Since 2005, my final (and favourite) film festival of the year has been River to River. Florence Indian Film Festival in beautiful Florence/Italy. It is the first international festival entirely devoted to films from and about India – a labour of love of director Selvaggia Velo who mainly selects non-Bollywood movies: independent films, shorts and documentaries. I’m looking forward to the 11th edition starting tomorrow (Friday, December 2, 2011).
Festival director Selvaggia Velo and
actor Rahul Bose in 2010
For the past four years, River to River has been taking place at Odeon Cinema which will celebrate its 90th anniversary next year. It is located in Palazzo Strozzino (built in 1462).
Check out the glamourous interior (shot last year):
I always attend River to River pretty much unprepared and let Selvaggia surprise me (she never fails). One of last year’s highlights was a Q&A session with Bengali director Aparna Sen (mother of the great actress Konkona Sen Sharma) and actor/multi-talent Rahul Bose (see above). Here is a clip I shot – I asked Rahul Bose whether his boxing and playing rugby have been helpful to his movie career:
Last year’s blog post “Aparna Sen and Rahul Bose at River to River. Florence Indian Film Festival” has links to additional clips.
Writing this blog post brought to mind one of my favourite River to River memories. Early during my first festival visit in 2005, Selvaggia took an international group of festival visitors to Pop Café (<- blog entry in German), a very nice neighbourhood bar at Piazza di Santo Spirito, for a late night (1 a.m.) pasta dinner. That joyful night, I met screenwriter/director Ruchi Narain (“Kal: Yesterday and Tomorrow”), and director/cinematographer Dheeraj Alkokar whom I’ve been in contact with since then. (When we met in London a while ago, he took me to one of the few non-tourist-trap places at Bengali hot spot Brick Lane. ;-) )
Ruchi Narain and Selvaggia Velo
Back then, I didn’t have a blog. I posted my report about the festival at flickr.
Whenever possible, I’ll send short movie reviews and festival updates from Florence via Twitter – using hashtag #rtr11.