IFFI: The Stage is Getting Ready

admin   June 22, 2020

The preparations for 51st edition of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) have begun in full swing. IFFI’s Golden Jubilee edition will be remembered for a long time for a string of things from honouring film industry legends Rajinikanth and Amitabh Bachchan to high profile International Jury for Competition Films.

IFFI 2020 is being planned as exciting as that of the golden jubilee edition, despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. It is expected to be as wide-ranging and bigger as its last year edition. IFFI 2020 will celebrate 100 years of India’s legendary filmmaker Satyajit Ray. The 9-day cinematic feast will embrace the works of a wide variety of filmmakers across the world with masterclasses, knowledge series and Film Bazaar.

IFFI is thrilled that South Korean film Parasite which had its India Premiere at IFFI Goa 2019 won Oscars for Best Picture. The film is running successfully in theatres now. IFFI is on the lookout for International Jury members for IFFI 2020 and some big names are expected to be part of it.

At the virtual Cannes Film Market, IFFI is meeting up with film executives, sales agents, festival heads to collaborate and looking at curating another edition of fabulous films from across the globe. IFFI will also have knowledge sessions, master classes and open forum besides festival films.

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 pre-eminent 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 375 India’s Only Film BIZ magazine for the world http://www.pickle.co.in 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 benefited 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.


IFFI Golden Jubilee Edition

admin   February 22, 2020

Packed into the nine-day festival were 200- odd films from 76 countries, which offered cineastes a wide sampling of last year’s most lauded works, besides a slew of landmark films of historical worth from across the world.

The 50th edition of Asia’s oldest international film festival was a major success. Packed into the nine-day festival were 200- odd films from 76 countries, which offered cineastes a wide sampling of last year’s most lauded works, besides a slew of landmark films of historical worth from across the world.

The best of contemporary world cinema apart, IFFI 2019 brought to film fans in Goa an impressive array of films from the past, including a package of nine previous winners of the Golden Peacock, the festival’s top trophy that now comes with a cash prize of over $55,000.

The Golden Peacock retrospective included the 1963 winner, Changes in the Village, directed by Lester James Peries, who is regarded as the father of Sri Lankan cinema. Andrey Zvyagintsev’s Leviathan (2014) was also in the segment along with James Ivory’s The Bostonians (1984), Miklos Jancso’s Hungarian Rhapsody (1979), Samira Makhmalbaf’s At Five in the Afternoon (2003) and Sergey Dvortsevoy’s Tulpan (2008). The sole Indian film in the selection of Golden Peacock winners was the Bengali film MonerManush (2010), directed by Goutam Ghose.

A bunch of equally fancied names were part of IFFI’s Festival Kaleidoscope, which showcased films that earned critical accolades. Led by Bong Joonho’s Palme d’Or winner Parasite, this section includes several other titles that premiered in Cannes: Mati Diop’s Atlantique, Jessica Hausner’s Little Joe and Celine Sciamma’s Portrait of a Lady on Fire.

Another commemorative segment aimed at underlining the special status of the 50th edition of IFFI was a retrospective of Oscar- winning films. Entries in this section ranged from Casablanca, Gone With the Wind and Ben-Hur to The Godfather, Forrest Gump and The Silence of the Lambs. All About Eve, The Best Years of Our Lives, Lawrence of Arabia and The Sound of Music completed the line-up of Oscar winners.

All eyes were also on the ‘filmmaker in focus’ Takashi Miike, a Ken Loach mini-retrospective, two restored Indian classics (RitwikGhatak’s Titas Ekti Nadir Naam and Uday Shankar’s Kalpana) plus Master Frames and Festival Kaleidoscope, sections devoted to films hailed in Cannes, Venice, Berlin and Toronto.

Six films were screened as part of the Takashi Miike retrospective. The package included the relatively mellow The Bird People of China. The other Miikefilms in IFFI are Audition (1999), with which the maverick Japanese director known for his no-holds-barred depiction of violence and sexual excess began to acquire international fame; Ichi the Killer, a manga adaptation that is still banned in several countries; the yakuza thriller Dead or Alive; the samurai film 13 Assassins; and First Love, which played in Cannes Directors’ Fortnight this year.

