With renewed interest in children's films, especially animation, the 18th International Children's Film Festival, India, (ICFFI) is set to carry forward the trend by presenting an interesting bouquet of 200 films from 48 countries. Starting Thursday, the event is expected to be attended by 150,000 children.
The seven-day festival, popularly known as the Golden Elephant, is being organised by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, Children's Film Society, India (CFSI), and the Andhra Pradesh state government.
"The festival will unfold at a time when there is a renewed interest in children's film, especially animation films. Keeping that in mind, we have brought lot of animation films from across the world to let children and the audience enjoy them," Shravan Kumar, CEO CFSI, told IANS.
"Animation has seen a qualitative and quantitative increase. Overall production of children's film in last decade has increased," he added.
The fest is crossing barriers and achieving various milestones. For the first time, ICFFI has received 285 animation films, a formidable quantity from across the globe.
Keeping in mind the large number of animation features, Competition Animation has been introduced this year.
"Pororo: The Racing Adventure", "The World Of Goopi And Bagha" and "Arjun" are some of the movies that will compete under the new category.
"Everyday there will be workshops on filmmaking, animation, script writing and theatre," Shravan Kumar said.
Other competitons categories are international live action, competition shorts and little directors.
Open forums will also be held on topics like rights of child actors, inclusive cinema representing the differently abled.
Around 150,000 children are expected to attend the festival, which will present films from countries like Afghanistan, Ireland, Argentina and Peru. Organising these was not a cakewalk for the organisers.
"Challenges have been many. This time we received an enormous amount of response from across the world. South America, which was not represented earlier, has sent around 26 films this time," Shravan Kumar said.
"There have been challenges in reaching out to the world at large," he said, adding the other challenge has been getting children delegates from various parts of the world.
The 18th ICFFI will have a country focus retrospective of Czech films in collaboration with Zlin film festival, Czech Republic.
One of the main aims is to introduce children in India to cultures, lives and experiences of nations and people that they have limited access to.
While getting exposure to culture of various countries, children will also get a taste of Bollywood.
The "Ek Tha Tiger" star, Salman has lent support via an audio-visual presentation.
Actress Swara Bhaskar, on the other hand, is one of the selection committee members.
"There will be big stars from south film industry as well. The filmmaker Amole Gupte (chairman CFSI), who specialises in children's films, will also be present," said Shravan Kumar.
A section has also been dedicated to 100 years of Indian cinema.
"Gopi Gawaiyya Bagha Baiyaya", "Kaphal" and "Jaldeep" are some of the films that will be screened in this section.