IFFI needs to build on India’s Cannes success - Hindustan Times
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IFFI needs to build on India’s Cannes success

ByChaitanya Kumar Prasad
Jun 16, 2024 12:07 PM IST

Cannes 2024 has provided fresh opportunities for the IFFI to reconnect with a more diverse audience and build its brand identity

A refreshing change this time at the Cannes film festival was the Indian presence beyond the pull of star power. India, through the Bharat Pavilion and Bharat Parv, gave Cannes a new tapestry of excellence, diversity, and inclusivity. This year, there was no halt to the applause for Payal Kapadia’s historic Grand Prix win for All We Imagine as Light. And, Anasuya Sengupta became the first Indian actress to win the Best Actress award in the Un Certain Regard category for her performance in The Shameless. India’s haul at Cannes also includes the first prize for Sunflowers Were the First to Know, directed by Chidanand Naik, and the third place for Mansi Maheshwari’s Bunnyhood at La Cinef. The Pierre Angenieux ExcelLens honour for Santosh Sivan, for his stellar oeuvre in cinematography, made him the first Asian recipient of this award and acknowledged his impact on the global film industry. A standout moment was the screening of the restored Shyam Benegal classic, Manthan, as part of Cannes Classics.

Indian director Payal Kapadia (C) celebrates on stage with her cast Indian actress Chhaya Kadam (2L), Indian actress Divya Prabha (2R) and Indian actress Kani Kusruti (L) after she was awarded with the Grand Prix for the film "All We Imagine as Light" (AFP)
Indian director Payal Kapadia (C) celebrates on stage with her cast Indian actress Chhaya Kadam (2L), Indian actress Divya Prabha (2R) and Indian actress Kani Kusruti (L) after she was awarded with the Grand Prix for the film "All We Imagine as Light" (AFP)

The manner in which the jugalbandi of cinema, fashion, and stars played out at Cannes is a testament to the influence of Indian culture. India’s star-studded lineup, which included influencers and entrepreneurs, at the Cannes Red Carpet underscored the intersection of films, branding and charisma.

As India gears up to host the 55th edition of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) this year, there are many valuable lessons from Cannes. The way ahead for IFFI 2024 should be understood through the layout and embodiment of 8Rs: Recognition, Revival, Reconfiguration, Reconstitution, Recalibration, Reconnection, Reimagination and Relevance. Cannes 2024 has provided fresh opportunities for the IFFI to reconnect with a more diverse audience and build its brand identity. The Bharat Parv at the Bharat Pavilion at Cannes served as a platform for networking and promoting Indian cinema worldwide. With the theme “Create in India”, it facilitated discussions and collaborations that enhanced India’s influence on a global scale. The participation of global celebrities who took a keen interest in India at Cannes 2024 must be recreated for the IFFI. Masterclasses should be conducted focused on all categories and aspects of filmmaking. Furthermore, the IFFI could expand industry collaboration by hosting workshops and panels featuring international film experts. For greater visibility, the festival should look for big launches that will lift its profile. Similar to previous years, this year’s edition of the IFFI will feature the “75 Creative Minds of Tomorrow” initiative, focusing on young talent. The Film Bazaar should be the flagship platform to promote business collaborations and co-production agreements with the global fraternity.

The IFFI has integrated itself well with the OTT boom, enhancing storytelling through new perspectives and collaborations. The 51st edition introduced a hybrid format, blending in-person and virtual participation. The 52nd IFFI continued this innovation by screening over 50 films on OTT platforms and organising masterclasses with OTT providers. This year, the aim should be to expand its hybrid format, enhancing digital engagement, and fostering collaborations between filmmakers and OTT platforms. The 55th edition of IFFI needs to position itself as a hub for innovation and cultural exchange in the global film landscape.

With inputs from Zoya Ahmad and Vaishnavie Srinivasan. Chaitanya Kumar Prasad is former additional director general, department of film festivals. The views expressed are personal

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