Author: Syed Mahmoud Nawaz
The 47th Edition of the Prestigious International Film Festival of India is all set to be held in Goa from the 20th November to 28th November 2016. The picturesque State of Goa has been hosting IFFI every year since 2004. The Directorate of Film Festivals of the Union Ministry of Information & Broadcasting organizes the festival in collaboration with the Entertainment Society of Goa which has been established by the state government as the nodal agency for organizing IFFI.
The first IFFI was organized in 1952 and the festival has come a long way in becoming one of the most reputed film festivals over the decades. More than one thousand film entries have been received from over 100 countries for the 47th IFFI. Around 200 films representing 88 countries have been selected for this year’s festival.
IFFI derives its theme from the phrase ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ – The Whole World is One Family’. And the phrase very well exemplifies the Indian notion of non-violence and peaceful coexistence. The Indian Panorama section of IFFI 2016 will showcase 22 films.
Fifteen films from across the world, including two Indian Films namely ‘Ishti’ and ‘Sahaj Paather Gappo’, will compete in the International Competition section.
12 films which have won awards at the Cannes Film Festival 2016 will also be screened at IFFI this year. The list includes, ‘I, Daniel Blake’, the winner this year of Cannes Festival’s highest honour, the prestigious Palme d’Or. The world of cinema lost two giants this year – Polish filmmaker Andrzej Wajda and Iranian film maker Abbas Kiarostami. A special tribute section in the memory of the two masters would also be organised.
To enhance cultural dialogue and partnership and to promote friendly relations with other nations, it has been a tradition for many years now that the International Festival of India features a ‘Country of Focus’ every year. In this category, prominent films made by the Country of Focus are screened delegations from the country of focus visit IFFI and there are intensive discussions and exchange of ideas. We have had Spain at IFFI 2015, China at IFFI 2014, Japan at IFFI 2013, Turkey at IFFI 2012, and USA at IFFI 2011 – as our focus countries. The Country of Focus at the 47th IFFI in Goa will be the Republic of Korea.
Korean Writer and Director Kwon Taek Im, who is better known as the father of New Korean Cinema and who has strongly made his presence felt at the world stage , will be honored with the ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ this year. Kwon Taek Im has directed more than a 100 films in the last about 5 decades and has been honored with a number of awards, including Best Director Award at Cannes Film Festival, 2002 for his movie Chi-hwa-seon (Strokes of Fire) which was about a 19th Century Korean painter who changed the direction of Korean art.
Acclaimed singer, S. P. Balasubrahmanyam would be honored with the Centenary Award for Indian Film Personality of the Year 2016, for his contribution to Indian Cinema. He holds the record in the Guinness Book for singing and recording more than 40,000 songs and has won the National Award six times.
A new initiative, Centenary Award for Best Debut Feature of a Director, would recognize young talent under this new competition section. This section would showcase some of the outstanding directorial debuts of 2016 from across the world of cinema.
IFFI 2016 in collaboration with the International Council for Film, Television and Audiovisual Communication (ICFT), Paris and UNESCO would also present the “ICFT- UNESCO Gandhi Medal” to a film, which reflects the ideals of peace, tolerance and non-violence.
The opening film of the festival would be the grand masterpiece, ‘After-Image’, a creation of veteran writer and director, late. Andrzej Wajda. This movie is a passionate biopic about avant-garde painter Wladyslaw Strzeminski. The closing film of 47th IFFI would be the South Korean official entry for the Academy Awards, The Age of Shadows, an action thriller directed by Kim Jee-woon.
47th IFFI also has in store, a number of Master classes and workshops to be conducted by internationally acclaimed personalities. Peter Hain will conduct a master class in ‘Action Direction’, Rajko Grlić in ‘Screenplay Writing’, Alan Heim in ‘Editing’, Richie Mehta on ‘Documentary Film Making’, Robert Yeoman in ‘Cinematography’, Rosalie Varda in ‘Costume Designing and Theresa Ellis Rygiel in ‘Visual Effects’.
Special workshops will be conducted by, Namit Malhotra on ‘Digital Transformation-Future of Film Making’, Sean Feeney on ‘Current Overview of Animation Industry in India’, Sid Ganis on ‘Foreign Language Film Selection for Oscar Awards by AMPAS’ and Sue Kuruvilla on ‘Film PR & Publicity’.
Talking to the media recently during the curtain raiser press conference of the 47th IFFI, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu, the Minister of Information & Broadcasting shed light on the Government’s efforts to project India as a soft power and Filming Destination. He said, “It has been a win-win situation so far, in terms of attracting global stakeholders from various quarters of film industry to India as well as Indian films, expertise and talent being accepted globally at international festivals. We have also outlined plans to set up a Film Promotion Fund, to provide financial assistance to Indian films which would be selected in any competition section of an International Film Festival, or being India’s official nomination to the Academy Awards under Foreign Film Category, for promotional activities. This initiative would help independent filmmakers to promote their work across the globe”.
We should hope that IFFI as a platform would keep on providing encouragement to the film makers who contribute to the world of cinema through their creations.
*Author is a senior journalist and film-maker. He writes on a variety of subjects.