The power of cinema in integrating people, cutting across geographical boundaries and cultural differences, was stressed as the third edition of Guwahati International Film Festival (GIFF) got underway on October 31.

Speaking at the inaugural ceremony as the chief guest, veteran Polish filmmaker Krzysztof Zanussi highlighted the heights that cinema has achieved over the years. “I have seen that cinema over the years has achieved something surprising. In many of its manifestations, it has reached a level of art which is not only popular, but also belongs to higher shelf,” he said.

Dwelling on the important role of film festivals in promoting quality cinema, he said, “Film festivals promote high art rather than regular cinema. Festivals bring to local people global cinema which otherwise is not available to them.”

Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, in his speech, stressed on the power of cinema to integrate people and said, “Culture integrates the world. Filmmaking has brought the world together.”

Highlighting the rich natural beauty of Assam, Sonowal urged filmmakers to explore the potential of the state.

The Ambassadors of South Korea, Taiwan and Hungary, who were present at the inaugural ceremony, pointed to the similarities shared by their country with India, which has been time and again portrayed through cinemas.

The High Commissioner of Trinidad and Tobago hoped for greater collaboration with India in filmmaking.

Eminent film personalities Aribam S Sharma, Madhur Bhandarkar, Ricky Kej, and Adil Hussain were also present on the occasion.

The film festival, which will conclude on November 6, will showcase 100 films from 65 countries.

The Assam government-owned Jyoti Chitraban (Film Studio) Society is the organiser of the festival, in association with Dr Bhupen Hazarika Regional Government Film and Television Institute.

The opening film of the festival was the Iranian film ‘Charcoal’ (Komur) by renowned director Esmaeel Monsef, while ‘To The Desert’ (Al Desierto) by Argentinian director Ulises Rosell will be the closing film.

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