to 15 December, showcased a large selection of independent productions. It included a tribute to the Bengali director Ritwik Ghatak and to the 17 documentaries of TFSA (Travelling Film South Asia). The guests of the Festival were the directors Rahul Bose and Anand Patwardhan, and journalist Uma da Cunha.


In the festival's third year a variety of films were screened: Maqbool by Vishal Bhardwaj, Matrubhoomi-A Nation Without Women by Manish Jha, Chokher Bali by Rituparno Ghosh and the short film by Amit Kumar, "The Bypass". Special events included the screening of India seen by Rossellini; Om Puri Night, a tribute to the Indian actor; and the preview of TFSA (Travelling Film South Asia) 2004. The River to River. Manish Jha won the Digimovies Audience Award for his film Matrubhoomi - A Nation Without Women by Manish Jha. The special guests of the festival were the directors Roysten Abel and Manish Jha, the journalist and director Meenakshi Shedde, and Uma da Cunha.


The 2004 River to River. Florence Indian Film Festival closed with the screening of the outside programme Eyes on India, documentaries on India shot by Western directors, and the screening of the black comedy Shit Happens by Shashanka Ghosh, winner of the FIFF Digimovies Audience Award.

Among the 2004 screenings were Let the Wind Blow by Partho Sen Gupta, White Noise by Vinta Nanda, the short film Holly Bolly by Dishad Husain, and Goutam Ghose’s Impermanence. Ray, a documentary on Satyajit Ray was screened before the Ray Trilogy.

Among the festival guests were filmmakers Goutam Ghose, Herbert Krill, Dishad Husain, Vinta Nanda and Partho Sen Gupta, actress Koel Purie and producer Mohanjit Singh.


The 2005 festival was held from 9 to 15 December, closing with the screening of Notes for a Film on India (1967–68) by Pier Paolo Pasolini and Calcutta (1969) by Louis Malle, a cinematographic portrait of the Indian city where devotees, beggars and streets swarming with people play the leading role. The festival also featured a retrospective devoted to producer and director Ismail Merchant.

The winners of the Florence Indian Film Festival Digichannel Audience Award in the 3 sections were: Sof Haolam Smola (Turn Left at the End of the World) by Avi Nesher (best feature film), "6 ft. in 7 min." by Rafael Del Toro (best short film), and Between the Lines by Thomas Wartmann (best documentary).


The sixth edition of the Festival took place from 8 to 14 December. Films screened at the Festival were: Maine Gandhi Ko Nahin Mara (I did not kill Gandhi) by Assamese director Jahnu Barua, dealing with the universal subject of senile dementia in a quintessentially Indian setting, the death of Gandhi; the gangster-story Dubai Return by Aditya Bhattacharya; and Dombivli Fast by Nishikant Kamat. The surreal "The Cherry on Top and Flower Girl" premiered in the short films section and the documentaries Kalasam by Anna Pitscheider, Cricket Cup by Massimiliano Pacifico and Diego Liguori, and Waiting by Shabnam Ara and Atul Gupta were screened in the documentary section.

The Festival included a retrospective on Mira Nair (Salaam Bombay and Monsoon Wedding).

A special screening of Notturno Indiano by Alain Corneau took place on the last evening. From Antonio Tabucchi’s short story, Notturno Indiano tells the story of a nameless traveller who arrives in Mumbai in search of a friend.

The winners of the FIFF Digichannel Audience Award were also screened on the last day of the festival:

  • feature films: Infinite Justice by Pakistani director Jamil Dehlavi, a story inspired by the real murder of the American journalist Daniel Pearl;
  • short films: the ironic Dog by Daniel Lang, in which the director imagines he dies and is reincarnated as an Indian stray dog;
  • documentaries: the 40-year-long filmed letters of I for India by Sandhya Suri.


