Pune International Film Festival: Audience disappointed as screening of BAFTA-nominated short films cancelled

Pune International Film Festival, BAFTA, pune news, pune city news, maharashtra news, indian express news

A still from ‘Bachelor 38’, one of the short films from the BAFTA package.

Technical glitches continued to mar the ongoing Pune International Film Festival (PIFF) Tuesday as organisers cancelled the screening of an entire section of BAFTA-nominated short films, leaving a house packed with filmmaking students disappointed.

PIFF organisers had earlier announced that the festival will screen eight short films — a selection of British Council’s BAFTA-nominated short films — as part of its ‘Country Focus’ programme on the United Kingdom. These films, it said, represented a storytelling that reveals the diversity of the British society together with a world-class artistic and technical flair, and featured some of UK’s finest acting talents.

However, filmmaking students who had gathered at Screen No 6 of PVR at Pavillion Mall were surprised when ‘The Charcoal’ (from Azerbaizan) was screened instead of the BAFTA shorts, without prior information. Later, a representative from the festival organisers paused the screenings and informed the audience that screening of BAFTA-nominated short films had to be cancelled owing to “technical problems”. Soon after the announcement, several members from the audience reportedly left the auditorium.

Vishal Shinde, who handles programming for PIFF, clarified that the Digital Cinema Package (DCP) received from the British Council had failed and hence the films couldn’t be screened.

“The DCP failed at the eleventh hour. We got to know about it this (Tuesday) morning. We have contacted them (the British Council) and are trying to obtain the films in some other format so that they can be screened. We are yet to receive a response from them,” said Shinde.

Disapponted after the screening were cancelled, cinema enthusiast Vikrant Patil, said, “I skipped other films to watch the shorts and was surprised when they (organisers) didn’t even care to announce that there was change in schedule before the screening of ‘The Charcoal’ commenced. Only when the audience started asking them that the film being shown was not from the BAFTA package, they issued a clarification. The organisers seem to be taking the delegates for granted.”

On Tuesday evening, French movie, ‘The Portrait of a Lady on Fire’, was screened at National Film Archive of India’s (NFAI) auditorium on Law College Road without subtitles. While the subtitles were resumed within a few minutes, the film also abruptly restarted after a lapse of 10 minutes. On Monday, a low resolution YouTube downloaded version of Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s ‘Anuradha’ was screened as the auditorium reportedly did not have the facility to project a 35 mm celluloid print.