The 50th IFFI competition had assembled 15 films that gave the fivemember jury headed by John Bailey, veteran Hollywood cinematographer and former president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, plenty to choose from. As for the composition of the jury, IFFI had rarely got it better than it has done this time. As president of the main competition
jury, Bailey worked with four top-flight filmmakers: Scotland’s Lynne Ramsay, France’s Robin Campillo, China’s Zhang Yang and India’s Ramesh Sippy.

The competition line-up included two Indian titles: Lijo Jose Pellissery’s Jallikattu and Anant Mahadevan’s Mai Ghat Crime No. 103/2005. Among the other films in the IFFI 2019 competition were Pema Tseden’s rural- Tibet set Chinese production Balloon, Ali Aydin’s Turkish entry Chronology, Swiss filmmaker Blaise Harrison’s first fiction feature Particles, Brazilian actor Wagner Moura’s historical epic Marighella, Indonesian director Yosep AnggiNoen’s The Science of Fictions and the Slovenian film Stories from the Chestnut Woods, directed by Gregor Bozic.

World Panorama also had the Canadian film Coda, directed by Claude Lalonde. Master Frames brought together 19 films by directors such as Pedro Almodovar (Pain and Glory), Olivier Assayas (Wasp Network), Hirokazu Kore-eda (The Truth, Roy Andersson (About Endlessness), Costa Gavras (Adults in the Room), Roman Polanski (An Officer and a Boy, Goran Paskaljevic (Despite the Fog), Werner Herzog (Family Romance LLC), Atom Egoyan (Guest of Honour).

Russia was the focus country at IFFI. Speaking on the joint production of films and cultural exchange through films, Russian Ambassador to India Nikolay Kudashev said that such efforts will bring the spirit of India and Russia together. Head of Russian delegation at IFFI and Editor in Chief of Kinoreporter Maria Lameshev said that there was a great interest for Russian films among Indian people. She added that according to the coproduction agreement, 40 percent of budget of the film would be given back by the Ministry of Culture.

The 2019 edition of the Open Forum organised by the Federation of the Film Societies of India opened with the pertinent topic: Focus on IFFI @50: Flash Back and Moving Forward. The session was inaugurated by Chaitanya Prasad, Festival Director, ADG, Directorate of Film Festival (DFF), Kiran Shantaram, President, Federation of Film Societies of India, AK Bir, Filmmaker and Chairman of Technical Committee, IFFI 2019, Alexey Govorukhin, Executive Producer, Kinoreporter Magazine, Russia and Marianne Borgo, actress from France.


Plenty in Store in 2020

admin   February 22, 2020

IFFI is thrilled that Bong Joon-ho’s South Korean film Parasite, which had its India Premiere at IFFI Goa 2019, won multiple Oscars for Best Picture, screenplay and director. Now, IFFI is scouting for films from masters of the craft at Berlinale

The preparations for 51st edition of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) have begun in full swing. IFFI’s Golden Jubilee edition will be remembered for a long time for a string of things- from honouring film industry legends Rajinikanth to Amitabh Bachchan and high profile International Jury for Competition Films.

The India delegation at the ongoing 70th Berlin International Film festival is led by Ms. TCA Kalyani, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting and other senior members. Chaitanya Prasad, IFFI festival director is also at Berlinale 2020 to find films, collaborate with festival heads and extend invitation to filmmakers and industry professionals to attend IFFI

IFFI 2020 is being planned as exciting as that of the Golden Jubilee Edition. It will be as wide-ranging and bigger as its last year edition. IFFI 2020 will celebrate 100 years of India’s legendary filmmaker Satyajit Ray. The 9-day cinematic feast will embrace the works of a wide variety of filmmakers across the world with masterclasses, knowledge series and Film Bazaar.

IFFI is thrilled that Bong Joon-ho’s South Korean film Parasite which had its India Premiere at IFFI Goa 2019 won multiple Oscars for Best Picture, screenplay, director.

At Berlinale, IFFI is meeting up with film executives, sales agents, festival heads to collaborate and looking at curating another edition of fabulous films from across the globe. IFFI will also have knowledge sessions, master classes and open forum besides festival films. Asia’s oldest event of its kind, IFFI still holds on to its preeminent 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.

