Bengaluru Film Festival Deferred Amid Covid Surge

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The much-awaited Bengaluru International Film Festival (Biffes) has been postponed indefinitely from March 24-31 due to surge in Covid cases in the tech city, an official said on Monday.

“The 8-day 13th edition of the annual film festival has been put off till further notice from March 24-31 due to rising Covid cases in the city,” said the official of the state information department.

The decision to defer the festival was taken by the members of the Karnataka Chalanachitra Academy on the advice of the state health experts, as the atmosphere is not congenial to hold it this month.

As the epi-centre of the coronavirus in the southern state, Bengaluru reported 550 fresh cases on Sunday, taking the city’s Covid tally to 4,11,989, including 6,454 active cases, while 4,01,010 recovered so far, with 198 discharged in the day.

The decision was taken by the state information department after consultation with the health department. The department of health and family welfare suggested that the present situation is not conducive to conduct the film festival due to the rise in Covid cases. Also, the festival officials informed the government that it was difficult to follow the department’s guideline on ensuring not more than 500 people gather in order to contain the spread of Covid.

Around 7000 national and international delegates were expected for the film festival. Around 5000 people were expected to watch the films that was scheduled to be screened across 11 screens. A meeting held by the Chief Secretary with all stakeholders saw a unanimous decision to postpone the festival indefinitely.

As the Covid-induced guidelines has restricted large gatherings in public places and limited the number of people for participating in functions, the academy has decided to hold the festival at a later date, as about 7,000 people were expected to participate from across the state, country and overseas.

The festival will be held at four venues where 200 Indian and international films will be shown on 14 screens when normalcy returns, post-pandemic.

In the 12th or previous edition of the fest from February 26-March 4, 2020, about 220 films from 60 countries were shown on 14 screens. About 10,000 delegates participated before the pandemic broke out in the state on March 8, 2020.

(With inputs from IANS)

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