The second edition of Guwahati International Film Festival (GIFF) has a strong presence of ASEAN films making the event a connecting medium for people-to-people contact with the South East Asian nations.

The region focus this year is the ASEAN countries under which at least 11 films will be screened during the festival.

On Friday, Assam Industries and Commerce and Act East Affairs Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary inaugurated the ‘ASEAN Section’ of the film festival at Srimanta Sankardev Kalakshetra. Cambodian film ‘In the Life of Music’ directed by Caylee So and Sok Visal was screened at the beginning of the ASEAN Section of the film festival.

Addressing the gathering, minister Patowary said that India and ASEAN have a common history of socio-economic affinity and films and cultural exchanges are another medium to strengthen the bond.

The minister stated that connectivity in the form of road, rail, water, air and I-way are crucial for development. Patowary referred to various government schemes and initiatives in strengthening India’s relation and cooperation with neighbouring countries. He elaborated that schemes like four-laning of national highways, new terminal of Guwahati airport, air connectivity of Guwahati with six capital cities of ASEAN, access to Chittagong port etc. will boost trade and commerce and accelerate all round development of the region.

The Act East Policy Affairs Minister also referred to the ambitious trilateral highway project connecting the North-East Region with Myanmar and ASEAN countries.

Myanmar Ambassador to India, Moe Kyaw Aung, stressed on cooperation in sectors like tourism, trade and commerce. He also advocated for people-to-people contact and cultural exchange programmes for enhancing the relations among ASEAN countries.

More than a dozen of diplomats and film personalities are scheduled to visit the festival which has emerged as the biggest film festival in the region.

The organizers believe that the people-to-people contact will help in realizing the Act East policy of the government of India.

At least 11 films from the region are likely to be screened during the festival.

“This time we want to screen films from the ASEAN countries which will be the part of the region in focus. Besides, delegates from these countries will also be a part of the festival. I think it will help the ASEAN come closer to Northeast India which is the gateway to the South East Asian nations. I think it’s a great platform for the exchange of thoughts and culture,” festival director Monita Borgohain told the News Mill.

The festival, which 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) will focus on the students of the northeast region.

“We have a sizeable number of diplomats and also cast and crew members of several films which will be screened here during the festival will be in Guwahati. They will also interact with the viewers and journalists here. I think the people to people contact of the two regions will be definitely give a boost to the Act East police of the Central government,” Rahul Jain, artistic director of the GIFF said.

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