Nurturing and promoting the enlightened appreciation and ardent love for films, the 53rd International Film Festival of India drew to a conclusion with a star-studded grand ceremony at Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Indoor Stadium, Taleigao Plateau here in Goa.
Welcoming guests to the colourful and vibrant valedictory ceremony, Union Minister for Information & Broadcasting and Youth Affairs & Sports, Anurag Thakur said that IFFI opened up a nuanced world of cinema for audiences across the region, both young and old, new and festival veterans. “IFFI not only entertained but also educated us. IFFI tickled our humour and refined their senses”, he said.
“Over the last nine days, IFFI curated the screenings of 282 films clocking 35000 minutes of viewing time. The festival featured 183 international films and 97 Indian films in 65 international and 15 Indian languages from 78 countries worldwide. Over 20 Masterclasses, In-Conversation sessions and a long list of celebrity events were held, out of which several sessions were accessible not just physically but even virtually.”
Anurag Thakur added that the diversity showcased at the festival is the living embodiment of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ that brought together creative thinkers, film makers, cinema lovers and cultural enthusiasts from all over the world under one roof.
MANY NEW BEGINNINGS AT IFFI 53
The I&B Minister remarked that the 53rd IFFI concluded by making many beginnings. Selecting France as ‘Country of Focus’ reciprocating Cannes’ Country of Honour status given to India by France, Technological Park that showcased the latest innovations from the world of cinema, 53 hour challenge to 75 Creative Minds of Tomorrow, specially curated package for Manipuri cinema are some of them, he added. For the first time, masterclasses were held in partnership with film schools in Canada, OTT players and Oscar Nominees such as Kung Fu Panda director Mark Osborn.
NO MORE REGIONAL
The Minister reiterated his commitment to give a strong emphasis to regional cinema and provide a platform for its growth. Regional cinema is no more regional, it has gone to national and international, he added. “This year we have seen many films like RRR, KGF and others making the international rise. Recently, we had a delegation from Bangladesh and from Central Asian countries consisting of more than 80 youth. All they wanted was to listen to the Hindi film songs and regional film songs. They talked about movies from the era of Mithun Chakraborthy to Akshay Kumar and Chiranjeevi, which cut across boundaries. If content is strong, it does not stay in the limits of a particular region.”
TOWARDS AN ENRICHING FILMING ECOSYSTEM
The Minister further said that IFFI has transformed into a platform where ideas emerge, and where cinematic innovation is showcased, where collaborations and co-productions are embarked upon, experiences shared and timeless cinema emerges for generations to enjoy and remember. Looking into the future editions of IFFI, he said that our goal is to build an enriching filming ecosystem in India and a future-ready industry that will have the full support of the government under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Referring to talents and trends in cinema, Anurag Thakur said that the world of cinema is bustling with raw talent, finding its voice from theatre schools, small independent production houses and the hinterland of India. “The platforms are new, whether its short films made on your mobile devices, movies on the go or binge watching on OTT. We are seeing incredible talent being recognised, enthralling audiences and being loved by fans and doing great business too”.
The Minister hinted that what is happening now in cinema is similar to what great sports leagues did to raw talent in cricket, kabaddi, hockey etc. “India has always had talent. It just needed an opportunity to be seen without gate keepers where the audience determines their success.”
On innovations spurred by Digital India, I & B Minister highlighted that the advent of different streams of cinema – propelled by Digital India’s affordable handsets and cheaper data – is leaping ahead on sheer individual talent, to showcase powerful and captivating stories to the world.
NEW PARTNERSHIPS WITH ISRAEL
Fourth season of the critically-acclaimed Israeli series Fauda was premiered at the 53rd International Film Festival of India (IFFI) much ahead of its global launch. Anurag Thakur said that Fauda has been a hit in India and the premiere of its fourth season received a thunderous reception during the IFFI. He also thanked Israeli Ambassador Naor Gilon for being here at Goa for 53rd IFFI.
While felicitating the Fauda team, the Minister said that India and Israel share a very special relation. “We have conflict in the neighbourhood. At the same time, we have thousands of years of history, we work together in many areas, especially in the area of security.”
Raising a toast to Israel’s startup ecosystem, the Minister expressed confidence in forging new partnerships with Israel in the area of cinema and filmmaking. “There has to be co-production and collaboration with Israeli counterparts. India will be the content hub of the world in the near future. This is the right time to collaborate and reach out and make films around those stories which are not told to the world. India is the place and Israel is the right partner.” he added.
Anurag Thakur also congratulated Telugu actor Chiranjeevi for being conferred with the Indian Personality of the Year Award. “Chiranjeevi had an illustrious career spanning nearly four decades and over 150 films that have left audiences spellbound,” he said.
…AND THE AWARDS GO TO
Spanish Film ‘I Have Electric Dreams’ bagged the Golden Peacock award for Best Film. Costa Rican film-maker Valentina Maurel’s movie topped IFFI 53 for its electrifying portayal of passage into adulthood.
Iranian writer and director Nader Saeivar won the Silver Peacock for Best Director for ‘No End’ – a magical and subtle portrayal of Iran’s socio-political system.
Vahid Mobasseri, lead actor of No End, has been honoured with Silver Peacock for Best Actor (Male); while Daniela Marín Navarro, lead actor of Best Film ‘I Have Electric Dreams’ got the Silver Peacock for Best Actor (Female).
Filipino film-maker Lav Diaz bagged Special Jury Award for ‘When the Waves are Gone’. The IFFI honoured director Asimina Proedrou, hailing from Athens, with the award for the Best Debut Feature Film of a Director, for the film ‘Behind The Haystacks’. Iranian film ‘Nargesi’ by director Payam Eskandari won the ICFT-UNESCO Gandhi Medal.
The Best Film award carries a cash prize of Rs 40,00,000, Best Director has a cash purse of Rs 15,00,000, Best Actors (Male & Female) Rs 10,00,000 each.