First Indo-Oman short film festival begins tomorrow

MUSCAT, Aug 6 – An Indo-Oman short film festival will be held for the first time in the Sultanate as part of the year-long celebrations of 70 years of India’s independence.
The three-day ‘First Oman-India Short Film Festival’, organised by Oman Film Society (OFS), Indian Embassy and Kalamandalam Muscat, will start on August 8, Wednesday.
Nearly 32 Indian and Omani film-makers are expected to participate in the festival, which will be held at the OFS premises on Airport Heights and the Indian Embassy.
“We are proud to associate with the Indian Embassy and Indian film fraternity for the first-of-its-kind film festival,” said Mohammed al Kindi, Chairman, OFS.
“Cinemas can break barriers of cultural and societal differences and open the doors for mutual understanding, peace and harmony,” he said.
The festival is open for short films produced in English, Arabic or any other Indian language.
Non-English short films have been encouraged to be produced with English sub-titles. “The aim of the festival is to encourage both Omani and Indian film-makers in Oman.
Hence, all films must be shot in the Sultanate, while some can be shot outside the country depending on need of the script,” said S N Gopakumar, Chairman of Kalamandalam and chief coordinator of the festival.
“Some 39 films were in fray, of which 32 were selected. We are amazed at the creativity of local film-makers,” said Biju Varghese, a member of the organising committee. There was a lone entry in the Under-19 category.
A five-member jury, which includes film personalities like Sama al Issa, Rajasenan, Thulasidas, Layla Habib and Amar Ibrahim, will evaluate the films.
Short films of a minimum duration of five minutes and a maximum of 15 minutes made by Omanis or Indian expatriates residing in Oman and produced after December 31, 2015, were eligible for the festival.
Cash awards will be presented to the winners.
Best short film will receive RO 500; best child short film (Under-19): RO 300; best director, best actor male, best actor female, best cinematographer and best screenplay: RO 250 each; best child director, best child actor male, best child actor female, best child cinematographer and best child screenplay: RO 150 each.
Films will be screened from 5 pm to 9 pm on August 8 and 9 at the OFS premises and the grand finale and award ceremony on August 10 from 7.30 pm onwards at the Indian Embassy.

KABEER YOUSUF