Pune is the fastest growing cosmopolitan in the country today. The presence of FTII (Film and Television Institute of India) for a very long time as generated an unparalleled “intellect” Cinema audience base. Pune has a very large influx of foreign students, professionals, researchers etc. They come from all parts of the world and they are integral part of the strong society structure of Pune. The education capital of India – Pune, also draws students from all disciplines across the country.
The availability of a world class movie watching experience through the newly built Multiplexes (E square, Inox etc.) has triggered a new passions for cinema enthusiasts in the city. The communities of varied interest cinema-goers – regional, national & international is a large, proactive & a quality one. This provides for an ideal base for an International Film festival.
Keeping in mind these things the Pune International Film Festival launched its pursuit to bring the best in “celluloid” to the vast audience of Pune in 2002 with it’s the first “International Film Festival”. It was a run away success and marked an everlasting tradition of cinema festivals for the city. More than 50 pictures were screened from 8 countries. A great director “Mrinal Sen” & an towering actor “Dilip Kumar” were awarded the lifetime achievement award for their outstanding contributions, in the field of Indian cinema.
The 2002 festival was able supported by the Maharashtra Government & the Pune Municipal Corporation. Films like “Grill Point” (German) – Silver Bear and Special Jury Award Berlinale 2002, “Taking Sides” (Hungarian), Rain, “The Son’s Room” & others received serious attention from the audience.
In 2003, Lifetime Achievement awards were given to “Smt. Lata Mangeshkar” – the Nightingale of India and “Devanand” – one of the greatest Hindi film stars ever produced. . More than 80 pictures were screened from 10 countries. The opening film was “No Man’s Land – a war film from Bosnia-Herzegovina and the closing film was “Warriors of the Heaven and Earth – A Japanese classic, with film theme composed by A.R. Rehman.