The second edition of Guwahati International Film Festival (GIFF) got underway on Thursday with the participation of ambassadors from Serbia, Latvia and Lithuania.

Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal, who formally inaugurated the festival, said the seven-day fest will bring the people of Northeast India closer to people of the globe and especially the ASEAN nations, which is a crucial development as far as the Act East Policy of the Union government is concerned.

“I consider today to be a great day for the people of Assam and the entire Northeast India, because the theme of this festival is to integrate the world and the ethos of cultural movement,” said the chief minister in his inaugural speech.

The festival is being organised by the state government-owned Jyoti Chitraban (Film Studio) Society in association with Dr Bhupen Hazarika Regional Government Film and Television Institute (DBHRGFTA).

Noting that the theme of this year’s GIFF is ‘world is a family’, the CM said: “It’s a great platform to connect this part of the country to the rest of the world. The theme of the festival, ‘Vasudeva Kutumbakam’, teaches us to live together, work together and grow together. Film is the medium which
plays a crucial role in fulfilling this aim.”

More than 100 films from around the globe will be screened during the seven-day festival.

Several prominent filmmakers, artistes and crew members from the ASEAN countries have already arrived in Guwahati to experience the sights and sounds of the one-of-its-kind festival in this part of the country.

The CM also stressed on greater participation of students and youths in the festival and expressed the view that it would promote creativity and positivity amongst them. He also mentioned about the thrust given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi through the ‘Act East policy’ for development of Northeast. “The festival would give an emphatic boost to his initiatives. The state government is making all efforts to transform Guwahati as the gateway to South East Asia and the film festival is an addition in this regard,” he said.

The Ambassador of Lithuania Julius Pranevicius, Ambassador of Serbia Vladimir Maric and Latvian Ambassador-designate also spoke on the occasion.

Among other attractions, there will be master classes by Amrit Pritam and Debajit Changmai on Friday, and by Frank Martinez from the US on October 28. The master class sessions will be held from 3pm-5pm.

At least 15 films from the ASEAN region will be screened during the festival. “We want to screen films from the ASEAN countries as that’s the region in focus for GIFF-2018. Besides, delegates from these countries will also be part of the festival. I think it will help the ASEAN countries get closer to northeast India, which is the gateway to the South East Asian nations. I think it’s a great platform for exchange of thoughts and culture,” festival director Monita Borgohain said.

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