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 nonfeatures, 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.


IFFI IS GETTING BIGGER

admin   February 21, 2020

International Film Festival of India (IFFI) has evolved into a major forum for cinema across the world. Started in 1952, IFFI has established itself amongst the most important film events across the globe. 50th edition of IFFI, the Grand Golden Jubilee, was celebrated in Goa from 20th 28th November, 2019.

The Festival is organized by the Directorate of Film Festivals (DFF), Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India, in collaboration with the State Government of Goa and the Indian Film Industry. The Festival is recognized by the International Federation of Film Producers Associations (FIAPF).

The International Film Festival of India has become a landmark destination for established as well as young makers and directors from around the world. Continuing with the incredible legacy, IFFI provides an excellent opportunity for the filmmakers and film lovers to participate, watch, appreciate and learn the art of film making in a sylvan surrounding and a relaxed creative environment. It also provides great platform for networking with some of the best industry professionals from India and abroad. Some of the international guests who attended IFFI, Goa in 2019 were acclaimed Japanese filmmaker Takashi Miike, renowned French actress Isabelle Huppert, Russian actor Gleb Bochkov and many others.

‘Despite The Fog’ directed by Goran Paskaljevic was the Opening film, ‘Marghe And Her Mother’, directed by Mohsen Makhmalbaf was the closing film and ‘Traumfabrik’ directed by Martin Schreier was the Mid Fest film at IFFI, 2019.


Featured Post

Berlinale Forum Celebrates Golden Jubilee in 2020

admin   January 10, 2020

The Berlinale Forum takes place for the 50th time in 2020. In collaboration with Forum Expanded, the section will be presenting the films shown in the year it was founded to celebrate this anniversary. Bringing the 1971 programme back to the big screen offers a way of examining an era as eventful in society as it was in culture. The relationship between the films, their historical context, and our own present day will form the subject of a day of panel discussions on February 27, 2020.

When Ulrich and Erika Gregor and their colleagues founded the International Forum of New Cinema, they had a clear eye for the many radical innovations in cinema, the turbulent socio-political situation and the need to keep film history alive. Films made in countries yet to appear on the world map of cinema celebrated their premieres here, as did formalist adventures and non-narrative experiments. Film classics known the world over already formed part of the festival together with works that would later attain the same status. They also showed numerous films of an overtly political nature that were suffused with the countercultural zeitgeist. Today, numerous films originally shown at the Forum form the centerpiece of Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art’s archive of independent and radical films, which is the only collection of its kind in the world.

In 2020, Berlinale Forum and Forum Expanded will replay the section’s entire 1971 edition. 21 programmes will be shown during the festival, with the remaining 22 to be presented at Arsenal once the festival is over. The central questions here are: What is the legacy of the Forum’s first year and what significance does this legacy have today? How has the Forum developed over time and what has become of the concept of counter-culture that was of such decisive importance in 1971? At the screenings and a day of panel discussions on February 27, 2020, audiences will have the opportunity to discuss these questions in depth with filmmakers, scholars and artists.

Soviet cinema classics such as Alexandr Medvedkin’s Schastye (Happiness) form part of the anniversary programme, as do key feminist works (The Woman’s Film by the Newsreel Group). Documentaries about the American civil rights movement (The Murder of Fred Hampton by Howard Alk) equally screen alongside unsettlingly radical features, such as Ostia by Sergio Citti or Gishiki (The Ceremony) by Nagisa Oshima.


IFFI Spectacle Enthrals @50

admin   December 2, 2019

The Golden Jubilee edition of IFFI witnessed over 200 acclaimed films from 76 countries , with Russia as the country of focus. It also included 26 feature
films and 15 non-feature films in Indian panorama section. More than 10,000 film lovers participated over its nine days of star-studded gala ceremonies and knowledge sessions

Delivering on its promise to keep thousands of film fans, critics, theatre artists, aspiring actors and industry professionals captivated during the nine days of cinematic revelry in Goa, the Golden Jubilee celebrations of International Film Festival of India (IFFI) managed to bring the best of world cinema and talent under one roof.

