This festival is the only cinema event dedicating the biggest part of its programme to the pandemic, and the organisers hope that it would help to gather different experiences in one place
By Daina Baqi
TEN Covid-19-related films from India are competing in the Resistance International Film Festival (RIFF) currently under way in Tehran. The 10 Indian productions have been submitted in a newly-introduced section, “Health Defenders”, of the festival dedicated this year to honour healthcare workers and their endeavours during the pandemic.
The “Health Defenders” category has been added to the festival’s programme to document and show health workers fighting the covid-19 and thus sacrificing their lives on the path of protecting society’s health.
The 10 Indian entries are “Times of Covid” directed by Partho Kar, “The Saviour” by Arjun Mukherjee, “Light in Times of Darkness” by Sourish Mitra, “Don’t Panic, Man” by R. Sahil, “Freedom from Virus” by Arin Paul, “Mask” by Dr. Sweta Kumar Dash, “My Mom” by Rakesh Moirangthem, “Baang” by Junaid Imam Shaikh, “Sapno Ka shehar”, “Walk and Talk with Corona-virus” by Er. Abdul Rashid Bhat.
Every year the organisation committee of the RIFF questions and explores different aspects of social responsibility and adds new categories to the competition programme. This year, its definition is expanded to include dealing with the invisible threats such as viruses, and hence inclusion of the new section called “Health Defenders”.
This festival is the only cinema event dedicating the biggest part of its programme to the pandemic, and the organisers hope that it would help to gather different experiences in one place, and also to promote a further documentation of the recent events as it would become crucial evidence for the future generations.
Filmmakers from the United States, Brazil, Spain, Italy, Britain, France, India, Turkey, Iraq, Germany, Pakistan, Portugal, Russia, Malaysia have already submitted more than 300 films to compete in this section of the festival and thus to express their gratitude to the health defenders from all around the world.
RIFF, a carefully-curated programme, has earned this festival recognition from viewers and industry professionals alike. American filmmakers such as Michael Moore, Oliver Stone as well as many other artistes from more than a hundred countries have participated with their documentaries and films in this festival.
Also, many renowned international guests and exceptional filmmakers have come directly to present their films and interact with viewers. They include David Barsamian, Scott Frank, Rafael Lara, Darnell Stephen Summers, Yvonne Anne Ridley, Jasmin Durakovic, Robert Hofferer, Diana Kamal-al Din, Rashed Radwan, Yousef Wehbi, Ahmed Boulane, Basil al-Khatib, Saddam Wahidi Melika, Zairi Alper Akdeniz, Thomas Hayes and Daz Chandler.
RIFF is divided in two parts that will be held on separate dates. The first part that includes the “Health Defenders” section and is currently under way in Tehran started on September 21 and will continue until September 27.
The second part dedicated for the “Main Competition” is scheduled for November 21-27.
This year the event will go online due to a spike in the coronavirus cases in the country.