Five festive days of science education and storytelling through the medium of cinema kicked off today (22 August) in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh.
Now in its 12th edition, the National Science Film Festival of India (NSFFI) is a flagship event put together by Vigyan Prasar, an autonomous agency under the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India.
For the latest edition, the Madhya Pradesh Council of Science and Technology (MPCST) is a partner, since the event is being held in the central Indian state from 22 to 26 August.
The film festival offers a platform to showcase science films made by professional as well as amateur and student filmmakers under various themes. One can expect documentary and short films on popular science and technology topics, including the more pressing health and environmental matters, to be screened at the Ravindra Bhawan, Bhopal.
Science films, made between 16 January 2020 and 31 October 2021, will compete at the NSFFI. Filmmakers stand to win — there are 25 awards for the taking. (Check out the NSFFI award-winning films .)
The festival platform will be an interactive one as well, enabling filmmakers, scientists, and science enthusiasts to interact and share in the love of science and technology as well as stoke the passion for science among the public. This will happen through activities such as workshops, masterclasses, and panel discussions.
For example, Professor Sameer S Sahasrabudhe, the Professor of Practice in Design at the Indian Institute of Technology, Gandhinagar, will be delivering a talk on ‘Understanding the use of copyright-free content in film-making’. His film, Kamala — The Swadeshi Nutri Indian, will also be screened during the festival.
A total of have been picked, out of a large submission pool of , for screening at the twelfth NSFFI. These films are made by independent filmmakers as well as student filmmakers across school, college, and university levels, and include films made or supported by government or non-government institutions or organisations.
The nominated films span a wide range of science and technology topics. The this time around are — scientific and technological development in the last 75 years, environmentalism and sustainability, and science through pandemic. These will be presented in the documentary, docu-drama, animation, or science fiction film format.
The festival is open to films from other countries too, and the work of foreign filmmakers will be showcased under the non-competitive category.
Science popularisation is a key driver for this film festival. “...yeh brahm toot chuka hai ki vigyan keval vaigyaniko ka vishay hai. Vigyan jansamanya ka vishay hai aur filmmakers usko aam aadmi tak pahuchane ka pura prayas kar rahe hain (...this belief that science is a topic for scientists only has been shattered. Science is a subject for the people and filmmakers are putting in all the effort to bring it to the common person),” Nimish Kapoor, the division head for science film festivals at Vigyan Prasar, said in a video for NSFFI.
Dr Sachin Chaturvedi, vice chairman of the Bhopal-based Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Good Governance and Policy Analysis, was the chief guest at the inaugural ceremony — held today at the Jagdish Chandra Basu auditorium, Vigyan Bhawan — with Minister of Science and Technology (MP) Om Prakash Sakhlecha and special guests, film writer-producer Siddharth Kak and Hindi film actor Rajeev Verma, among others, in attendance.
MPCST director general Dr Anil Kothari led the customary lighting of the lamp to get the proceedings going.
“We have to make the scientific technology terms and research papers accessible to the general public in an interesting way in the language of the common man,” Professor K G Suresh, vice chancellor at the Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University of Journalism & Communication, at the inauguration.
As was said in the mission statement in the 2019 festival book of the International Science Film Festival of India, “Science festivals are the inspiring celebrations of the fascinating world of science and technology.” In this spirit, may the culture of science shine far and wide these five days across India through the NSFFI 2022.
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