One of Asia’s oldest festivals, IFFI saw a grand opening on 20th November at Dr Shyama Prasad Stadium, Bambolim. It was graced by stars like Amitabh Bachchan and Rajnikanth, besides various senior dignitaries from the Government of India including Minister of Information & Broadcasting Shri Prakash Javadekar, Secretary, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting Shri Amit Khare and Chief Minister of Goa Dr. Pramod Sawant. With more than 7,000 delegates, 200 landmark films from 76 countries, knowledge sessions, masterclasses, awards ceremony, cultural programmes, World Panorama and Kaleidoscope, and IFFI Film Bazaar, the cinematic extravaganza got bigger and better this time. Besides the festivities associated with the Festival, IFFI @50 also served as a prominent platform
to network, learn and enhance knowledge about the nuances of film making.

Opening Ceremony

Hosted by master of entertainment Shri Karan Johar, the opening ceremony was flagged off by the great doyen of Indian cinema Shri Amitabh Bachchan and the ‘Thalaiva’ of Indian film industry Shri Rajinikanth, in the presence of Union Minister for Information & Broadcasting Shri Prakash Javadekar and other official dignitaries. Shri Rajinikanth was conferred the ‘Icon Of Golden Jubilee Award’ for his outstanding contribution to Indian cinema, a first time award beginning with the 50th edition. One of French cinema’s defining faces actress Ms. Isabelle Anne Madeleine Huppert was conferred with the Lifetime Achievement Award. The inaugural ceremony also witnessed some enthralling audio visual performances which kept the audience spellbound through the evening. Noted music singer and composer Shankar Mahadevan and his band won the hearts with a spectacular performance.

Opening Film

The 50th edition of IFFI began with the screening of the Italian film Despite the Fog. The film journeys into the plight of refugees who are abandoned on the streets. In the film, Paolo, a manager at a restaurant finds an eight-year-old child on the cold streets and decides to take him home. The director delves into how society reacts to the presence of the child.

Speaking about the film, Director Goran Paskaljevic said, “It’s an intimate story. There are many films already done on the subject. But this is a story about whether people accept or don’t accept refugees in Europe and most cases they don’t. It serves a metaphor to explore the xenophobic fog prevalent in the region.”

Mariella Li Sacchi, one of the producers, stated that “the film isn’t a mainstream film, but a political statement”.

Legends of Indian cinema Ilaiyaraja, Prem Chopra, Manju Borah, Aravind Swamy and Haubam Paban Kumar were felicitated on the closing ceremony

Multimedia Exhibition

Adding yet another dimension to the IFFI experience this year was a one of its kind hi-tech digital, interactive and multimedia exhibition put up by the Bureau of Outreach and Communication and National Film Archives of India (NFAI) at Darya Sangam, near Kala academy. Named IFFI@50 the exhibition traced the journey of IFFI over the last five decades as it showcases Indian cinema to the world while also providing a platform in India for showcasing world cinema.

The exhibition leveraged novelhi- tech features like Zoetrope (moving picture creative installation), 360 bullet shot, 360 degree immersive experience area, augmented reality experience, vertical digital display panels, virtual reality tools, hologram technology, etc to create a self-learning historical experience for the viewers.

Panoramic view of the venue at the 50th International
Film Festival of India (IFFI-2019)

Amitabh Bachchan Retrospective

Shri Amitabh Bachchan inaugurated the Dadasaheb Phalke Award retrospective organised at Kala Academy during IFFI. Speaking at the launch, the veteran actor said, “I feel deeply humbled and would thank the Government of India for this prestigious award. I’ve always felt that I’m not deserving of such recognition but I humbly accept this with a lot of grace
and affection”.

Calling cinema a universal medium Shri Bachchan added that films are beyond the borders of language. The actor expressed hope that we continue to make films that will bring people together.

Indian Panorama

The Indian Panorama section of the 50th edition of IFFI opened with the screening of National Award winning Gujarati film ‘Hellaro’ directed by Shri Abhishek Shah in the feature film category at INOX in Panjim, Goa. A Kashmiri film ‘Nooreh’, directed by Shri Ashish Pandey, opened the non-feature film category at Indian Panorama. The other selections in the feature film category included five Marathi films — ‘Tujhya Aaila’,
‘Anandi Gopal’, ‘Bhonga’, ‘Mai Ghat’ and ‘Photo-Prem’. This category also included three films each in Malayalam and Bengali, two in Tamil and one Kannada film.

