The state government of Bengal has decided to organise a three-day film festival in January on wildlife at Jalpaiguri to spread awareness among the locals in north Bengal – specially those from Gen Y – about wildlife conservation.
State forest minister Benoy Barman said, ‘Since wildlife exists intensely in north Bengal, we have decided to hold the wildlife film festival at the Jalpaiguri Art Gallery.
The idea is to spread awareness among the locals in north Bengal – specially those from Gen Y – about wildlife conservation.’ The state information and cultural affairs department will help in the screening The festival promises not to confine great movies by the likes of Austen Stevens and Bedi Brothers to air-conditioned theatres in a thoroughly urbane ambience only but to take it to the grassroots.
The forest department will rope in schoolchildren for the film festival which will be held on January 16, 17 and 18.
‘Youngsters in the Dooars must develop a sense of pride for the wildlife so as to avoid man-animal conflict. Through the films, we would try to make them aware of the different natures of different animals. For example it is important to know about the local animals like elephants and bison – their species and characteristics,’ Mr Barman said.
The minister said from January 2015 onwards, such film festivals will be held every year. The forest department has involved NGOs like SNEHA (Society for Nature Education and Health Awareness) for the film festival.
The wildlife division of the department has started enlisting films like Living with Giants, a film on elephants, directed by Ashish Chandola, Land of the Tiger, The Great Indian Rhino, The last Man-eater Killer Tigers of India and Crocodiles, The Living Dinosaurs.
At the end of the shows, the forest department will organise interactive sessions with students and their parents. The topics will include man-animal conflict, eco-tourism and conservation of wildlife.
The minister said, ‘The films will create awareness among the sons of the soil where man-animal conflict is very high. These people are largely ignorant of wildlife behaviour. It makes every sense to expose them to the cinematic extravaganza which has so far been within the reach of the urbanised audience only.’
The forest department intends giving the film fest a dash of colour by having representatives for Tollywood – especially Bengali superstar Dev, whose adventurous Chander Pahar has won hearts – to flag off the extravaganza.