Arts and Entertainment
Director withdraws film from fest alleging ill-treatment
National Award winning filmmaker Bidyut Kotoky has withdrawn his film from the 1st Guwahati International Documentary, Short and Animation Film Festival (GIDSAFF), beginning Tuesday, alleging ill-treatment by the organisers.
Kotoky’s critically acclaimed film, ‘Guns and Guitars – a musical travelogue’, is on the positive influence of music emanating from youths amidst violence sponsored by state and non-state forces in North East during the past 50 years.
It had been chosen as an Official Selection of the Indian Panorama in the International Film Festival of India in 2016.
In a Facebook post, Kotoky criticised the manner in which he was informed about selection of his film and made public the communication between him and the organisers.
The organisers, however, said there might have been some communication gap and Kotoky should have talked to them instead of going public.
The three-day-long GIDSAFF is being organised by the Assam Government-owned Jyoti Chitraban (film studio) Society in association with Dr Bhupen Hazarika Regional Government Film and Television Institute with a platter of 105 films from 25 countries.
The director of “Xhoixobote Dhemalite” (Rainbow fields) that won awards at US film fests, alleged in a Facebook post that the Festival Director had informed him about selection of ‘Guns and Guitars’ on January 12, just 10 days before the festival.
Expressing surprise over such a late communication, Kotoky said he sent a mail two days later seeking some clarifications.
The mail, the contents of which were shared on the social media, narrated the sequence of events how the director came to know about the festival and how the film was selected.
It claimed that with no intimation given till January 11, Kotoky reached out to Jyoti Chitraban Chairman Pabitra Margherita “as I was scheduled to travel out of station the next day & was curious to know why I was treated in such an unprofessional manner”.
He said he received the Festival Director’s mail confirming the selection of the film when he was in the airport in the evening of January 12.
Kotoky said in the mail to Festival Director, “The film has been to 17 film festivals across the globe till date, including Indian Panorama. That doesn’t in any way guarantee the film’s selection – but the point I’m trying to make is nowhere I was made to feel so unwelcome.
“Believe me, I’d have nothing to complain if I was just informed in time that the film is not selected in the festival.. But keeping one hanging in such a way is not in a good taste,” he wrote.
Kotoky ended his mail saying “I hope you will understand if I say am rather pained by this entire episode.
And would rather not have my film in a festival where the film is not welcome.”
The filmmaker alleged that Festival Curator Rahul Jain called him up on January 16 and spoke to him in a rough manner, adding “Not sure whether this is the right way to run a festival”.
Kotoky also claimed that though his film was said to be selected in an unprofessional attitude, he was not invited to attend the festival till then.
When contacted, Margherita told PTI, “I personally and Jyoti Chitraban have immense regards for each and every filmmaker, including Bidyut Kotoky. We consider him to be a pride of our state. There might have been some communication gap, about which Bidyut should have spoken to us before his one-sided public outburst on social media.”
“We expect cooperation and a good-healthy relation from him in our future endeavours,” Margherita added.
Kokoty’s “Bhraimoman Theatre- where Othello sails with Titanic” based on the travelling theatre of Assam won a special mention in the National Awards in 2005.