Initiated in 1967, the Film Club today is one of the oldest functioning film societies 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.
The focus of the Film Club is to screen films of merit and excellence that are not normally available in the commercial circuit, experimental works and art house cinema. Four to six films are screened every month and festivals and retrospectives organised focusing on the work of well-known directors, actors, genre or country. The retrospectives have focused primarily on classics in world cinema by directors who have left an indelible mark in cinematic annals; and works by experimental and path breaking new directors in the international circuits whose ongoing body of work continue to shape the 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 on the occasion 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. The Film Club is a recipient of the prestigious Pritiman Sarkar Memorial Award for Best Film Society for the year 1998-99 for 'outstanding contribution in promoting awareness and appreciation of film art'. The Film Club received the award again for the year 2007-2008; and for a third time for the year 2018-2019. To Commemorate the Birth Centenary of Satyajit Ray (2 May 1921-2021), Founder President of the Federation of Film Societies of India, the IIC Film Club was one of five film societies across India selected for the Satyajit Ray Award for Significant Contributions to the Film Society Movement in India conferred by Federation of Film Societies of India, Central Office in May 2021.
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; 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.