The feature film category also had a sub-section on mainstream cinema, under which popular films like ‘Gully Boy’, ‘Uri: The Surgical Strike’, ‘Super 30’ and ‘Badhaai Ho’ were screened. Telugu film ‘F2’ was also screened under this category.

IFFI Steering Committee Member and Director, Rahul Rawail felicitating Director
and Producer, Farah Khan at the 50th International Film Festival of India

NFAI Calendar

The NFAI Calendar 2020 was launched by I&B Secretary Shri Amit Khare. The calendar focuses on the musical instruments in Indian Cinema featuring 24 rare images from the collection of the archive. A rich compilation of the treasure of Indian musical instruments in Indian Cinema, the calendar features rare images of Raj Kapoor playing Tamboora (Valmiki, 1946); Jayashree Gadkar playing Veena (Seeta Maiya, 1964); Vishnupant Pagnis playing Ektara (Narsi Bhagat, 1940); P L Deshpande
playing Tenor Banjo (Gulacha Ganapati, 1953); Sivaji Ganesan playing Nadaswaram (Thillana Mohanambal, 1968); Neralattu Rama Poduval playing Idakka (Thampu, 1978); Raj Kumar playing Shehnai (Sanadhi Appanna, 1977), Kalpana playing Violin (GejjePooje, 1970), Kishore Kumar playing Harmonium (Shabash Daddy, 1978), etc.

Oscar Retrospective

A session on Oscar Retrospective was held on Day 1 at IFFI Goa. Moderated by Journalist and film critic Naman Ramachandran, the session had the Festival Director, ADG, Diretorate of Film Festivals (DFF), Chaitanya Prasad along with the editor of American Film Editor who also worked on the restored version of Casablanca, Ms. Carol Littleton. “We have grown up watching these films and admiring them. To be able to see these films on big screen is an experience in itself,” said Mr Prasad.

Ms Littleton spoke about how huge amount of efforts involved behind Oscars. “We work throughout the year. There are outreach programmes, workshops, seminars to make technicians technically sound. We also look at science of making films. Artistic and scientific sides both are important for making a film,” she said.

The specially curated “Homage Section” paid tribute to 13 eminent individuals who have contributed to Indian cinema during their lifetime

Country Focus-Russia

This year, Russia was the focus country at IFFI. Speaking on the joint production of films and cultural exchange through films, Russian Ambassador to India Mr. Nikolay Kudashev said that such efforts will bring the spirit of India and Russia together. Head of Russian delegation
at IFFI and Editor in Chief of Kinoreporter Ms. Maria Lameshev said that there was a great interest for Russian films among Indian people. She added that according to the co-production agreement, 40 percent of budget of the film would be given back by the Ministry of Culture. She extended her support in facilitating meetings for possible co-productions in future.

Eight Russian films–Abigail, Acid, Andrei Tarkovsky: A Cinema Prayer, Beanpole, Great poetry , Once in trubchevsk , Why don’t you just die!, and The Hero- -were screened in the Country Focus section of IFFI this year.

Accessible India – Accessible Films

A joint collaboration between IFFI, Saksham Bharat and UNESCO, the 50th IFFI edition screened three films for those with special needs with an aim to promote the creation of inclusive spaces for the differently-abled through audio description. The section opened with ‘Munna Bhai MBBS’ directed by Rajkumar Hirani. Attending the festival for the first time, actress Taapsee Pannu said that she was surprised to know such films were made. “I’ve not seen films that use audio to explain the scenes; so I wanted to surely see how it’s done,” she said. The other films screened were ‘Lage Raho Munnabhai’, ‘M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story’ and the Konkani film ‘Questao De Confusao’ with additional narration for the visually impaired.

