Initiated in 1967, the IIC Film Club is today the oldest functioning film society in Delhi. Open to all members of the Centre its membership includes film makers, artists, academicians, film critics and scholars, journalists, students and other film buffs.
Every month the Film Club screens four to six films of merit and excellence, such as experimental works and art house cinema not normally available in the commercial circuit. In addition, it presents festivals and retrospectives around the classic work of renowned directors as well as films by avant-garde directors in the international circuits shaping new directions in cinema. Retrospectives organised have included the works of directors such as Ingmar Bergman (Sweden), Akira Kurosawa, Yasujiro Ozu, and Takeshi Kitano (Japan), Fritz Lang, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Werner Herzog and Wim Wenders (Germany), Jean Renoir, Francois Truffaut and Jean Luc Godard (France), Vittorio de Sica, Pier Paolo Pasolini (Italy), David Lean, Alfred Hitchcock (U.K.), Andrei Tarkovsky (Russia), Krzysztof Kieslowski and Andrzej Wajda (Poland); Marta Meszaros (Hungary); Kaurismaki Brothers (Finland); Pedro Almodovar (Spain); Manoel de Oliviera (Portugal); Wong Kar-Wai and Zhang Yimou (China) Equally, the Film Club has organised retrospectives of Indian film makers such as Satyajit Ray, Ritwik Ghatak, Mrinal Sen, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, G. Aravindan, Shyam Benegal, Merchant-Ivory Productions; and Aparna Sen.
Film festivals on particular genre have included, among others, a Focus on Women Directors and Adaptations of Literary Classics into Film through the works of leading Russian directors and by world cinema directors; Festival of Feature Films focusing on Issues of Migration and Transnationalism by directors of Indian origin. Festivals of Films from Latin American and the Iberian Peninsula and also the first Festival of Films from the Northeast, looking at the work of some the leading directors from the region who were present to personally present their work. Many of the film festivals and retrospectives also included half-day seminars and discussions around the theme of the festival.
The Film Club is a member of the Federation of Film Societies of India and the National Film Archive of India, Pune. For its ‘outstanding contribution in promoting awareness and appreciation of film art’ , the Film Club received the prestigious Pritiman Sarkar Memorial Award for Best Film Society for the year in 1998-99, 2007-2008 and 2010-2011.
The Centre has over the years created a space for and has become a platform of choice for documentary filmmakers to present their films; premiere new productions; present experimental works; and show-case works in progress, Reflecting the changing patterns in the acceptance and use of the documentary as a tool of debate and contestation, the films presented cover broad areas and commentaries on current issues – social, political, economics; on ecology and conservation policies and practices; and issues of sexuality, migration and identities. The films are usually screened in the presence of the director and followed by discussions from the floor on some of the key issues raised in the films. Some of the documentaries have been used as points of debate for panel discussions to follow.
Several documentary festivals are held annually and these include ‘The Asian Women’s Film Festival’ to mark international women’s day; ‘Persistence-Resistance: A Festival of Political Documentaries’ which focuses on socio-political documentaries; and two biennial festivals ‘Travelling Film South Asia’ which focuses on the best documentaries of the region; and ‘Quotes from the Earth’ a festival of ecology and environmental films. Apart from these other smaller theme based documentary festivals are regularly held.
For a number of years the Centre has also been regularly presenting animation film festivals from India and abroad focusing on both traditional forms of animation as well as digital. Often they are accompanied by lecture-demonstrations and workshops conducted by leading animators from India and abroad.