IFFI that is usually held in the month of November has been postponed to January 2021 in view of the restrictions on travel last year and the risks associated with large gatherings amid the Covid-19 pandemic. (HT PHOTO)..
IFFI that is usually held in the month of November has been postponed to January 2021 in view of the restrictions on travel last year and the risks associated with large gatherings amid the Covid-19 pandemic. (HT PHOTO)..

In Goa, IFFI’s 51st edition begins with hope of ‘being back to normal’ next year

  • Billed as Asia’s oldest and India’s biggest festival, IFFI is being held in Goa since 2004. This year the festival will open with the Indian premiere of the movie ‘Another Round’ by Thomas Vinterberg.
By Gerard de Souza
PUBLISHED ON JAN 16, 2021 09:48 PM IST

The 51st edition of the International Film Festival of India kicked off in Goa on Saturday and will witness more than 200 films being screened for the 2,000 odd delegates who have registered for the festival that for the first time is being held in a ‘hybrid’ mode in which films, master classes and interactions with film personalities will be streamed via a specially designed OTT platform for delegates to view online along with physical screenings.

The festival was thrown open at a simple ceremony in Goa by Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Prakash Javadekar and Karnataka-based film star Sudeep Sanjeev known just as Sudeep or Kichcha Sudeep who were the chief guests for the opening ceremony.

“In January 2020 the disease came to India, but the strength of humankind, the wisdom, will power is such that we now in 2021 have a vaccine that is testament to this. And I can assure you that when 2021 IFFI starts in November later this year it will be just like before with an auditorium full and resounding with applause,” Javadekar said.

IFFI that is usually held in the month of November has been postponed to January in view of the restrictions on travel last year and the risks associated with large gatherings.

The organisers have assured that all pandemic protocols will be followed according to the MHA guidelines and that the total seating capacity has been reduced to 902 which is less than half the usual capacity.

Goa chief minister Pramod Sawant welcomed filmmakers and film lovers from across the world to experience Goa while promising a safe experience.

“I'm happy to inform you that we are having the event in a hybrid format -- we will have screening in auditoriums and also via online mode. The registration is more than 2000. We assure you that your health and hygiene has been given the utmost importance and we are following all the health protocols for conducting this event,” Sawant said.

Billed as Asia’s oldest and India’s biggest festival, IFFI is being held in Goa since 2004. This year the festival will open with the Indian premiere of the movie ‘Another Round’ by Thomas Vinterberg. The movie starring Cannes Best Actor Award winner Mads Mikkelsen is among the star-studded line up of movies being showcased at IFFI. The movie is also Denmark’s official entry for the Oscars.

The festival will have a line-up of famous movies with a total of 224 films from across the globe being screened. This includes 21 non-feature films and 26 feature films under the Indian Panorama films section.

15 widely acclaimed films are part of its international competition section and will compete for the Golden Peacock Award. Argentine filmmaker Pablo Cesar will head the 51st IFFI’s international jury panel, while other members include filmmakers Prasanna Vithanage (Sri Lanka), Abu Bakr Shawky (Austria), Priyadarshan (India) and Rubaiyat Hossain (Bangladesh).

Javadekar promised that there will be private participation too in organising IFFI from the next edition onwards.

“There should be participation of the film industry as well as other industries because the responsibility of the government is to promote an atmosphere of art and culture and ensure that it is well publicized but it does not mean that the government itself does everything. So I invite private participation and I'm confident that in the coming 52nd IFFI there will definitely be private participation,” Javadekar said.

Javadekar also announced the ‘Indian personality of the year award’ for actor, producer, director and singer in Hindi and Bengali cinema to Bishwajit Chatterjee while the Lifetime Achievement Award went to Vittorio Storaro.

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