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.
‘Particles’ by Blaise Harrison won the best Film Award
The Best Director Award:
Lijo Jose Pellissery won the Best Director award for his film ‘Jallikattu’
Best Debut Film of a Director (Shared):
Amin Sidi Boumediene for Abou Leila and Marius Olteanu for Monsters
IFFI Best Actor Award (Male):
Seu Jorge for the film Marighella
IFFI Best Actor Award (Female):
Usha Jadhav for the film Mai Ghat: Crime No 103/2015.
ICFT UNESCO Gandhi Medal:
Riccardo Salvetti for Rwanda
Special Jury Award:
Pema Tseden for Balloon
Special Mention Jury Award:
Hellaro directed by Abhishek Shah
Special mention under ICFT-UNESCO Gandhi medal:
Bahattar Hoorain directed by Sanjay Puran Singh Chauhan
ICON OF GOLDEN JUBILEE OF IFFI:
IFFI-2019 LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD:
The Best Director Award:
Lijo Jose Pellissery won the Best Director award for his film ‘Jallikattu’
“I want to dedicate this (the award) to my directors, producers, technicians and my fans.” – Mr Rajinikanth
“There is always this bickering between us… There are times when I give him some advice and then there are days, when he suggests something to me. Though, we never follow each other’s advice…. I feel that relationships are about all of this.”- Mr Amitabh Bachchan
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
The 49th edition of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) opened amidst the presence of film stars, filmmakers and cine-lovers from across the world amid pomp and gaiety in Panjim, Goa. Israeli master craftsman Dan Wolman was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the opening ceremony of the 49th IFFI.
India is a land of storytellers where every person has a story to tell said Col Rajyavardhan Rathore, Union Minister of State for Information & Broadcasting at the IFFI 2018 Opening Ceremony. “These stories inspire and entertain us. IFFI is a platform for our young generation to showcase their talent. It is a platform for the international filmmakers to see India and explore the talent that we have. It is a great collaboration for both the sides.”
The opening ceremony of IFFI 2018 also saw the launch of the Web Portal ofFilm Facilitation Office (FFO) that was launched by Col. Rajyavardhan Rathore. The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting set up the Film Facilitation Office (FFO) in NFDC in 2015 with a view to promote and facilitate film shootings by foreign filmmakers in India, the services of which have now been extended to Indian film makers as well.
Film Offices set up by states highlight their film policy, their efforts to ensure a smooth filming process, showcase their locations and acquaint the filmmakers and the fraternity about the incentives/rebates/subsidies offered for filming in their respective states. In order to disseminate information regarding filming in India, the FFO has now developed a Web Portal. (www.ffo.gov.in).
Israeli master craftsman Dan Wolman was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the opening ceremony of the 49th IFFI. While speaking at the occasion, Mr Wolman said, “Thank you for honoring me with the Lifetime Achievement Award which is the highest award that I have ever received. It is sweeter because I am receiving it in India – a country whose people, culture and phenomenal cinema I truly admire. This year IFFI has chosen to focus on Israeli cinema. I am glad the films selected for this reflect the range of Israeli cinema. There is chemistry between India and Israel. I hope this chemistry manifests in co productions and collaborations in cinema.”
The opening ceremony of IFFI 2018 was anchored by Mandira Bedi and Amit Sadh and saw the presence of eminent Indian and international film personalities such as Akshay Kumar, Karan Johar, Randhir Kapoor, Prasoon Joshi, Julien Landais, Barbara Meier, Nicolas Hau, Lois Robbins, Siddharth Roy Kapoor, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, Robert Glinski, Tom Fitzpatrick, Poonam Dhillon,Hrishita Bhatt, Madhur Bhandarkar, Arijit Singh, Ramesh Sippy, Chin Han among others.
The 49th IFFI will showcase the best of recent International cinema, along with special sections such as Retrospectives, Masterclasses, In-Conversation sessions,Homages, Indian Panorama, International Competition, featuring the best of world cinema produced in the past year, with the aim of providing a platform for young creative minds to interact, view and learn.
The festival opened with the World Premiere of The Aspern Papers, amid the presence of the cast and crew of the film. IFFI 208 will close in similar fashion – with the World Premiere of German film, Sealed Lips.
This edition of the festival will showcase films which reflect diversity of taste. IFFI 2018 will showcase 212 films from over 68 countries which consist of 2 WorldPremieres, 16 Academy Award nominated films and 6 Indian rare language films. The International Competition section of IFFI 2018 will have 15 films, out of which 3 are Indian films competing for the Golden and Silver Peacock awards. The Competition section itself represents films produced and co-produced by 22 countries. The International Competition jury is headed by renowned by renowned Polish Director Robert Glinski and includes jury members such as Adrian Sitaru, Anna Ferraioli Ravel, Tom Fitzpatrick and Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra.
