IFFI@50 A Perfect Execution

By Pickle  December 2, 2019

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

Congratulations for successfully organizing the memorable IFFI Golden Jubilee edition. The films showcased here, especially the foreign films, were impressive this year. What do you have to say about this nine-day fest?

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.

Did the execution of IFFI go according to your plans?

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.

Festival director Chaitanya Prasad welcoming the Chief Guest of IFFI, Amitabh Bachchan
at the inaugural function of the 50th International Film Festival of India

What according to you are the three most important takeaways from the Golden Jubilee edition of IFFI?

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.

How has been the synergy with Entertainment Society of Goa and Directorate of Film Festivals?

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.

ICFT-UNESCO Fellini medal was awarded to International Film Festival of India (IFFI) on
completion of its glorious 50 years. Secretary, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting Amit Khare and Festival Director, Directorate of Film Festivals Chaitanya Prasad received the award on behalf of IFFI at the closing ceremony

Will the films shown at IFFI travel to other filmmaking centres of India?

This has been one of the suggestions. Let’s see how we take this forward.

What are some of the challenges faced by you in IFFI @50?

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.

It was a great moment to have Amitabh Bachchan and Rajinikanth sharing the stage during the opening ceremony of IFFI. What did it mean to you?

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.

How did you manage the stress? You have been working almost 24/7 for many months…

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.

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