This year, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, International Film Festival of India (IFFI) will take place with socially distanced screenings (limited physical), digital screenings, and the entire knowledge series, open forum and masterclasses in virtual format
As Covid-19 continues to reshape the festival calender across the world, the International Film Festival of India is adopting a hybrid online-physical model for its 51st edition beginning November 20. IFFI is organised by the Directorate of Film Festival under the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India in collaboration with the State Government of Goa (Entertainment Society of Goa) and the Indian film industry. IFFI will take place with socially distanced screenings (limited physical), digital screenings, and the entire knowledge series, open forum and masterclasses in virtual format.
Directorate of Film Festival has received large number of film entries from producers and sales agents for Indian Panorama Section and International Competition Section of the 51st International Film Festival of India to be held from November 20-28, 2020.
The 51st IFFI 2020, being planned as a hybrid event due to Covid-19, would screen the films on its official digital platform along with the theatrical screenings during the festival in Goa, subject to then prevailing conditions.
The preparations for 51st edition of the IFFI have begun in full swing. IFFI is on the lookout for International Jury members for IFFI 2020 and some big names are expected to be part of it.
Asia’s oldest event of its kind, IFFI still holds on to its pre-eminent position as a showcase of cinematic excellence. It has over the years witnessed numerous alterations in character, nomenclature, location, dates and duration. Through it all, it has remained steadfast in its emphasis on showcasing the diversity of Indian cinema as well as in its commitment to the celebration of excellence across moviemaking genres.
Over the past two and a half decades, several other international film festivals have sprung up across India, notably in Kolkata, Kerala and Mumbai, and they all contribute meaningfully to the collective task of taking quality cinema to people weaned principally on a staple diet of star-driven, song and dance extravaganzas. But IFFI continues to retain its preeminent position owing to its size, scope and vintage.
Not just in the Indian context but also in relation to the other major Asian film festivals, IFFI matters. And this is despite all the inevitable ups and downs that it has seen over the years.
All the other major Asian festivals – Tokyo, Busan and Shanghai – are of far more recent origin and therefore lack the history that is associated with IFFI. IFFI hands out prize money to the tune of US$ 200,000. The winner of the Golden Peacock for the best film takes home $80,000. That apart, the best director and the Special Jury Prize winner bag $30,000 each, while the two acting prizes come with a cash component of $20,000 each.
IFFI also confers two Lifetime Achievement Awards – one to an international film personality, the other to an Indian great. The moves to push IFFI up a few notches have unfolded since the coastal state of Goa became its permanent venue in 2004. IFFI now has a far more settled feel than ever before, with each improvement in terms of infrastructure and programming initiatives adding value to both the event and the location.
On the programming side, IFFI not only unveils the best films from around the multilingual country with the aim of providing a glimpse of the sheer range and dynamism of Indian cinema, it also puts together a remarkable slate of brand new world cinema titles.
IFFI also hosts many retrospectives, tributes, master classes and special sections, which enhance the variety and depth of the event. The master classes have emerged as a highlight of the festival, especially for film school students who converge in Goa during the ten-day event.
India’s first international film festival was organized within five years of the nation attaining Independence. It was a non-competitive event held in 1952 in Bombay (Now Mumbai). A special feature of the inaugural function was the screening of the first film screened in India in 1896 by the Lumiere brothers. Frank Capra was part of the American delegation that attended the festival.
After a fortnight-long run in Bombay, the festival travelled to Calcutta (now Kolkata), Madras (now Chennai) and Delhi. The first international film festival of India is rightfully credited with triggering a burst of creativity in Indian cinema by exposing young Indian filmmakers to the best from around the world, especially to Italian neo-realism.
Six decades on, IFFI continues to provide a useful platform to young Indian filmmakers who work outside the mainstream distribution and exhibition system and in languages that do not have access to the pan-Indian market that Hindi cinema has.
The Indian Panorama, a section that is made up of both features and non-features, opens global avenues for films made by veterans and newcomers alike.
IFFI now has a permanent home in Goa. The coastal state has benefitted appreciably from the shift. Its cinema has received a huge fillip in the decade and a half that Panaji has hosted IFFI. Filmmakers in the coastal state have been increasingly making their mark on the national and international stage.