Hours before the inauguration of the 24th Kolkata International Film Festival on Saturday, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, in a tweet, welcomed cinema lovers to the eight-day extravaganza - the theme country for which has been selected as Australia this year.
More than 300 films, including shorts and documentaries, will be screened in 16 theatres across the city and Howrah over the next week.
A film directory chronicling the major films made during the period of 1917-2017 will be published at the fest to mark 100 years of Bengali cinema.
Fourteen timeless Bengali classics have also been selected by the jury for screening at the eight-day event.
"I welcome cine-lovers from across the world to come to the 'City of Joy' to experience world cinema. The special attraction at #KIFF2018 this year is 100 years of Bengali cinema. The theme country is Australia. 170 (feature) films will be screened this year," the CM tweeted.
Banerjee, who will preside over the inauguration ceremony on Saturday, also welcomed dignitaries and film stars to the fest, including megastar Amitabh Bachchan.
"Welcome to #Kolkata@SrBachchan Ji, @iamsrk, Jaya Di, Waheeda Rehman Ji, @MaheshNBhatt Ji, Majid Majidi, Phillip Noyce, Jil Bilcock, Simon Baker & every dignitary. Looking forward to a memorable evening with you at #KIFF2018 inaugural ceremony," she added.
Bachchan will inaugurate the festival at Netaji Indoor Stadium here, while celebrated Iranian director Majid Majidi and Australian filmmakers Philip Noyce, Jill Bilcock and Simon Baker have been invited as guests of honour.
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