India - The cinema: a powerful tool for the Salesian mission in South Asia

06 March 2017

(ANS - Chennai) - On the sidelines of the work of the Team Visit to the South Asia region, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, Rector Major, presented the awards to the winners of the National Festival of Short Films: "Don Bosco Youth Film Festival of India" ( DBYFFI). The award ceremony took place on Saturday 4 March. The short film "Saavat" by Swapnil Rajashekar, was awarded the prize for the Best Film among the 24 participants selected for the competition.

DBYFFI, organised by the Salesian Provincial Conference of South Asia (SPCSA) together with Don Bosco Communications, South Asia (BOSCOM), presented budding filmmakers with a unique attempt to showcase the aspirations of the youth, the challenges and the struggles they go through and their issues and concerns through these short Films. Networking in 100 venues spread over 19 states, the idea was to reach out simultaneously to lakhs (hundreds of thousands)  of young people. Most of the participants were youngsters associated with Don Bosco (DB), DB alumni and film lovers.

Fr Harris Pakkam, Director of the Don Bosco Youth Film Festival said that it was was a huge success nearly 500,000 youth from across the country.  The films were to challenge, inspire and motivate youngsters for social change” he said.

Fr Filiberto Gonzalez, Councillor General for Social Communication, appreciated and thanked the team of BOSCOM Delegates and congratulated each one of them for organizing this Film Festival. “The Don Bosco Youth Film Festival could be organized in all the 132 countries in collaboration with the Social Communication Department and the Social Communication Delegates across the globe.” he said.

Father Godfrey D`Souza thanked the organizers and shared his experience after having attending the Film Festival at various places.      

“Saavat” - a 24-minute production, is a rural-based film which speaks about the vulnerability of the girl child; and the uphill battle that a girl child faces even today to be literate. It touches on the impact of certain barbaric events like rape on the psyche of victims.

“Paywat”, directed by Mithunchandra Choudhari won the runners-up award. Like “Saavat”, this film too focuses on the plight of the girl child. It revolves around the protagonist “Mayidi”, the daughter of a landless labourer who focuses on education despite severe financial hardships.

“Backbone” a film by Karunakaran C finished in third place. The 21-minute long plot revolves around an aged farmer who was forced to sell his land to clear his debt. Poverty forces him to move to a larger town in search of a job where he encounters several hardships.

Ramachandra Gaonkar’s “Selfie” won the award for the best story. The plot revolves around daily incidents faced by common man and reveals the perceptions of others based on our appearance and clothes.

“Poo” Ramu from Backbone won the award for best actor, while Tanuja Kadam won the best actress award for “Baluta”.

In the best child artist (male) category, Chandra Kiran claimed top honours for his performance in “I did it”, while Vaishnavi Tangade won the award for best child (female artist) for her performance in “Paywat”. Kutub won the award for best Cinematography.

Fr Joaquim Fernandes, Regional Delegate, Boscom, South Asia thanked Fr Harris Pakkam, the Don Bosco Film Festival Director and all the committee members who made this Film Festival a reality.  He thanked the Delegates of Social Communication from all the provinces for all the dedication and commitment for organizing the Film Festival.

Ms Sabrina Alathi, Co-ordinator of the Film Festival of DBYFFI said “It was an wonderful opportunity for everyone in the organizing committee, to express our love and gratitude towards our father and founder Don Bosco. We received 248 short films from 24 states across India, of which the Preliminary Jury committee selected 24 short films for screening. Every film portrayed the idea of celebrating life, youth and the spirit of patriotism. The Final Jury Panel selected the Best 3 films, and also chose 10 short films under various categories. It was truly an extraordinary experience of influencing the youth across the Nation.”  

Film is a powerful medium that can communicate, educate, elevate and inspire the viewers. The theme of the film festival was the celebration of the spirit of youth in a positive and inspiring way, narrating stories of young people who face challenges and struggles of life with courage, determination and faith to emerge as inspiring individuals.


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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