Singer and Music Composer, Hariharan, Lesle Lewis and Tanushree Shankar being felicitated, at the closing ceremony of the 50th International Film Festival of India (IFFI-2019)

Open Forum

The 2019 edition of the Open Forum organised by the Federation of the Film Societies of India opened with the pertinent topic: Focus on IFFI @50: Flash Back and Moving Forward. The session was inaugurated by Chaitanya Prasad, Festival Director, ADG, Directorate of Film Festival (DFF), Kiran Shantaram, President, Federation of Film Societies of India, AK Bir, Filmmaker and Chairman of Technical Committee, IFFI 2019, Alexey Govorukhin, Executive Producer, Kinoreporter Magazine, Russia and Marianne Borgo, actress from France.

I congratulate the entire IFFI team for a grand Golden celebrations of IFFI 2019 with impeccable choice of films. It was a great learning experience for filmmaker’s like us to network and understand the wide range of language of cinema Chandrakant Singh, Film Maker

Celebrating Constitution Day

Films Division, Government of India, Mumbai celebrated ‘Constitution Day’ on 26th November. Three documentaries: ‘Our Constitution’, ‘India’s Struggle for Freedom: We the People of India’ and ‘Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar’, were screened to mark the occasion. The widely publicized screening of these films was open to all and free.

Film Education

An open forum held at IFFI brought to fore the urgent need for monitoring the quality of education being imparted by various film institutes in the country. Present at the session were panelists – Filmmaker, Cinematographer and Script writer A K Bir, Filmmaker M K Shankar, Filmmaker Ajay Bedi and Head of department, SRM School of Film Technology, R D Balaji. The panellists also raised concern about the mushrooming of film institutes and the affect that it has in reality on students. The session was moderated by Shashwat Gupta Ray, Resident Editor of Gomantak Times who opined that there are more than 100 film institutes, almost 1400 mass communication institutes that claim to teach the art of filmmaking.

Memorable IFFI

The golden jubilee edition brought to the shores of Goa the best of recent International cinema, along with special sections such as Golden Peacock Retrospective, Debut Film Competition, Soul of Asia retrospective, Master Film makers collection, Festival Kaleidoscope section, Accessible Films for Differently Abled, World Panorama 2019, Filmmaker in Focus, Restored Indian Classics, ICFT-UNESCO Gandhi Medal competition, Retrospective of Indian New Wave Cinema , Konkani Film Package and Dadasaheb Phalke Award. The 50th edition of IFFI also showcased fifty films of fifty women directors which reflect the contribution of women in cinema.


IFFI@50 A Perfect Execution

admin   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.


We wanted Goa to remember 50th IFFI ESG CEO Amit Satija

admin   December 2, 2019

It wasn’t going to be an easy job to organize an international event, but for Amit Satija, CEO of Entertainment Society of Goa, who worked on the ground 24/7 to manage logistics in close collaboration with DFF, it was meticulous planning and collaboration with different departments that helped him organize a memorable 50th Anniversary of IFFI

A positive man, who looks for a silver lining in every situation, Amit Satjja, CEO of Entertainment Society of Goa, was a hard person to find while he was busy preparing to fulfil the vision of making the 50th IFFI Golden Jubilee celebration a memorable one.

“Everyone in Goa is proud that IFFI takes place in their place and associates with it. Hon’ble Chief Minister Dr Pramod Sawant’s unflinching support was there all the time. He would personally monitor the progress. He personally used to review the project; visit the venue and guide us what to do and what not to do. In the beginning only we set the contours. We wanted to make it people-friendly. We wanted Goa to remember the 50th IFFI Golden Jubilee celebration,” says Satija, who took over the preparations for the festival in July this year.

This edition of IFFI was also special for Goa, as it was the first time that movies were sent to different talukas of the State in mobile vans for common Goans to experience their magic. “ESG sent mobile vans with movies to different talukas and we also screened films in four Rabindra Bhavans for the benefit of local population. There were also two open-air screenings,” he reveals.

His attitude towards work has been one of the key elements in making IFFI’s Golden Jubilee celebrations such a huge success. “When someone comes with a problem, at least I don’t take it as a problem. I take it as a feedback of the system we work in. And, if one person comes to me with a problem, at least 100 persons must be facing it. Therefore, we must find a solution to that problem,” he adds.

