Days after she was declared a saint, the Mother Teresa International Film Festival (MTIFF) 2016, a four day film festival highlighting her life and work got underway here on Tuesday.
Organised at the U Soso Tham Auditorium, the MTIFF 2016 celebrates her canonisation of Mother Teresa and will move to Jowai, the district headquarters of West Jaintia Hills on September 14 for another four-day spell.
A total of 20 films, documentaries and short films showcasing the life and work of St. Teresa would be screened at the festival and similar festivals would be held in different cities in India and in about 50 countries around the world.
Meghalaya Governor V.Shanmuganathan inaugurated the festival which was further adorned by colourful by song and dance performances exhibited by students of city schools, each performance depicting the life and work of St. Teresa through her years.
“Mother Teresa represents the message of love, peace, enduring strength, hope and service to the world at large. She served the destitute, lepers, abandoned children, old people, the poorest of the poor and the downtrodden because she understood their pain, she was a solace, a helping hand and a source of comfort to them,” Shanmuganathan said in his inaugural address.
Shanmuganthan, who had interacted with Mother Teresa in the mid-1990s in Calcutta, said that in a world where people identify themselves by the power they hold, or the money they possess, what truly marks Mother Teresa’s greatness is her identification of herself with her love of God.
Archbishop of Shillong Dominic Jala said that for a multifaceted person like Mother Teresa, no one film or book could totally capture who she was and what she did.
“We in the society today long for many things. There are many social evils amidst us; there’s corruption, injustice, human rights violations. It is up to us to carry forward her legacy and that we need to recognise the dignity of life in this selfish individualistic world,” he said.
The Festival opened with “Mother Teresa and Me” made by noted photographer and filmmaker Gautam Lewis who was raised by Mother Teresa after his parents abandoned him while he was a young infant in Kolkata.