There used to be film societies in Chennai. People used to gather and watch movies. They chatted about them, shared their views and fought over stuff they didn't agree. Now all that is gone. The Digital Video Disc pretty much killed the communal watching of films. Now, films that were once rare are no longer so. From Chabrol to Kurosawa, all movies are available in Chennai in DVD/VCD stores. Film festivals too have been common and are usually trashy or conventional.
But I still love film festivals. I haven't been to any major ones. Most of what I learned about films came off the Net and from watching on the DVD.
Now for people like me, there are two film festivals happening in Chennai.
The first is held by the Department of Communication at the Madras Christian College. It's called 24fps. This is standard fare and films are expected to be the "festival kind". Some of the hot shots of the film critic circuit would be there. So will be the students. Go here to register. The choices of films are expected to be conventional. At least that is what it sounds like. There is no complete list out yet on the Net, but my friend who spoke over the phone about this named a few Iranian films. I forget their names.
Date: March 14-17
Venue: M.M. Auditorium, Kodambakkam.
The second festival is more interesting. Sagaro was the one who told me about it. We are working on a list of films that will provoke the audience enough that they come back for more next year. This festival will take place on a rooftop in the city. We haven't got one yet, but we will. Date: Late March or April. This festival is called rtff. You can pitch in with anything in this festival: right from the choice of movies (use the wiki) to providing a rooftop. You have to bring your own everything: from the atmosphere your presence would create to the kind of food and snacks we eat.