Indian Catholic News

Jesuit honored for pioneering film academia

Father Gaston Roberge started “Chitrabani” communication centre in Kolkata in 1970.


A group of film enthusiasts in Mumbai has awarded a 77-year old Canadian Jesuit for "pioneering film academia in India" as well as cultivating generations of cineastes and filmmakers.

The Bimal Roy Memorial & Film Society awarded Jesuit Father Gaston Roberge, who with the support of late Satyajit Ray, the doyen of Indian cinema, started “Chitrabani” communication centre in Kolkata in 1970 and directed it for 26 years until 1996.

The award citation recognized the priest work "for establishing the unique enabling institution of Chitrabani and thus pioneering film academia in India as well as cultivating and nurturing several generations of cineastes and filmmakers.”

Bimal Roy Memorial & Film Society was set up in 1997 to champion the cause of sensitive cinema and keep film maker Bimal Roy’s unique legacy alive. Roy (1909-1966) is known as the silent master of Indian cinema who ushered in the golden age of Indian Cinema in the 1940′s.

The society awarded the priest on Nov. 19 at a function in Mumbai.

While he was in Mumbai, Father Roberge also gave a lecture on actor-director Amir Khan's Bollywood film "3 idiots" in two colleges: Tata Institute of Social Sciences and Whistling Woods International.

Besides starting “Chitrabani,” Father Roberge started the Educational Media Research Centre (EMRC) of St. Xavier's College, Kolkata and directed it for ten years until 1996.

After a three year stint as Executive Secretary for Social Communication at the Society of Jesus Rome Headquarters, he was also Head of Department of Communications, St. Xavier's College, Kolkata, until 2001.

Author of some 15 books on cinema and communication, Father Roberge is still a faculty member of St. Xavier’s College’s Departments of Mass Communication and Film Studies.

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