Film festival and Human Rights—Talk about India Film Festival

India is one the most important film production countries in the world. Hindi film industry is very prosperous alongside Hollywood in US. Indian films are mainly to meet the huge domestic demand in India and popular in the countries or areas with large numbers of Indian immigrants. When mentioned Indian films, people usually think of Bollywood. Bollywood is the Indian Hindi-language means “Hindi Cinema”, based in the city of Mumbai. India held its first International Film Festival in 1952. Nowadays Indian Film Festivals has been a third world film event (Raj, 2015).

Usually a film festival is not only a place for screening the world’s outstanding films, but also as an arena to deliver thoughts, contribute to the cultural exchanges of different countries, and providing a marketing opportunity to the producers. A successful film festival can also promote the development of tourism industry.

Because some of the film material comes from real life, film festival also reflects the ongoing social, political and other contemporary factors. Like other film festivals around the world, India film festival also involves with many human rights issues. For example, reject the movies because the content of the film is controversial, the bias of ideological, political influence etc. The film festival has its strict censorship system, but the dilemma is around film censorship which sometimes could suppress the freedom of film expression due to different values and it is harmful to promote true, liberal cinema.

The Mumbai International Film Festival was held in 2002, the anti-nuclear film “War and Peace” had received an award (Raj, 2015), but it was refused to screen in Kolkata by India Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. As a result, the film division had to drop the film without any explanation to the press and the public. Another case about censorship is the movie “Papilio Buddha” produced by an Indo- American filmmaker. In 2012 the India Central Board of Film Certification board rejected the movie is because the film may cause disruption of communal peace in the city. But the producer argued that no showing violence in the film would not change the reality.

Actually, the dispute about the suppression of human rights always happen at multifarious film festivals, even in US, Canada and UK, some developed countries. There are some films cannot pass the domestic censorship and sent to attend overseas film festivals. The success of the film festival usually faces three critical challenges: funding, censorship and distribution.

Although film festivals are limited by some factors. The film festival is a platform for expressing art, culture and reality, enabling the audience to know different culture and the reality of history and contrast the social reality. Filmgoers can participate in some interactive activities like panel discussion, film forum, workshop of the film festival. Film festivals are more or less a cultural event to bring more good movies to the audience, and important medium to transmission contemporary unseen realms of cultural and politics.



Raj, SJ, Sreekumar, R, & K., N 2015, ‘Vikalp to Papilo Buddha: The Hidden Politics of Exhibiting and the Forbidden Zones of Indian Film Festivals’, Amity Journal of Media & Communications Studies (AJMCS), vol. 4, no. 1/2, pp. 21-37.

Edwards, R 2013, ‘Guarding the Festival Gates’, Metro, no. 178, p. 100.

Peaslee, RM 2013, ‘Media Conduction: Festivals, Networks, and Boundaried Spaces’, International Journal of Communication (19328036), vol. 7, pp. 811-830.

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