Akin to every year, IFFI will be featuring a Country of Focus that brings out the cinematic excellence and contributions of that particular Country. In its 49th edition of IFFI, the Country of Focus will be Israel. Ten films in collaboration with the Consulate General of Israel in Mumbai, have been selected for the country focus package.
IFFI 2018, for the first time ever, will feature a State Focus section that will focus on the films of one of the Indian States, thus shedding light on the art and culture of that particular state. Jharkhand has been selected as the State of Focus for 49th IFFI 2018 and Jharkhand Day will be celebrated on 24th November 2018 as part of the festival. Movies in the Jharkhand Package include MS Dhoni The Untold Story, Death in the Gunj, Ranchi Diary, Begum Jaan with others.
This year, IFFI has also collaborated with the International Council for Film, Audiovisual Communication (ICFT) Paris, to present a special ICFT prize consisting of the UNESCO Gandhi Medal to a film, which reflects the ideals promoted by UNESCO. This year 10 films will be showcased for selection of a film to be presented with this coveted award, out of which 2 are Indian films.
The Homage presentations at the 49th IFFI will include tributes to the late actors Sridevi, Vinod Khanna, Shashi Kapoor, M Karunanidhi and filmmaker Kalpana Lajmi.
Indian Panorama 2018 will screen both Feature & Non-Feature films in Goa at the 49th International Film Festival of India. The feature film jury selected the film OLU directed by acclaimed filmmaker Shaji N Karun as the opening feature film of Indian Panorama 2018. In the Non-Feature film category, Goa’s very own director Aditya Suhas Jambhale will present his film, Kharvas as the Opening film of Indian Panorama 2018.
The ceremony was held at the Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Indoor Stadium, Goa, and was aired live on DD National along with live streaming on the YouTube channel of PIB youtube.com/pibindia.
The opening ceremony was followed by the screening of the Opening film of IFFI 2018 – the World Premiere of The Aspern Papers, at Kala Academy.
The Venice International Film Festival will present veteran Chinese director Zhang Yimou with this year’s lifetime achievement award, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Glory prize.
The award will be conferred to Zhang Yimou on 6 September 2018 in the Sala Grande (Palazzo del Cinema), before the world premiere screening Out of Competition of his new film Ying (Shadow). Ying is a martial arts (wuxia) film about the conflict between two feudal groups.
Regarding this acknowledgment, the Director of the Venice Film Festival Alberto Barbera stated in a press release: “Zhang Yimou is not only one of the most important directors in contemporary cinema, but with his eclectic production, he has represented the evolution of global language of film, and at the same time, the exceptional growth of Chinese cinema. Zhang Yimou has been a pioneer thanks to his capacity to translate authors, stories and the richness of Chinese culture in general into a unique and unmistakable visual style. His unforgettable debut, Red Sorghum (1987), adapted from Nobel award winner Mo Yan, brought him international recognition as one of the most important directors of the Fifth Generation. Since then, his talent in combining the elegance of form with a universal type of narrative structure has won him important acknowledgments, including two Golden Lions for The Story of Qiu Ju (1992) and Not one less (1999). At the turn of the century, the martial arts film Hero (2002) – his third nomination for an Oscar as best foreign-language film – established him as an icon of the Chinese cinema at the global level, and won him the direction of the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympic Games in Beijing (2008), followed by a series of major productions with International film stars. With Shadow (2018), to be presented in its world premiere screening at the 75th Venice International Film Festival, Zhang Yimou returns to martial arts films with the formal elegance and remarkable inventiveness that has always distinguished his cinema”.
Ying (Shadow) is a martial arts (wuxia) film about the conflict between two feudal groups. In China, during the period of the Three Kingdoms (220-280 circa A.D.), an exiled king and his people develop a plot to regain control of their land. The events are told from the points of view of the king, his sister, his commander, the women trapped in the royal palace and a common citizen.
Four times in Competition at the Venice Film Festival – in 1991 with Raise the Red Lantern, in 1992 with The Story of Qiu Ju, in 1997 with Keep Cool and in 1999 with Not One Less – winner of two Golden Lions, respectively in 1992 and in 1999, a Silver Lion in 1991 and a Coppa Volpi for Best Actress (Gong Li, in 1992 for The Story of Qiu Ju), Zhang Yimou is the only director to have won all the most important prizes of the Venice Film Festival in less than ten years.
Jaeger-LeCoultre is for the fourteenth consecutive year a sponsor of the Venice International Film Festival, and for the twelfth of the Glory to the Filmmaker award. The prize has been awarded in past years to Takeshi Kitano (2007), Abbas Kiarostami (2008), Agnès Varda (2008), Sylvester Stallone (2009), Mani Ratnam (2010), Al Pacino (2011), Spike Lee (2012), Ettore Scola (2013), James Franco (2014), Brian De Palma (2015), Amir Naderi (2016), Stephen Frears (2017).