By Aditi Patwardhan. Posted on December 04, 2015
Kaushik Ganguly's Chotoder Chobi was awarded the Best Feature Film award, while Ian McDonald's Algorithms received the honour of the Best Documentary Feature at the closing ceremony of the The 1st International Film Festival for the Persons with Disabilities (IFFPD), which took place in Delhi from 1st to 3rd December 2015. Goonga Pehelwan, directed by Vivek Chaudhary and Mit Jani won the Best Documentary Film award, while Basile Vuillemin's Fingertip was given the Best Short Film award. Director of Yellow, the winner of the Special Jury Award at the 61st National Film Awards, Mahesh Limaye won Special Jury Mention award at IFFPD.
While Chotoder Chobi tells the heartbreaking as well as heartwarming story of Khoka, a midget shunned by the society and his search for love, McDonald's documentary Algorithms explores the thriving but little known world of blind chess in India. Goonga Pehelwan documents the life and struggles of one of India's most accomplished differently abled athletes, Virender Singh.
Amrita Dasgupta won the Best Director for Documentary Film award for her film The new Girl in Class. The Best Director for Short Film award was given to Julia Koloenakova for Predators of Transylvania. Predators of Transylvania was the only film at the festival which is directed by a differently abled filmmaker.
Two short animation films created by the children with disabilities during a workshop conducted by Gitanjali Rao were screened at the closing ceremony along with a video message by Salman Khan.
An initiative started by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, the festival showcased various films with the aim of sensitizing the society on issues related to differently-abled persons. The unique three-days film festival held at Siri Fort was organized by the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD), Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India, in collaboration with National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) concluded on 3rd December, which is observed as the International day of Persons with Disabilities.
A total of 40 films comprising of 10 feature films, 16 short films and 14 documentaries in different languages, were screened during the festival, including Ship of Theseus by Anand Gandhi, Closer by Meghna Gulzar and Two Friends by Sravan Kumar Nunna.
The films were selected by the jury members Marco Mueller, Amir Bashir, Jayshree Raveendran, Siddharth Kak, Rajesh S Jala, Arun Chadha, Shri Lov Verma Secretary, Awanish K. Awasthi, JS, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Dept. of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities.
Marco Mueller, head of jury for the feature films section said, "India is already becoming inclusive and I really wish that in our western countries we could be as proud as you are of what has been done for the empowerment of the persons with disabilities. This time it really has been an experience, a process to be a part of the jury, because through films you can understand the emotions better and it made us understand the life of the person with disability."
Margarita, With A Straw was the closing film of the festival. Malini Chib, who is the inspiration for Kalki’s character in the film, was present at the screening. While congratulating the organizers for the festival, she said, "I think there should be more and more festivals like this, more people, more students who should come and watch the movies and understand more about disability."