IFFI 53 opens with fanfare and promise for the future

By A Draft Correspondent | Panjim

The 53rd edition of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI 53) commenced with a spectacular opening ceremony at Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Indoor Stadium in Panjim, Goa. The nine-day film festival brings together the world’s finest films and their creators under one roof.

Actors Ajay Devgn and Kartik Aaryan at the opening ceremony
Organised by the National Film Development Corporation and Entertainment Society of Goa, the 53rd IFFI is showcasing a collection of 280 films from 79 countries that include 25 feature and 20 non-feature films showcased in the Indian Panorama section.

During the opening ceremony, Union Minister of Information & Broadcasting Anurag Thakur said his vision is to make India the most-sought-after destination for film shooting and post-production work, backed by the talent of our people and innovativeness of industry leaders.

"My vision for IFFI is not limited to one event but what IFFI should be when India celebrates its hundredth year of independence once we transition from Amrit Mahotsav to Amrit Kaal! We aim to make India a powerhouse of content creation, especially regional cinema by scaling up regional festivals," he elaborated.

“For the first time gala premieres of Indian, global cinema and OTTs will be held at IFFI including premiere of the fourth season of globally-acclaimed series Fauda, which features some of the biggest Israeli stars in the world today. I would also like to share that the next season of this show will also be launched at IFFI," he added.

Union Minister Anurag Thakur, Goa CM Pramod Sawant and others felicitating actor Paresh Rawal
Country of Focus to honour India's relationship with France

This year completes 75 years of India - France relationship that was marked by a meeting between the leaders of the two nations- Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Emmanuel Macron. India was also the Country of Honour at Festival De Cannes this year. In continuation of the spirit of India being commemorated the ‘Country of Honour’ at Marche De Films at the 75th Cannes Film Festival, France was welcomed as the ‘Country of Focus’ at the 53rd edition of IFFI.

Foreign filmmakers felicitated during the Opening Ceremony
Second edition of ‘75 Creative Minds of Tomorrow’

The second edition, ‘75 Creative Minds of Tomorrow’ have been selected after a rigorous process - by an eminent jury comprising of a Lifetime Awardee, NFA, Grammy and Oscar winners - from nearly 1,000 entries across ten categories such as Direction, Editing, Playback Singing, Script Writing, Animation and Acting among others. They represent 19 states, coming from places such as Jaintia Hills (Meghalaya), Lakhimpur (Assam), Khorda (Odisha) and the youngest among them being 18 years old.

Spanish filmmaker Carlos Saura will be awarded the Satyajit Ray Lifetime Achievement Award, this year, at IFFI where the Indian Film Personality of the Year Award will be conferred to South Indian actor Chiranjeevi. This edition of IFFI will commemorate 50 years of Manipuri Cinema by showcasing a specially-curated package of notable feature and non-feature Manipuri films.

This year at IFFI is also the second edition of '75 Creative Minds of Tomorrow'
For the first time, IFFI has augmented the scope of Film Bazaar by introducing Country Pavilions where over 40 Pavilions will be showcased at the 15th edition of Film Bazaar. For first time, IFFI will have a Technology Hub to showcase the latest innovations from the cinema world.

IFFI Gets Inclusive For The Specially-Abled

In order to make the festival more inclusive and accessible for everyone, special provisions have been made for Divyangjan Screenings (Screenings for the specially-abled). Keeping in mind their accessibility needs, the films in this section will be audio-visual-equipped, with embedded audio descriptions and subtitles. The Film & Television Institute of India (FTII) will be taking two special courses for the specially-abled on ‘Smartphone Film-Making’ curated for autistic individuals and a basic course in ‘Screen Acting’ curated for wheelchair users.

IFFI Erases Boundaries in the World of Art and Film

Union Minister of State for Information & Broadcasting Dr. L Murugan said, post Covid, this 53rd edition of IFFI will be back to its vibrant festival avatar. “IFFI has been erasing boundaries in the world of art and film and allowing different film cultures to engage with each other and explore possibilities to collaborate. Our Prime Minister has described IFFI as the film festival which promotes synergy between delegates from different nations and societies, united by cinema. IFFI 53 has everything that a movie lover wants - 75 Creative Young Minds, Masterclasses, Box office flavour, Film Bazaar, and global cinema," he added.

India is being established as the content production hub of the world, through various initiatives such as incentives for co-production agreements, streamlining single window film facilitation, tapping huge AVGC (Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming and Comic) potential and marching ahead. 

'IFFI has been erasing boundaries in the world of art and film'
The Minister also congratulated Spanish Director Carlos Saura for being selected for Satyajit Ray Lifetime Achievement Award. Dr. L. Murugan also acknowledged the great contribution made by the State of Goa for the success of IFFI, under Late Manohar Parrikar's leadership, and now under CM Pramod Sawant.

New World-Class Multiplex & Convention Centre Soon in Goa

Addressing the enthralled audience at Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Indoor Stadium, Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said the setting-up of a world-class multiplex & convention centre in Goa is in its final stage and hopefully "we will be able to celebrate IFFI at the new venue by 2025". 

Lauding the efforts to add a local flavour to festival, Pramod Sawant said that this year at IFFI, the state government has taken an initiative to curate special masterclasses for Goan film fraternity in which renowned film personalities from Hindi and Marathi film sections will participate. 

Actor Mrunal Thakur gave a scintillating performance at the IFFI 53 Opening Ceremony in Goa
“A Goan section has also been specially curated for this year. A special jury comprising three jury members from Indian Panorama has selected six short films and one documentary film. We have been able to draw attention of tourists and Goan public through various peripheral activities such as festival mile, entertainment zone and heritage parade," said Mr Sawant.  

Caravans will be deployed throughout Goa, and screenings held for the public. With the intention to make event more inclusive special movie screening for Divyangs has also been made possible, the Goa CM added. He also remembered former Chief Minister Late Manohar Parrikar whose efforts made Goa the permanent venue for IFFI.

Welcoming the guests, Ministry of I & B Secretary Apurva Chandra said that IFFI is a platform for Indian film industry to showcase its best before the world and to invite the best practices in cinema from the rest of the world. The Secretary also read a special message from Prime Minister Narendra Modi. "As the biggest film festival of India, IFFI promotes an invigorating synergy between delegates from different nations and societies, united by cinema," it read.

Actor Suniel Shetty, Union Minister Anurag Thakur, actor Varun Dhawan, Sara Ali Khan and lyricist Prasoon Joshi at the Red Carpet at IFFI 53
Chief Secretary of Government of Goa, Puneet Kumar Goel, Managing Director of National Film Development Corporation Ravinder Bhakar, and other dignitaries also participated in the inaugural ceremony. Cine celebrities like Mrunal Takhur, Varun Dhawan, Catherine Teresa, Sara Ali Khan, Kartik Aryan and Amritha Khanvilkar also graced the opening ceremony.

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