The 2007 Festival took place from 7 to 13 December as part of 50 Days of International Cinema in Florence at the historic cinema Gambrinus. A retrospective of Bimal Roy was given during the Festival, ending with the screening of Bandini. A portion of the 2007 ticket sales were donated to Médecins Sans Frontières to help the victims of Cyclone Sidr in Bangladesh.

The winners of the River to River Digichannel Audience Award were:


In 2008 the Festival showcased the works of Raj Kapoor. The three winning films of the Advantage India 3 minute film competition were also screened.

During the final evening, the River to River Digichannel Audience Awards were announced:


Guru Dutt was highlighted at the 2007 Festival with workshops on the music in his films. Other workshops were taught on gender issues in India.

The winners of the River to River Digichannel Audience Awards were:


The 10th edition of the River to River. Florence Indian Film Festival, under the patronage of Embassy of India, has had its last day on 9 December, with great attendance and feedback of the audience and the press, confirming furtherly the importance of the 50 Giorni di Cinema Internazionale a Firenze and the historical beauty of Odeon Cinema Hall.

There has been a large appreciation among the audience and the Industry people for the films in competition, the Opening and Closing films directed by Aparna Sen, the special sections and the retrospective devoted to Satyajit Ray (in collaboration with the Directorate of Film Festivals of New Delhi, the National Film Archive of India in Pune and the National Film Development Corporation of Mumbai), and the Spazio Uno screenings.

During the Festival the morning talks at Odeon Cinema Hall and the collaborations with Marino Marini Museum for the photo exhibition Satyajit Ray: Filmmaker in Creative Passion by Nemai Ghosh, and with Palazzo Tornabuoni have had great relevance.

A big variety of guests: The directors and actors of the feature films: Aparna Sen (director of Iti Mrinalini, The Japanese Wife and Mr. and Mrs. Iyer), Rahul Bose (actor in I Am, The Japanese Wife, Split Wide Open, Mr. and Mrs. Iyer and director and actor of Everybody Says I’m Fine!), Ajit Ahuja (co-director of Ishqyia), Onir (director of I Am) and Malaika Shenoy (actress in Peepli Live).

Some of the directors of the short movies and documentaries: Prithi Gowda (Televisnu), Arati Kadav, Devendra Gandhi and Chetan Vora (Uss Paar), Franco La Cecla (Minimum Maharaja), Jan Michelini and Italo Spinelli (The Streets of Shantaram), Rupesh Paul (You Can’t Step Twice in the Same River), Michael Anthony Rawlins (Kiss Me A’ready), Rizwan Siddiqui (Kharboozey) and Vijay Singh (India by Song).

With the participation of the Ambassador of India to Italy Debabrata Saha, the Vice President of Regione Toscana Stella Targetti and the Culture Councillor of Regione Toscana Cristina Scaletti.

The winners of River to River Digichannel Audience Award have been announced in the final evening: - Feature films: the intense and moving I Am by Onir - Short films: the travel in mind of Grant St. Shaving Co. by Payal Sethi - Documentaries: India by Song by Vijay Singh, an extraordinary musical portrait of India

After the assignment of the awards, the three winners of the Advantage India Competition and the Closing Film, the fascinating The Japanese Wife by Aparna Sen based on a novel by Kunal Basu has been screened.[1][2]


The 11th edition of the Festival has taken place from 2 to 8 December 2011 at Odeon cinema.

Among the Festival guests, the directors and actors of the feature films Rudronil Ghosh (actor in Chaplin), Zaib Rehman (actress in Bol) and Q (director of Gandu).

Some of the directors of the short films and documentaries: Milind Dhaimade (director of Prakata Het Yad), Valerie Berteau and Philippe Witjes (directors of Himself He Cooks), Filippo Carli (director of Nataraja) and Anubhav Syal (cinematographer of Gulcharrey).

Furthermore, the speakers of the morning talks have been: Sauro Albisani, Franca Bacchiega, Fabrizia Baldissera, Maria Grazia Beverini del Santo and Folco Terzani.


External links[edit]