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Independent filmmakers to organise ‘protest festival’ for FTII students on sidelines of IFFI

Independent filmmakers will organise a festival of movies made by students of FTII on November 24 on the sidelines of the ongoing 46th International Film Festival of India here, in a bid to draw attention of visiting delegates to their grievances.

Addressing reporters, Prateek Vats, an FTII alumnus, said holding the “protest festival” will serve two purposes. “The holding of the film festival will serve dual purpose of (highlighting) the dubious appointments made on the FTII Society and to protest the removal of students’ film section in IFFI,” he said. He added the festival, to be held at another location in the city, will feature films made by FTII students as they cannot screen them at IFFI this year.

Vats was accompanied by filmmakers Saeed Mirza, RV Ramani, veteran Bengali actor Dhritiman Chatterjee and three other FTII affiliates who claimed they were victims of “police action”. Vats said that pamphlets with comments from filmmakers and artistes supporting the FTII students’ protest will be circulated to delegates at the venue. “We thought that circulating booklets is a dignified way of going about things, especially at a film festival,” Vats said.

Police had arrested two former FTII students, identified as Kislay and Shubham, on Friday for allegedly raising placards and shouting slogans during the inaugural session of IFFI while Union ministers Arun Jaitley and Manohar Parrikar were in audience, and later booked them under IPC sections of criminal conspiracy. An FTII student, identified as Ashutosh, was detained by police on Saturday for wearing a t-shirt with an FTII logo. He was released on conditional bail later.

Students of the premier Pune-based institute had staged a 139-day strike from June 12 in protest against the appointment of ‘Mahabharata’ actor Gajendra Chauhan as FTII chairman, saying he was “unfit” for the post. The students, however, called off their strike unilaterally on October 29, but insisted that their protests would continue.