Govt mulling having separate body to take charge of IFFI

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Panaji, Dec 1 (UNI) The International Film Festival of India (IFFI), which is caught in a tug of war between the Directorate of Film Festivals (DFF) and the Goa government-backed Entertainment Society of Goa (ESG) and managed by multiple authorities, may soon have one independent body in charge of its affairs.

''The Government is considering setting up a body having members drawn from DFF, ESG, Films Division, National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) and other bodies concerned to work on organising, improving and promoting IFFI throughout the year,'' a top ESG official told UNI.

While asserting that IFFI was improving over the years, the official, however, said the problems that were plaguing the festival were because of multiplicity of authorities.

Moreover, the DFF and ESG were involved in several other cultural activities and that they did not have enough time to devote to IFFI.

The DFF handles the National Awards and ESG works on several cultural activities in Goa. ''One can't start preparing for IFFI in July when the event starts in November,'' the official pointed out.

Even renowned filmmaker Adoor Gopalakrishnan was of the view that there should be a separate body to handle the festival round the year and promote the brand all over the world.

According to him, despite being in its 38th edition and the oldest in Asia, the IFFI was not reputed internationally. Though, he felt the festival was now acquiring a character, it needed a professional and exclusive body to handle it.

Already, there was a growing feeling among veterans in the field of cinema that the DFF should be headed by a prominent film industry professional. While praising the efforts of the present DFF chief, one of the former directors of the body said at present the Directorate was faceless.

''They are all bureaucrats working under the Information and Broadcasting ministry. If we have a person like Adoor Gopalakrishnan or Shyam Benegal heading the DFF, it would give prestige to the IFFI attracting international attention,'' the former official said.

People from the field feel the head of the DFF should not be changed too frequently and the present one should be given some years to work. About the selection of movies for the IFFI, they said it should be given more attention, and it would be better if the authorities directly approached the filmmakers instead of agents.

In the competition section, the DFF should try to bring exclusive films which have not been premiered earlier.

Mr Gopalakrishnan criticised the process of sending entries to foreign film festivals, saying it was responsible for the large number of rejections. ''India can send better entries to these festivals provided we have a thorough screening and shorlist fewer entries.'' ''In festivals like Cannes over a dozen films were sent without caring so much for quality. The result was rejection for a number of films, and after three rejections, it was difficult for the films to find place in other festivals,'' he added.

All these problems would be removed if a body managed by film industry professionals takes charge of the IFFI affairs, they said.

It was as early as in 1952 that the first Indian International Film Festival was held in Bombay. However, from its third edition in 1965, the festival became competitive and the Paris-based Federation Internationale des Associations de Producteurs de Films (FIAPF) gave official recognition to the Indian festival, putting it on a par with those of Cannes, Berlin, Venice, and Moscow.

After travelling to several film producing centres like Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Thiruvananthanpuram, Kolkata, IFFI came in Delhi, to be held here on a permanent basis. But, it was in 2004 that it was shifted to Goa during the BJP government at the Centre and in the state. The idea was to give a permanent venue to IFFI and model it on the lines of Cannes.


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