Choice of judge at film festival bewildering
By Gautaman Bhaskaran
HYDERARAD, NOV 17
The International Children’s film Festival has had a good fare to show till date. But does it have a good set of judges ? This question is being asked ever so often here.
Mr. Ruskin Bond, that delighted friend of the child, was to have headed the prestigious International Jury, but had to say ‘no’, because he is reportedly ill. The Festival organiser, Children’s Film Society, India, had enough time to find a chairman of equal eminence but that it obviously did not is apparent from the choice it made. Ms Bhanumathi Ramakrishna may have been a great actress, but her contribution to children's cinema or literature has been woefully negligible. Many people here are bewildered by this choice
This seems all the more glaring in the face of other names on the International Jury. Mr. Ari Kristinsson is an movie- maker of repute from Iceland. He has directed several pictures for the young both for the big and small screen. "Children of Nature", which he photographed, was nominated for the Oscar in 1992 as the best foreign film.
Mr. Marco Muller is not only a scholar but also heads the Locarno Film Festival. He has been a critic for serious European periodicals, well-known writer and editor. Mr. Noboru Ishiguro from Japan has directed the gripping animation series, ‘Moomin’ and ‘Vicke the Viking’, and is generally considered an expert in this field. Mr. Sudhir Dhar is a name that needs absolutely no introduction: his pocket cartoons, ‘Out of My Mind’, were a rage not only with The Statesman readers, but just about everybody else. And some of these original drawings are in the prized and personal possession of Queen Elizebeth, Henry Kissinger and the like.
The Festival would also have other questions to answer. One of the movies competing for the top international prizes, ‘Nandan’ (in Oriya) by Mr A.K. Bit probably does not qualify at all to be in the running. Mr. Bir is on one of the councils of the Children’s Film Society, which conducts this Festival. Should a person
so closely involved with the organisers be allowed to have his work in competition ? This appears unethical, and would perhaps never have been allowed anywhere else in the world. Sources agree that it indeed is, but the ultimate decision rests with the four juries: International, Asian Panorama (headed by Mr C. Narayana Reddy), Critics Jury (chaired by that well-known name in and outside the media, Ms Amita Malik) and a Children’s Jury.