This year’s KIFF was supposed to start on January 7. However, due to the current surge in COVID-19 cases across Bengal, especially in Kolkata, the festival has been postponed temporarily.
The decision was announced by the West Bengal government through a statement. A number of Tollywood personalities attached to the organizing committee have tested positive over the past few days and the COVID-19 situation in Bengal is in quite an alarming state right now.
On Tuesday, West Bengal Minister of State for Culture Indranil Sen had told the media that 10 across the city will host this year’s film festival with a 50% occupancy. But now, after assessing the current situation the state government and the KIFF organizing committee have decided to cancel it for the time being. On Tuesday, filmmaker Raj Chakraborty, the chairperson of 27th KIFF, had tested positive for COVID-19 for the second time. On Wednesday, Parambrata Chattopadhyay, chairperson of KIFF’s short and documentary section also revealed on social media that he has tested positive.
When contacted Raj Chakraborty said, “We will definitely organize the film festival, but only when situation improves. Right now it’s too risky and we have to keep in mind the health issue and public safety first. All of us decided that a film carnival like KIFF can’t be staged in a situation like this. We have to wait.”
The ten venues which were supposed to screen the films were Nandan’s three halls, Rabindra Sadan, Sisir Mancha, Nazrul Tirtha, Rabindra Okakura Bhavan, Chalachitra Satabarsha Bhavan, and the Kolkata Information Centre Conference Hall. A total of 161 films, including 46 Indian and 41 foreign films, were supposed to be screened during the 8-day film festival.
West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee was supposed to inaugurate the film festival virtually from the Nabanna auditorium. Satyajit Ray’s ‘Aranyer Din Ratri’ was scheduled to be the opening film this year.