River to River. Florence Indian Film Festival has its first edition in October 2001 at the Rondò di Bacco Theatre of Palazzo Pitti in Florence, Italy.
The aim of River to River is to promote only films from and about India, and it is the first Festival of this kind in the world.
During the Festival’s first year, also Indian cinema is seeing a new life: Ashutosh Gowariker’s Lagaan wins the Audience Award in Locarno and Monsoon Wedding by Mira Nair wins the Golden Lion in Venice. And in 2002 Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Devdas is screened in Cannes.
Furthermore, between 2001 and 2002 the influence of Indian cinema can be seen in Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge and in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Bombay Dreams, with music by the future Oscar winning A. R. Rahman.
River to River. Florence Indian Film Festival celebrates it’s tenth anniversary from 3 to 9 December 2010.
During these years the Festival has grown and gained awareness among the audience, the film industry and the press. Many films have been screened and quite a few filmmakers, actors and producers have attended the Festival.
Among them, filmmakers Preeti Chandrakant, Dev Benegal and Biju Viswanath in 2001; actor and filmmaker Rahul Bose, filmmaker Anand Patwardhan, and festival programmer and journalist Uma da Cunha in 2002; filmmakers Roysten Abel and Manisha Jha, journalist and filmmaker Meenakshi Shedde, and festival programmer and journalist Uma da Cunha in 2003; filmmakers Goutam Ghose, Herbert Krill, Dishad Husain, Vinta Nanda and Partho Sen Gupta, actress Koel Purie and producers Sergio Scapagnini and Mohanjit Singh in 2004; filmmakers Dheeraj Akolkar, Bharatbala, Krishna Das, Ruchi Narain, Gianluca Pipitone, Pietro Silvestri and Thomas Wartmann in 2005; filmmakers Aditya Bhattacharya, Jamil Dehlavi, Nicole Maria Krieger, Diego Liguori, Massimiliano Pacifico, Filippo Papini, Anna Pitscheider and Pietro Silvestri in 2006; filmmakers Ashish Avikuntak, Sarthak Dasgupta, Nandita Jain, Francesca Lignola, Ishaan Nair, Chitra Palekar, Stefano Rebechi, Joy Bimal Roy and Bhavna Talwar in 2007; filmmakers Fiorella Castanotto, Nishikant Kamat, Shahshank Ghosh, Richie Mehta, Christopher Mitchell, Sarab S. Neelam and Ramesh Sharma in 2008; filmmakers Ketan Mehta, Raja Menon, Sooni Taraporevala, Sanjeev Sivan, Kartik Singh and Dev Khanna, actresses Nandana Sen and Iyanah Bativala, and scriptwriter Shakir Kadri in 2009.
The Festival Staff and myself will pursue in bringing a week of India in this beautiful city of Florence, and in giving a stage to all those Indian films that have an interesting and unique story to tell.
(Festival Founder and Director)