The 'K' flavour at Habitat Film Fest

The Habitat International Film Festival (HIFF) is back after two years of hiatus. This year the festival’s USP is a special segment of Korean films

A still from ‘Jhini Bini Chadariya’
A still from ‘Jhini Bini Chadariya’
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Garima Sadhwani

The Habitat International Film Festival, back after two years of hiatus due to the pandemic, is a two-in-one edition this year, combining the signature Habitat Film Festival which celebrates Pan-Indian cinema with its international counterpart.

Vidyun Singh, the Creative Head of Programmes at the Habitat World, says it was a breathless race against time to “finish the hundreds of things that needed to get done”. Says she, “The biggest challenge was including a limited segment of Indian films, as part of the world cinema of this edition, which has left a lot of the Indian filmmakers disappointed.”

The USP for this edition is a special segment of Korean films that have been curated for screening, in collaboration with the Korean Cultural Centre which is celebrating 10 years of its presence in India.

Still from ‘Calm with Horses’
Still from ‘Calm with Horses’

“Korean cinema or ‘K’ movies have gained immense popularity and audiences in India, especially over the last two years through the OTT platforms. The fact that this package could be curated was a stroke of luck for the Festival," Singh adds.

What is also interesting is that the Habitat Centre has put diversity at the forefront of this festival. Singh says that they’ve not just added films transcending languages, but also regions, experiences, emotions, social strata, gender, and more.

“As a canvas, this festival is an anthology of human emotions and within that- there are the voices by women, voices of women, voices for women, voices of the marginalized, of the handicapped, of the wronged, and the victimized along with voices of strength, of fortitude, of grit, determination and of hope,” says the programmer.

The 'K' flavour at Habitat Film Fest
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What Singh likes the most about this year’s festival is that films made by students of the Kieslowski Film School, Katowice, Poland, have happily surprised all the organisers, who felt that there was a certain maturity and skill of craft that shined from their work. Other than that, Singh says, the established names have continued to impress the team.

However, not void of controversy, the Habitat International Film Festival is also screening Asghar Farhadi’s A Hero, for which the filmmaker has been charged with plagiarism. Singh clarifies that they had already confirmed its screening before the allegations even surfaced, and since it’s not a competitive festival, there should be no contentions about the screening. She added that the award-winning director’s work is something that the audiences are looking forward to watching.

(The Habitat International Film Festival is scheduled to take place from May 6th to May 15th at the India Habitat Centre in New Delhi)

(This was first published in National Herald on Sunday)

The 'K' flavour at Habitat Film Fest

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