#BingeRewind: A page out of a film buff's diary at various film festivals in 2023

Aishwarya Srinivasan
New Update
Film festivals

We attended a bunch of film festivals this year and it was enlightening, entertaining and an enriching experience to say the least. Here’s how our year around the festivals looked like!

Nothing else comes closer to celebrating movies the way a film festival does. The whole point of it is so that a good story sees the light of the day and reaches the maximum number of people. Film festivals are also a hub for more unconventional, artsy and independent movies that usually don’t make it to the big screens which also gives young filmmakers a platform to shine and showcase their talent to the world. It’s one place to watch films just for the love of it, to do business as filmmakers or cover it as a media personnel. They also have a lot of glamour attached to it as red carpet events held on each day become the talk of the town. By the end of it, the best of best from the festival are given awards as well. It’s a very meticulously planned event to discuss and experience all things cinema, and give cinephiles something exciting to look forward to that often leaves us exhausted but rather fulfilled too!

Also Read: #BingeRewind: 14 phenomenal performances in movies that left a major impact on our minds in 2023

Here's our experience!

Kashish Film Festival

Kashish Film Festival was an eye opener in terms of watching Queer inclusive films. It totally proved the line it goes by about it being the biggest LGBTQIA+ film festival in Asia. Queer centric films from all over the world were a part of the festival and the makers of most of these films were in attendance to speak about their process. It was a fascinating experience for us overall as we had never seen a drag performance before or watched so many LGBTQIA+ films from different languages. We also got an opportunity to speak to some of the directors whose films were being screened. They shared their thoughts, the challenges they faced while filming and the message they wanted the audiences to learn from it. What we also really liked was that even the small food stall that they had arranged was a cafe run by transgender women which shows their efforts to be inclusive in every sense.

Indian Film Project 

The Indian Film Project gave us access to a lot of popular and iconic faces from the industry. To be able to be present while they share their wisdom on such interesting topics was a one of a kind experience. Be it Vir Das (who is now an Emmy winner) talking about how you have to take a chance on yourself and keep trying or Konkana Sen Sharma sharing her thoughts on female pleasure and how she went about with the filming of Lust Stories 2, the entire crowd was filled with movie buffs who had so many questions to ask the panelists.

It was a rare sight seeing Imran Khan answering questions and getting so much love from the audience. Everyone of course had only one question to ask him and that was, "When will we see you back on-screen?" or when everyone asked the iconic cast of Go Goa Gone about a sequel. There was also a fan zone where people could go talk to their favorite celebrities up close, there was live music and also food/ small business stalls that people could buy from. All in all, it was a regular flea like experience with a twist of easy access to Bollywood celebrities. Could only happen in Mumbai, right?

Mumbai Film Festival

Mumbai Film Festival is a one stop shop for all cinephiles every single year to watch critically acclaimed and rarely accessible films from all over the world. With this, there’s also a series of masterclasses from legends of Hindi and World cinema where they share insights about the making of some of their classic films. This year, the main festival hub was NMACC, where we got to watch this year’s Palm D’or nominee from Cannes Film Festival aka ‘Monster’ by Hirokazu Koreeda, and Bradley Cooper’s directorial Maestro which is now creating Oscar buzz.

Because the film festival happens on such a large scale, not only do you feel like you’re a part of something really fancy but you also have movies at your disposal even before their actual release. Since we had the press ID, it also felt really cool that the best seats at every show were reserved for us, especially at places like the Grand Theatre at NMACC. We skipped the daily 8 am ticket bookings, standing in long lines and were easily able to watch any movie you wished to which majorly helped us cover films that haven't been released yet or are very talked about.

By the end of it, even though we were super tired to sit in a theater everyday and watch a film, it was truly a privilege to be able to do this. Looking at it in hindsight, we managed to cover movies of all kinds, of different genres, languages, and just unique stories that we usually wouldn’t get to watch in mainstream cinemas.

Jio Cinema Film Festival

A virtual film festival of short films that went on for almost a month, Jio Cinema Film Festival gave some wonderful gems and stories in just under 15 to 30 minutes. Regardless of how these stories were, each short story had something to say and it left you with something. These films also commented on a lot of things compared to most feature films. This reinstated the importance of  short films and why we need to appreciate them more. We personally enjoyed watching 7 movies a week and reviewing them!

Did you attend any of these film festivals this year? Let us know your experience in the comments below!

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