Satija and his team started preparing for IFFI in mid -July. This was an additional charge for him, as his main charge is that of Commissioner of Excise, Government of Goa.

ESG sent mobile vans with movies to different talukas and we also screened films in four Rabindra Bhavans for the benefit of local population.

“I tried to jot down everything possible that happens in the festival and arranged them in a sequence, clearly writing what action has to be fulfilled with what. And most importantly, we had to follow the government procedures in all the tendering that happened for the festival.”

He said that he was thankful to at least 30 government departments who took collective responsibility to make this edition of IFFI a success. “Without police, the event could not have been successful. We also got venues from forest department. Without them it was not possible. Then CCP, PWD, Electricity department, waste management, health department, and traffic police also contributed significantly,” he says.

His mantra for dealing with stress: “The stress is directly proportional to the
planning that you make. If your preparations are well, your stress will be less.” It was this attitude that kept him going which resulted in a festival that will be remembered for a long time to come.


ESG Ready to expand Capabilities

admin   December 2, 2019

In successfully organizing IFFI, Entertainment Society of Goa (ESG) has proven its capability, says ESG Vice-Chairman Subhash Phal Dessai, while also stressing that the work on the Film City and convention centre projects, the dream projects of late Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, will also soon pick up pace in the state

How did you plan the Golden Jubilee celebrations of IFFI?

I was appointed as the Vice-Chairman of ESG just three months before the festival happened. Although I was good in administration, I made sure that things were well-planned. I made various committees and delegated powers to my team working on the project.

I think I lived to the expectations of the Hon’ble Chief Minister. He was very clear from the beginning that work should not get stuck at any stage. He cleared almost all the files within 24-hours.

How did you manage to work with different stakeholders in organizing a successful festival this year?

It is normally difficult to synchronize things with both the institutions— ESG and DFF—having different works to execute. At the same time, it had to be done in convergence with each other as it was a combined effort. Due to proper planning, this year ESG and DFF worked together without any clash of opinion. It was a smooth sailing.

Do you plan to bring many more events like this one to Goa?

Yes. Our job is not just limited to organizing IFFI. Of course IFFI is the biggest festival we have and the formation of ESG happened because of IFFI, but at the same time we have proved in the last few years that we are capable and have good potential and expertise in organizing events beyond IFFI.

The late Chief Minister, Manohar Parrikar had envisioned a powerful infrastructure for the festival in the State. Don’t you think it is taking time for his vision to be fulfilled?

Manohar Parrikar was a visionary leader and taking IFFI to Goa was a brave decision he took. He executed it so well for everyone to see. However, his untimely demise was a great setback. Before the first IFFI in 2004, there was nothing in Goa in terms of infrastructure, but he transformed the infrastructure within six months time. It was his dream to build a film city and a big convention centre.

Under the leadership of our present Chief Minister, we are definitely heading towards fulfilling Parikkar’s dream. We will be taking the Film City Project this year. We are also making efforts to make all facilities to filmmakers at one place. We have announced a short film competition in the State and probably through them we would be able to highlight some of the scenic places of Goa.


The Adventure of a Lifetime

admin   November 24, 2019

As IFFI celebrates its Golden Jubilee year, we need to look back at the Festival’s five-decade-long exciting journey to assess where it has succeeded or failed so that our learning about world cinema and different cultures could be deepened further
By B B Nagpal

Cinema has a deeper cultural root in India than in any other country, since it has played the role of the best media for spreading information and education in a country which has a huge number of uneducated people.

The International Film Festival of India (IFFI), which was started in 1952, has played a major unifying role as it has helped greater understanding of different cultures and traditions within and outside the country.

Even as one approaches the Golden Jubilee of IFFI from 20 to 28 November, it is necessary to understand the history of the Festival and make an assessment of where it has succeeded or failed.

The Festival has become the prime festival of the entire developing world as it features not merely Asian but also African and Latin American directors in its competition.

India has led the world in terms of the number of feature films produced every year, and it was therefore natural that the Government of the day under India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru started the first IFFI 67 years earlier in 1952, though it became an annual event only in 1975.

The first Festival in 1952 — which was non-competitive — was expectedly held in Bombay which was the largest film production centre in the country. The second festival was held in 1961 and this was also non-competitive. But the Festival became competitive with the third edition in Delhi in 1965.

