The 9th edition of ‘DHWANI’, a special film festival aimed at creating awareness on issues related to disabilities through films was inaugurated on the theme “Celebrating Diversity and Inclusion”. Organized jointly by Aaina, a an Odisha-based voluntary organization and FICCI-FLO Bhubaneswar, the two-day film festival has invited documentaries and short films from across the world to participate in three categories i.e., 1 minute, 5 minutes and 30 minutes. As many as 24 documentaries and short films were screened on the first day. Cash prizes of Rs 45,000, Rs 30,000, Rs 20,000 will be presented to the winners respectively.
Chief Secretary, Shri Pradeep Jena graced the occasion as Chief Guest in the presence of Dr. Lenin Mohanty, Chairperson OTDC, Actress Ms Dolly Jena and Shri Ananta Mohapatra, Eminent Theatre Person as guests of honour and Jitendra Biswal, Chairperson Dhwani Festival Committee, Namrita Chahal, Chairperson FLO-FICCI Bhubaneswar, Lalita Missal, President Aaina and Sneha Mishra, Secretary Aaina.
Appreciating the Dhwani team and partners, Chief Secretary, Shri Pradeep Jena said, “I am glad that I have been given an opportunity to be a part of an initiative that is working for differently abled. Through Dhwani I am sure that the message will not only reach people like us but to the world. We should make efforts to make these films reach to the district level.”
“I am happy that the program also has panel discussion on climate change impact on people with disabilities which is extremely important in Odisha context and the outcome would definitely help us in the policy framework. The State government’s plan would not only encourage but ensure the educational, economic and administrative inclusion of persons with disability” he further added.
Putting lights on the theme of the festival, Jitendra Kumar Biswal, Chairperson of the Dhwani Committee, said, “Film is a great medium to spread the message and sensitize people on an issue. And DHWANI film festival aims to provide a platform to the film enthusiasts to make films on disability issues. Since March 21st is marked as Down Syndrome Day worldwide, we chose this day to celebrate DHWANI Special Film festival.”
Expressing her happiness over the collaboration of Aaina and FLO Bhubaneswar, Namrita Chahal, Chairperson of FICCI FLO Bhubaneswar said “It is our duty to work towards an inclusive India. The greatest ability is the lack of ability to appreciate each other for their strength. Each individual is an empowered soul and it is our responsibility to respect and celebrate the differences and uniqueness in one another”.
The ace Odia actress Ms Dolly Jena satisfied over the performance by the Film makers and artists, stated, “Art has been a creative space for several minorities to be heard and understood. The same goes for films about people with disability. I am proud to be part of this festival.”
The Chairman of OTDC, Dr Lenin Mohanty on his speech mentioned that The Cinema Touching Disability Film Festival and Short Film Competition aims to change the picture of disability through film.
Noted Theatre Personality Anant Mohapatra on his speech over Dhwani-Flo special film fest said that Films with accurate and interesting representations of disability shown at this festival counter the negative stereotypes promoted by movies with demeaning, discriminatory and false portrayals of disability and people who have disabilities.
The festival will conclude on 22nd March with award giving ceremony and the winners are going to be awarded with cash prize. On this occasion, there was a poster competition also held among the college students on the issues of Disability and inclusion. It should be noted FLO Bhubaneswar and Aaina jointly have held multiple awareness sessions and poster competitions earlier at different schools to ensure inclusivity is developed within children at an early age.
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