Interview of Vanessa Lien F. Bianchi. Vanessa Lien F. Bianchi is the co-founder and the President of Toulouse Indian Film Festival since 2015, and also the President of Les Films de la Haute-Vallée, Film Distribution. She was also the Jury member Pondicherry Film Festival, Pondicherry, 2018 and Des Images Aux Mots, Toulouse, 2016.
Could you please explain about Toulouse Indian Film Festival?
Toulouse Indian Film Festival had its first edition in 2013. In April 2020, it will be our eighth edition. It takes place in Southern France, in Toulouse, a city well known for aerospace industry. In Toulouse, there are several film festivals (more than 30 a year!). However no festival includes Indian films, nobody has even heard of anything called Indian cinematography. This was our real challenge.
Toulouse Indian Film Festival is one of the rarest film festivals dedicated to Indian films in Europe. Today, in France, I think we have the most important catalogue of Indian films with French subtitles and we work a lot to help other French film festivals, welcome Indian films into their program.
What kind of films do audience love to watch? What are the genre of films which are normally selected? Based on what criteria, do you choose them?
I select films which portray contemporary India, far away from colonialist bias, in its modernity and its complexity, in its paradoxes. Spectators are very attentive to everything, from social issues, to biased ideas, and so they are eager to meet Indian film makers and have discussions with them. Most of them, when they come for the first time, barely have heard of something else, other than Slumdog Millionaire and The Lunch box. So, usually, they are very happy to discover such a diversity and to learn more about India.
We are a bridge between Indian film production and the French audience. We strive to reduce the intercultural gap between India and France.
People have to accept films based on the content rather than the ones who act. What do you think?
I think a film as an art form, is a kingdom in itself, a language. Films are not only concerned with elements like acting, shooting, special effects, script, and budget. A film is a whole cultural production. Sometimes, we particularly notice the acting or the story. A very well balanced film is a rare product.
Opinion about fanism?
Well, why not? Do you know at least one person who is not a fan of something? We all have our own celebrity crushes. It is all about giving space to the artist, the film, and the spectator. It is all about respecting each other’s tastes and interests. I have no problem with fans, but with all kinds of extremism and manipulation of any topic.
There is actually a huge difference between commercial films and realistic films? Which kind of films should be promoted?
You cannot categorise films into aesthetic or realistic, only. I have read, sometimes, that film is not an industry. Film is an industry. To create a film, you need to produce it for which you will need a team of people with different skill sets, as well as machines. How do you define an ‘industry’? It involves three factors – production, machines and division of work.
Commercial films does not lack in content. Art films does not discuss serious issues, always. It is up to us to attribute content to commercial films. We often forget the power of human imagination. I think we have to promote all genres of films, and those which require support. We have to help them in reaching the audience. What happens after, is not in our hands, but with the audience.