The Film Festival offers opportunities to film makers to collaborate and experience the best of world cinema, I&B Minister Anurag Thakur said
With the screening of Tamil film “Appatha,” the first edition of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Film Festival was launched in Mumbai in India on Friday, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting said in a statement.

Altogether around 58 films from 14 countries in both competition and non-competition category will be screened during the five-day (January 27 to 31) event, the Ministry said.

While opening the ceremony in the presence of top film personalities of India and rest of SCO member countries and observers, Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur said the SCO Film Festival is being organised to mark India’s Presidency at SCO and that the country’s goal of organising the festival is to showcase the diversity of films and various styles of film making from the SCO region.

“We also aim to build cinematic partnerships, have exchange of programmes, nurture young filmmaking talent and act as a bridge between the cultures of this unique region,” added the Union Minister

He further 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.

The Minister 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 for post-production of films.

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

He said Indian movies are a rage across SCO countries and have played a great role in people-to-people connections in the region.

Maintaining that 2023 is a special year as India holds the G20 Presidency along with the Chairmanship of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Anurag 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.

Speaking on the occasion, 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 at the ceremony.