From meticulous planning to see a perfect execution on ground, organizing International Film Fes tival of India’s Golden Jubilee edition was never an easy task. Chaitanya Prasad, Festival Director, IFFI, shares with Pickle how the nineday cinematic extravaganza was achieved success through a laudable team effort, and sheer will to succeed in the face of challenges
My team worked hard to come up with a programming which was on par with the standards of international film festival. We sought to offer links between old narrative of cinema and contemporary styles as far as format and filmmaking is concerned. It was a blend of cinematic excellence. We were duly advised by our Preview Committee and Steering Committee on the kind and quality of films we could have.
Due credit should also be given to my programming team who identified the master filmmakers. With this edition of IFFI, I believe that we are on the right track.
We tried to make the execution plan of IFFI as perfect as possible. Our objective was to ensure satisfaction of all our delegates with the kind of films that were shown; the film sections that were curated; and the kind of packages we offered at IFFI. The festival had a retrospective on Oscar-winning films and a retrospective on Golden Line of Indian Cinema completing 50 years in 2019. To help the budding filmmakers and students gain better insights into the filmmaking craft, we included Master Clases, In-Conversations and workshops with some of the brightest minds in the field. In a nutshell, we sought to ensure that the joy of making cinema, celebration of cinema continue in its various forms at IFFI 50th edition.
The first takeaway that comes to my mind was that we offered people a very difficult choice to immerse themselves into the wonderful world of cinema at three different venues at the same time. To make a choice to watch a film or attend a concurrently- held Masterclass or an Inconversation session was a challenging one for the audience. The second one was the cinema packages that we had to offer including Ken Loach Retrospective, Masterframe, World Kaleidoscope, Cinema of the World, Soul of Asia, Golden Line of Indian Cinema, Oscar Retrospective, Golden Peacock Retrospective. The third takeaway would be the mesmerizing music and dance performances during the opening and closing ceremonies of the festival. Be it the fusion music given by Shankar Mahadevan; the performance by Hariharan on the theme of Ek Bharat, Shresth Bharat; or Tanushree Shankar’s dance performance – these among other things will be etched in our memory for a long time.
When we work as partners, collaborators in progress, we rise together and sink together. Simply put, team work is an important element to make any event of IFFI’s magnitude a success. We needed to be together at all possible junctures and combine our strengths to work towards a common goal, i.e., ensuring the success of the festival.
It turned out that each one of us worked in perfect sync with one another, which was the need of the hour. It had been a perfect team work between ESG and DFF. Our Minister Mr Prakash Javadekar captained the team and led it from the front. He gave me a blueprint of IFFI’s Golden Jubilee celebrations and we worked hard 24/7 in the last six months to make it a memorable festival. Mr Amit Khare, Secretary, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, was like the Rock of Gibraltar. He ensured that our requirements were met in the best possible manner. My team has worked wonderfully. They are the ones who worked at the ground level to make IFFI a success. Everything blended very well. My role was to facilitate my team to execute the work seamlessly.
This has been one of the suggestions. Let’s see how we take this forward.
Some of the most challenging tasks at hand were: finding way to blend the programming together; seamless integration of different genres of cinema; making sure the opening ceremony kickstarts the festival as intended; and everything goes smoothly as per the plan and the opening ceremony becomes a memorable one. The fusion of music is not a very easy subject. It is an abstract art. It was very challenging to see how we could bring about the fusion in different segments. We have hopefully succeeded in doing it.
Amitabh Bachchan was unbelievable. So was Rajinikanth ji. It is a matter of great pride that both of them accepted our invitation and were kind to attend the IFFI Golden Jubilee edition. And for us, it was like a dream come true. What else do you want from a festival than these two doyens of cinema suddenly descent on your Golden Jubilee edition and make it a roaring success. We are too humbled.
The mantra for stress management is that if you do things systematically,
it becomes a lot easier to achieve your goals. Our meticulous planning helped a lot in dealing with the stress and gain success.