Taking the right cues from previous year’s organising debacle and meagre footfall, efforts to reinvent this year’s 47th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) from being a ‘delegate-only’ to a public inclusive event, seems to have struck the right chords, at least for now.
Not only the state government has more than doubled the budget from Rs. 6 crores (2015) to over Rs. 13 crores this year, the Directorate of Film Festival (DFF) has also increased the number of screenings from 187 movies (world cinema) in the previous year to 300 movies this time.
To tap the domestic support – the organisers are publicly screening four popular Hindi films namely Sholay, Maghadeera (Hindi-dubbed), and recently released Salman Khan’s Sultan and Akshay Kumar’s Airlift.
In the midst of a raging political debate over regional language as the Medium of Instructions (MOI) in the state’s primary education system, IFFI will host as many as 10 Marathi films including Nana Patekar-starrer Natasamrat, along with Konkani movies. These films will be screened at 20 indoor and outdoor locations in the state (both south and north Goa), the Entertainment Society of Goa (ESG) confirmed.
DFF said that in order to enhance convenience and to reduce unnecessary prolonging of the event, it had decided to clinically cut down the number of days of IFFI from 11 days to 9 days between November 20th and 28th. “Based on our previous year’s assessment we have dropped separate North-East section because of its less popularity and also there will be no ‘Homage’ section as we have not received enough entries. But will be showcasing four NE cinemas as a part of other entries,” Director of DFF, C Senthil Rajan told indianexpress.com.
The ESG has also planned several parallel engagements for the local populace around the IFFI venue, such as ‘Goa High Street’ (event showcasing Goan culture, cuisine, merchandising and music) and ‘Children Film Village’, for youngsters and families. “Unlike last year, where only delegates were allowed to National Film Heritage Mission, this year NFHM event themed on 70 years of Indian film and independence will be thrown open to the public,” Director of DFF, C Senthil Rajan said.
To do away with the aftermath of demonetisation, ESG has written to the State Bank of India to provide ATM facility within the venue. ” Also we have asked all the merchandise, food caterers within and around IFFI to install Point of Sale (POS) terminal for facilitating customer transaction,” CEO of Entertainment Society of Goa, Ameya Abhyankar said.
Although seven entries have been sent from Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) to IFFI this year, impending the 2015 move by the DFF to remove the ‘student section’ from the screening itself (after student agitation), none of the movies have been shortlisted for this year’s edition. Although, FTII faculty may conduct workshops on subjects like acting, screenwriting, and film appreciation during the fest.
In the backdrop of the hostility with Pakistan, IFFI has distanced itself from the controversy by not screening two entries from Pakistan stating that they did not meet the expectations of the IFFI preview committee. “We had screened one movie from Pakistan in 2015, but this year the preview committee felt the quality was not up to the mark. The elimination of Pakistani movies must not be looked in isolation. There were 1032 entries this year we have selected only 300 movies. So many countries have not received an opportunity. So it must be looked in an overall context, per say there is no ban on Pakistani movies,” Director of DFF, C Senthil Rajan said.
According to ESG, altogether 5,500 delegates (paid and confirmed) have registered for the IFFI. This is comparatively higher than last year’s delegate contingent of 3,500 arrivals. “The hike in fees made last year (Rs.300 to Rs 1,000) will continue. It may not much affect the sentiment of movie enthusiasts. The numbers are likely to increase with on the spot registration at the venue,” Ameya Abhyankar said.