River to River. Florence Indian Film Festival had its first edition in October 2001 at the Rondò di Bacco Theatre of Palazzo Pitti in Florence, Italy.
The aim of River to River is to promote only films from and about India and it is the first Festival of this kind in the world.
During the first year of the Festival, also Indian cinema was seeing a new life: Ashutosh Gowariker's Lagaan won the Audience Award in Locarno and Monsoon Wedding by Mira Nair wins the Golden Lion in Venice. And in 2002 Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Devdas was screened in Cannes.
Furthermore, between 2001 and 2002 the influence of Indian cinema can be seen in Baz Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge and in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Bombay Dreams, with music by the future Oscar winning A. R. Rahman (Danny Boyle's Slumdog Milionaire).
During these years the Festival has grown and gained awareness among the audience, the film industry and the press. Many films have been screened and quite a few filmmakers, actors and producers have attended the Festival.
Among them, filmmakers Preeti Chandrakant, Dev Benegal and Biju Viswanath in 2001; actor and filmmaker Rahul Bose, filmmaker Anand Patwardhan and festival programmer and journalist Uma da Cunha in 2002; filmmakers Roysten Abel and Manisha Jha, journalist and filmmaker Meenakshi Shedde and festival programmer and journalist Uma da Cunha in 2003; filmmakers Goutam Ghose, Herbert Krill, Dishad Husain, Vinta Nanda and Partho Sen Gupta, actress Koel Purie and producers Sergio Scapagnini and Mohanjit Singh in 2004; filmmakers Dheeraj Akolkar, Bharatbala, Krishna Das, Ruchi Narain, Gianluca Pipitone, Pietro Silvestri and Thomas Wartmann in 2005; filmmakers Aditya Bhattacharya, Jamil Dehlavi, Nicole Maria Krieger, Diego Liguori, Massimiliano Pacifico, Filippo Papini, Anna Pitscheider and Pietro Silvestri in 2006; filmmakers Ashish Avikuntak, Sarthak Dasgupta, Nandita Jain, Francesca Lignola, Ishaan Nair, Chitra Palekar, Stefano Rebechi, Joy Bimal Roy and Bhavna Talwar in 2007; filmmakers Fiorella Castanotto, Nishikant Kamat, Shahshank Ghosh, Richie Mehta, Christopher Mitchell, Sarab S. Neelam and Ramesh Sharma in 2008; filmmakers Ketan Mehta, Raja Menon, Sooni Taraporevala, Sanjeev Sivan, Kartik Singh and Dev Khanna, actresses Nandana Sen and Iyanah Bativala and scriptwriter Shakir Kadri in 2009. Furthemore, among the 10th edition guests, directors and actors of the feature films: Aparna Sen (director of Iti Mrinalini, The Japanese Wife and Mr. and Mrs. Iyer), Rahul Bose (actor in I Am, The Japanese Wife, Split Wide Open, Mr. and Mrs. Iyer and director and actor of Everybody Says I’m Fine!), Ajit Ahuja (co-director of Ishqyia), Onir (director of I Am) and Malaika Shenoy (actress in Peepli Live). Some of the directors of the short movies and documentaries: Prithi Gowda (Televisnu), Arati Kadav, Devendra Gandhi and Chetan Vora (Uss Paar), Franco La Cecla (Minimum Maharaja), Jan Michelini and Italo Spinelli (The Streets of Shantaram), Rupesh Paul (You Can’t Step Twice in the Same River), Michael Anthony Rawlins (Kiss Me A’ready), Rizwan Siddiqui (Kharboozey) and Vijay Singh (India by Song). The Festival guests of the 11th edition have been the directors and actors of the feature films Rudronil Ghosh (actor in Chaplin), Zaib Rehman (actress in Bol) and Q (director of Gandu), the directors of the shorts and documentaries Milind Dhaimade (Prakata Het Yad), Valerie Berteau and Philippe Witjes (Himself He Cooks), Filippo Carli (Nataraja) and Anubhav Syal (cinematographer of Gulcharrey); furthermore, Sauro Albisani, Franca Bacchiega, Fabrizia Baldissera, Maria Grazia Beverini del Santo and Folco Terzani have been the speakers of the morning talks.During its 12th edition the Festival has celebrated 100 years of Indian cinema and for the occasion has had the honour to have as special guest the super Bollywood star and icon Amitabh Bachchan.