The waves of cinematic celebration are splashing across the shores of the beach state of Goa. Yes, it is time to swim, to immerse ourselves in the eternal celebration of films, of art, of life. The 53rd edition of IFFI, the International Film Festival of India, is set to open tomorrow, promising practising and aspiring film lovers nine days of artistic inspiration and celebration. This edition of the festival presents to film delegates a potpourri of 280 films, inviting them to immerse themselves in the lives, aspirations and struggles of peoples from a total of 79 countries.
The 53rd edition of one of Asia’s oldest film festivals is set to open with Austrian Director Dieter Berner’s Alma and Oskar. The passionate and tumultuous relationship between the Viennese society Grand Dame Alma Mahler (1879-1964) and Austrain artist Oskar Kokoschka ((1886-1980) is the subject of this biopic.
As is customary, the opening ceremony of the festival is being held at Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Indoor Stadium, Panaji, Goa. Film personalities Mrunal Takhur, Varun Dhawan, Catherine Teresa, Sara Ali Khan, Karthik Aryan and Amritha Khanvilkar will grace the opening ceremony. Governor of Goa P.S Sreedharan; Chief Minister of Goa Pramod Sawant; Union Minister for Information & Broadcasting Anurag Singh Thakur; and Minister of State for I&B Dr. L. Murugan will also be present at the opening.
Opening ceremony will see many cultural performances featuring top film celebrities from across India and will also include music and dance groups all across the globe. Among them – a stellar flamenco performance by artists from Spain.
The theme of the Opening Ceremony is “Evolution of Indian Cinema in the last 100 years”, keeping with the spirit of the Azadi Ka Amrut Mahotsav celebrations.
The Austrian film, Alma and Oskar, directed by Dieter Berner, will open the festival. Red Carpet for opening film will commence at 2.00 PM at INOX-I, Panjim, followed by the screening of the film.
Polish film Krzysztof Zanussi’s Perfect Number is the closing film. Red Carpet for closing film will commence at INOX-I, Panjim at 2.00 PM on 28th November, followed by the screening of the film.
Fixation, a 2022 film set in Germany, Canada and the USA, by Mercedes Bryce Morgan is the mid-fest film.
25 feature films and 19 non-feature films from India will be showcased in the ‘Indian Panorama’ while 183 films will be a part of international programming.
The festival presents a special section for Asha Parekh, the 52nd Dadasaheb Phalke Award winner, with the screening of three films, namely, Teesri Manzil, Do Badan and Kati Patang.
On the occasion of completion of 50 years of Manipuri Cinema, a specially curated package of five Feature and five Non-Feature films, curated by Manipur State Films Film Development Society, is being screened under Indian Panorama.
As an initiative to promote films from North-East India, 5 feature and 5 non-feature films, will mark golden jubilee of Manipuri cinema.
There will be special screenings of Pan Nalin’s Chello Show—The Last Film Show, India’s official entry to the Oscars in the Best Foreign Language category, and Madhur Bhandarkar’s India Lockdown.
Films from National Film Archives of India will be showcased by the NFDC in the ‘Indian Restored Classics’ section. These include Sohrab Modi’s 1957 costume drama Nausherwan-E-Adil, Ramesh Maheshwary’s 1969 National Award-winning Punjabi film Nanak Nam Jahaz Hai, K Vishwanath’s 1980 Telugu musical drama Sankarabharnam and two Satyajit Ray classics, the 1977 period drama Shatranj Ke Khiladi and the 1989 social, Ganashatru.
Satyajit Ray Lifetime Achievement award is being conferred on Spanish film director Carlos Saura. His daughter Anna Saura will accept the Award on behalf of the eminent filmmaker, at the opening ceremony. A retrospective of his oeuvre is being showcased at the festival.
France is the ‘Spotlight’ country and 8 films will be screened under Country Focus package.
