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Mumbai: The SCO Film Festival 2023 opened in a glittering ceremony in Mumbai on Friday evening. Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Anurag Thakur, and Union Minister of State for External Affairs and Culture, Meenakshi Lekhi, lighted the traditional lamp to open the film festival. Renowned actress Hema Malini, actors Akshay Kumar, Tiger Shroff, Poonam Dhillon, Esha Gupta other film personalities were present in the opening ceremony.

Addressing the august gathering, Mr. Thakur said the government aims to make India a content and post production hub. He said the government has launched incentive schemes to enable shooting of foreign films in India and for co-production of audio-visual content. 

Mr. Thakur said India has the largest community of creative minds, tech talent and skilled manpower, cost efficiency and world class post production facilities and hence the government is keen to develop the country as the world’s choice to shoot its content and also for post production of films.

Stating that the SCO region represents 40 percent of the world population and 30 percent of global GDP, Mr. Thakur said this festival provides an incredible opportunity to forge cinematic partnership between the countries of this region. Mr. Thakur said India aims to hold exchange of film-making programmes as cinema is a powerful medium to connect with the masses.

Stating that it is the first time the SCO Film Festival is being held in India, Mr. Thakur said the festival has recorded its largest ever participation with the lineup of 58 movies from 14 countries. The concept and theme of the festival is  Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. Stating that 2023 is a special year as India holds the G20 Presidency along with the Chairmanship of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, 

Mr. Thakur said the theme augurs well with the G20 theme of “One Earth. One Family. One Future”. The minister said it is time to collaborate to showcase the rich civilization,  culture and cooperation among the SCO region to the



world.

Also speaking on the occasion, Union Minister of State for External Affairs and Culture, Meenakshi Lekhi expressed hope that the festival and the various activities will offer a platform to India’s extended neighborhood to collaborate and form joint ventures in this sector. She further prayed that the festival brings closer the hearts in this region so that  the politics in the region can bring greater peace.

The opening ceremony was marked by the felicitation of seven jury members, including film maker Rahul Rawail from India, who is also the Chairperson, were felicitated on the occasion. A large number of delegates from SCO member and guest countries were also present for the ceremony.

Veteran director Priyadarshan’s Tamil film ‘Appatha’, which also marks the 700th film of lead actress Urvashi, was the opening film of the festival.

A total of 58 films from member countries, including 14 from the competition section, will be showcased at the Festival.The screenings will take place at Films Division Complex at Peddar Road and NFDC Theater at Worli. The festival will run till 31st January with the award ceremony scheduled on that day.

The Marathi film ‘Godavari’ directed by Nikhil Mahajan and Gujarati Film ‘The Last Film Show’ directed by Pan Nalin have been nominated for the competition section. The non-competitive sections will feature Indian films like Sardar Udham, RRR, Gangubai Kathiawadi, Toolsidas Junior, a short film Jugalbandi and five restored classics including Shatranj ke Khiladi. For better understanding, all films will have English subtitles.  

Apart from screenings, the festival will also offer master-classes, in-conversation sessions, country and state pavilions, photo and poster exhibitions, handicrafts stalls and many more events. Discussions on new technologies and breakthroughs such as create rather than shoot the shot will be held to educate people on these aspects of film-making.  




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