That year was also the first time that the Indian festival was graded ‘A’ category by the Paris-based Federation International De Producers De Films (FIAPF) coming on par with Cannes, Berlin, Venice, Karlovy Vary and Moscow festivals. The fourth IFFI in Delhi in 1969 was also competitive.

India adopted at its fifth festival in 1975 a permanent insignia comprising a representation of the peacock, India’s national bird, with a permanent motto – ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakum’ (The whole world is a family). It was also decided that a competitive IFFI would be held every alternative year in Delhi alternating with a non-competitive Filmotsav which would be held in different film producing centres each time.

Consequently, Delhi hosted a competitive IFFI from 1977 to 1987 every odd year and the non-competitive Filmotsav moved from one place to another in the even years. While the Indian Panorama had been introduced in the Festivals in 1978, the 1987 Festival was the first to feature commercial cinema with the introduction of the Mainstream Section. After that, the competition section was stopped but revived in 1996 and ultimately devoted to Asian cinema.

The Festival had thus been held in Kolkata, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad apart from Delhi until 2003.

In 2004, the Festival moved for the first time to a non-film producing centre when it came to Panaji in Goa which has since become its permanent venue. The duration of the Festival has also been reduced to nine days.

I have personally reported every IFFI from 1977 to 2012 as a journalist. In 2007, I became the first editor of the festival daily when it was outsourced, and even renamed it as IFFI Daily, and held this post five times. Expectedly, this led to my meeting a large number of film personalities from India and abroad – with many of whom I still maintain close contact. I also served as a member of the preview committee for some years around ten years earlier. The committee which met in Delhi shortlisted the films from the large number of entries received.

But the best memories I have is of the period when it was a travelling festival. I recall that in 1982 during the non-competitive IFFI in Kolkata (then Calcutta), I had the opportunity to meet the master cine craftsman
of India, Satyajit Ray. In fact, this was soon after his lone Hindi film for Doordarshan, ‘Sadgati’ and he candidly spoke about how some film critics reacted to the film and how they virtually invented interpretations about the film. I also remember his boisterous laugh over a remark made in Parliament by nominated member Nargis Dutt who had criticised the then Film Finance Corporation (now NFDC) for funding only art films of the kind Ray made.

I feel that the most lavish festival I have attended was the IFFI at Hyderabad in 1986 when the Chief Minister and actor N T Ramarao put the entire state machinery in the service of the Festival. I recall how a Bollywood actress who broke her sandals, she was given a bus just to go to a showroom to buy new sandals!

Years later in Trivandrum (now Thiruvananthapuram), I recall visiting the famed filmmaker G Aravindan in 1988 during the Festival there, when he showed me sketches of some film ideas he had in mind. Unfortunately, he died a few years later and could not bring those ideas to fruition.

During the IFFI in 1992, I recall with gratitude the sumptuous home-cooked food I ate almost every day which the then Festival Director shared with me. The food came to her from the house of Kamal Haasan, and I am sure he still does not know that I partook of the food.

After the Festival moved to Goa, I remember veteran music director Anandji – who had come to Panaji as a section had been organised on films on music – telling me that music had lost its charm after the golden era of the fifties to seventies because music was being made not for the mind or the heart, but for dancing feet. The beat had taken over from lyricism. It was a truism which I will never forget.

And while talking about Goa, I am reminded of a festival for which I arrived just hours before the inauguration and had no time to register. The actor Suresh Oberoi who had flown in with me from Mumbai gave me his Silver VIP card, saying that he would in any case not be denied entry at the inauguration since he was a star. I will always be grateful to him for that gesture.

Unfortunately, I am reminded of a sad incident that occurred during a year when there was a section on films about football. We were attending an Open Forum when a director from a Latin American country whose film had been screened just collapsed on the dais and passed away moments after he had finished answering a question from the audience. It was a scary moment that refuses to go away.

For me, IFFI has been an adventure where I have learnt so much about the cinema and the culture of so many countries even as I enjoyed the films. I only wish the Festival would last a little longer and give us more opportunities for interaction with film delegates from India and abroad.