‘Film Bazaar’ will screen some of the finest films and filmmakers in various sections. For the first time, Pavilions will make an appearance at IFFI in line with major international markets like the Marche du Cannes. This year, there will be a total of 42 Pavilions. They will house the film offices of the various state governments, the participating countries, industry players and media units from the ministry. This will also be the first time when many restored classics will be available at ‘The Viewing Room’ where one would be able to buy the rights of these films and use them at film festivals across the globe.
The ‘Homage’ section will include fifteen Indian and five international films. Tributes will be paid to Bharat Ratna Lata Mangeshkar, singer-composer Bappi Lahiri, Kathak maestro Pt. Birju Maharaj, actors Ramesh Deo and Maheshwari Amma, singer KK, director Tarun, Mr Nipon Das Assamese actor and theater artist, Majumder and singer Bhupinder Singh. Whereas in International section, Festival will pay homage to the genius of Bob Rafelson, Ivan Reitman, Peter Bogdanovich, Douglas Trumbell and Monica Vitti.
The second edition of ‘75 Creative Minds of Tomorrow’, an initiative by the Ministry of Broadcasting and Information is another attraction. The number of filmmakers being recognized is symbolic of 75 years of Indian Independence. It is envisioned that in the coming years, the number of young participants will increase by one with this in mind.
Films, like Richard Attenborough’s Oscar winning Gandhi, screened in the ‘Divyangjan’ section will be audio-visually equipped with embedded audio descriptions and subtitles. This will make them accessible to even differently-abled film aficionados and promote the spirit of inclusivity.
The new Book Adaptation Program, Books to box office has been introduced as an initiative to bridge the gap between good stories printed in books and good films that can be made by adapting books. Some of the best publishers are also expected to be present to sell the rights of the books that can be turned into on screen content.
The ‘Indian Panorama’ will open with Prithvi Konanur’s Kannada film Hadinelentu while The Show Must Go On by Divya Cowasji will flag off the non-feature film section. There will be special screenings of Pan Nalin’s Chello Show—The Last Film Show, India’s official entry to the Oscars in the Best Foreign Language category, and Madhur Bhandarkar’s India Lockdown.
There will be several Gala Premieres of Hindi films with their actors present to support and promote cinema. These include Paresh Rawal’s The Storyteller, Ajay Devgn and Tabu’s Drishyam 2, Varun Dhawan and Kriti Sanon’s Bhediya and Yami Gautam’s Lost. The upcoming Telugu film, Raymo, Deepti Naval and Kalki Koechlin’s Goldfish and Randeep Hooda and Ileana D’Cruz’s Tera Kya Hoga Lovely will also be premiered at IFFI, along with an episode of OTT shows like Vadhandhi, Khakee and Fauda Season 4.
The big draws will be films which have won multiple awards at prestigious film festivals around the world, like Cannes, Berlin, Toronto and Venice. Some are directed by or feature Oscar winners. These films include Decision to Leave by Park-Chan Wook and Ruben Ostlund’s Triangle of Sadness, The Whale by Darren Oronofsky and Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio, Both Sides of the Blade by Claire Denis and Guy Davidi’s Innocence, Saint Omer by Alice Diop and The Blue Caftan by Maryam Touzani.
With 23 ‘Masterclasses’ and ‘In Conversation’ sessions with eminent filmmakers and actors, it promises to be an exciting week. There will be a master class in screenwriting by V. Vijayendra Prasad, on editing by A. Sreekar Prasad and Anupam Kher will take a class in acting. A masterclass on ACES will have Oscar Academy experts, while the ones on animation will have Mark Osborne and Christian Jezdic. The ‘In-conversation’ sessions will be helmed by Asha Parekh, Prasoon Joshi, Aanand L Rai, R Balki and Nawazuddin Siddiqui among others.
The 53rd edition of IFFI will be virtually accessible. Registered users will get a chance to be a part of these Masterclasses, In Conversations, panel discussions and the opening and closing ceremony even when not in Goa. One can visit the official website for a schedule of these live sessions.
Technology Exhibition of Media & Entertainment curated by FTII, exhibition on Azaadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav by CBC, Shigmotsav (Spring Festival) On 26th Nov 2022 and Goa Carnival on the 27th Nov 2022 are other attractions at IFFI 53.