KOLKATA (C.M. Paul) – It came as consensus on the concluding day of the Open Forum – a daily opportunity for visitors to Mother Teresa International Film Festival (MTFF) 2010 to interact with film directors and other Mother Teresa experts. Directors Petrie and Belanger from USA and Canada joined two Indian Mother Teresa film directors (Mohanka & Jindal) for the daily sessions along with Mother Teresa experts Frs. Brian MC and George Pattery SJ. I also had the privilege of being an expert on Mother Teresa and joining panel discussions which would run into some 90 minutes each day.
Mother Teresa fans included believers from all faiths, Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Parsi and others.
A Hindu lady was insisted that MTIFF officials provide screening facility for more people in Kolkata to view Mother Teresa films. She wished that MTIFF could travel to more palacesin Bengal and other parts of the country.
It was at this time, I hit upon the idea of making MTIFF as a regular feature of the annual Kolkata International Film Festival (KIFF).
Sitting between the Superior General of the Missionaries of Charity Sr Prema and the CEO of Nandan Nilanjan Chatterjee, I felt that it was time that Mother Teresa the living Legend be aprt of the regualar Kolkata International Film Festival (KIFF).
At my brief speech as founder-director of the first two previous MTIFFs, I put forward an appeal particularly to Nandan CEO and the eminent audience to have one hall at Nandan to screen MTIFF films at least for a day at KIFF.
The Nandan CEO fascinated by the way MTIFF2010 profusely complimented the organizers for the entire festival organization, screening schedules in four halls for some 50 shows, a dedicated hall for the specially challenged (wheel chair bound persons), special parking arrangements for visitors at neigbouring St Paul’s Cathedral grounds, the MTIFF official website, the Video Journalists going live on Fest TV channel 3 with MTIFF2010 opening and closing ceremonies, the open forum and press conference each of the four days, as well as providing live broadcast of the MTIFF mood at the changed venue (Saturday & Sunday) Nandan 1 evening shows at Don Bosco Park Circus.
MTIFF2010 Report Card
In 2003 we had 10 foreign films with some 16 shows in two halls and reached out to some 15,000 visitors. This year the festival showcased 18 films about Blessed Teresa, with 64 screenings, for some 45,000 people. All the shows were packed with people sitting in the aisles or standing at the back. Besides the two special screenings for 500 disabled people, there were also more than 7,000 residents from Missionaries of Charity care centers. I had two special outstanding contributors award from Italy for the festival director Mr. Sunil Lucas and the festival web designer Mr. Farrell Shah.