festival's history

River to River Florence Indian Film Festival


River to River Florence Indian Film Festival was founded in 2001 in Florence, Italy, as the first festival in the world – out of India – totally devoted to films from and about India, under the Patronage of the Embassy of India.
Combining the passion for India and cinema, the organizers thought about a festival name that would represent the flowing of cultures, ideas and cinema, from one river to the other: from the Ganges to the Arno, River to River.
2001 is also the year in which Lagaan by Ashutosh Gowriker wins the Audience Award in Locarno and Mira Nair’s Monsoon Wedding is awarded with the Golden Lion for Best Film in Venice. It marks the beginning of new era for Indian cinema in this part of the world.


During the years, River to River Florence Indian Film Festival has showcased the best of the most recent Indian cinema, with a 360 degree vision from and about India, along with special homages devoted to filmmakers of the past and to actors, as well as focusses on specific themes. A special attention is also devoted to innovative technologies and languages, such as virtual reality and webseries and whatever seems to represent the new India at the moment.


The Festival has grown and has built up an audience in a country like Italy were Indian cinema was hardly known. In addition to the main festival edition that takes place in Florence during the month of December, River to River also has screenings during the year in different Italian cities such as Milan, Rome and others.
River to River has witnessed the change and evolution of Indian cinema in these years and the birth of a new wave of filmmakers and actors, who have also been guests of the Festival.
River to River Florence Indian Film Festival is now a yearly date on the Florence calendar of December, and the audience flocks also from other parts of Italy and abroad to attend. The event is recognized by the Indian and Italian Institutions among which are the Embassy of India, the City of Florence and Regione Toscana.


Among some of the festival guests in the years: Amitabh Bachchan, Shabana Azmi, Irrfan Khan, Deepa Mehta, Aparna Sen, Ketan Kehta, Rahul Bose, Anurag Kashyap, Kabir Bedi, Goutam Ghose, Hansal Mehta, Onir, Taapsee Pannu, Anand Patwardhan, Nemoi Ghosh, Uma Da Cunha, Shonali Bose, Furio Colombo, Giuseppe Cederna, and Folco Terzani.


Selvaggia Velo has been the founder and festival director since its beginning in 2001. In all these years she has used her passion and expertise to build up the Festival as it is now, with the collaboration of a unique team of professionals and volunteers.

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