The first ever Diorama International Film Festival was hosted in Delhi from 14 – 20 January 2019 at the Siri Fort Auditorium which opened in the presence of the festival director Manoj Srivastava and industry veterans like Randhir Kapoor, Rahul Rawail, and Rajiv Kapoor. As many as 104 films were screened during the course of the week-long festival. The opening film of the festival was Pia Sukanya’s Bombairiya, starring Radhika Apte, Ravi Kishan, Siddhant Kapoor, Amit Sial, and Adil Hussain.
Several noted personalities from all across the globe graced the seven-day festival including eminent dignitaries like Nik Powell (Former Chairman, European Film Academy), Beatrix de la Gandara, Mozhgan Taraneh (Renowned Actress, Iran), (Renowned Film Producer-Spain), Barbara Lorey de la Charriere (Film Critic, France), Philip Cheah (Founder, Asia Pacific Film Lab, Singapore), noted Indian filmmaker Shaad Ali, Indian actors Pawan Malhotra, Dipak Tijori, Divya Dutta and various Ambassadors as well as Cultural Counselors.
While Ayushmann Khurrana won the Golden Sparrow for Best Indian Actor (male) for Sriram Raghavan’s Andhadhun, Taapsee Pannu won the Golden Sparrow for Best Actor (female) for Anubhav Sinha’s Mulk. Also at the festival the lifetime achievement awards were given to the legendary Iranian filmmaker Daruish Mehrjui and veteran Indian film director Subhash Ghai.
In the direction department, Sriram Raghavan won the Golden Sparrow for Best Indian Feature for his crime thriller Andhadhun. The Silver Sparrow for Best International Film went to Miaomiao Liu's Red Flower and Green Leaves. The Golden Sparrow for Best Editing went to Kabir Singh Chowdhry’s Mehsampur. Also, Aushim Khetrapal won the best spiritual film of the century award for the film Sai Baba.
One of the major attractions of the festival was the Film Bazaar during which as many as 12 international films and 40 short films from the festival’s international competition were either purchased or underwent negotiations as cinema business close to USD 3 million was transacted in the form of film deals, co-production support, or other offers. Kunal Srivastav, who is the director of the Diorama Film Bazaar, saw this as a great beginning and promised a much bigger portfolio of films in the coming years.
Even since the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) has move to Goa, Delhiites have been craving for a proper film festival that can satiate their needs for both regional as well as world cinema. The way Diorama International Film Festival has started it certainly gives hope that in the years to come it may be able to fill the huge void created by the absence of IFFI but a lot of work needs to be done to in order to reach there but festival director Manoj Srivastava, with his three decade experience in film festival management, seems committed to the cause.