IFFI 2010 to have global competition, new awards

NEW DELHI: The competition section at the International Film Festival of India in Goa in November this year will be global instead of being confined to Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni has said that though the Committee of Experts to study ways to improve IFFI has not submitted a final report, the Government has decided to accept two of its interim recommendations for the 41st IFFI 2010.

The other recommendation this year will be to introduce a best actor and best actress award at the Festival, slated to be held from 22 November to 2 December.

Soni said that the Committee is expected to take one more month for finalising its report.

IFFI initially had a global competition which was stopped from 1988 IFFI when there was constant criticism of the poor level of entries. The Competition section was re-introduced in 1995 when it featured only Asian women, later being expanded to Asian cinema and ultimately third world cinema. However, the festival has a separate non-competitive section – Cinema of the World – which features global cinema.

Meanwhile, the Minister said the Government had decided to accept two recommendations of the Committee of Experts on the National Film Awards with immediate effect. The first of these is to have a two-tier jury. The films will, thus, be seen by some regional level juries before a short-listed list of films is submitted to the National Jury.

The other recommendation is to increase the award money in some categories. Though Soni did not specify the categories or the amount, she said the present total award money of Rs seven million was expected to go up to Rs 20 million.

She announced that the entries for the 57th National Film Awards for 2009 are expected to be invited within a week.

Soni also announced that a retrospective of the films of renowned actor Kamal Haasan was to be held in Delhi next month.

She said the Directorate of Film Festivals was now holding Festivals of the national award-winning and Indian Panorama films in different parts of the country.
The Expert Committee on National Film Awards headed by eminent filmmaker and Member of Parliament Shyam Benegal had submitted its report last month. It has proposed a Central Jury and five Regional Juries to cover languages in different regions. It has also outlined guidelines for the regional jury composition. Other recommendations are being studied.

The Committee comprised Sharmila Tagore who also heads the Central Board of Film Certification, Rajiv Mehrotra of the Public Service Broadcasting Trust, Sai Paranjpye, Ashoke Vishwanathan, Vishal Bhardwaj, Nagesh Kukunoor, Mohan Agashe, Ms. Waheeda Rehman, Jahnu Baruah and Shaji N Karun. The Ministry is represented by the Joint Secretary (Films) D P Reddy as Member Secretary, and Directorate of Film Festivals Director S M Khan.

The National Film Awards were instituted in 1954 and aim at encouraging the production of films of aesthetic and technical excellence, and social relevance, contributing to the understanding and appreciation of cultures of different regions of the country in cinematic form and thereby promoting integration and unity of the nation.

The IFFI Expert Committee has film personalities Govind Nihalani, Karan Johar, Pritish Nandy, Prasoon Joshi, Kamal Haasan, A K Bir, Laxmikant Shetgaonkar, Ms. Shabana Azmi, Ms Pooja Shetty Deora, Kishwar Desai, mediaperson Maithili Rao, Children’s Film Society, India, Chairperson Nandita Das, and Maharashtra Legislative Council member C S Sapra. The Ministry is represented by Joint Secretary (Films) D P Reddy as Member Secretary, and S M Khan, apart from the Chief Secretary of Goa Sanjeev Srivastava.

India has been holding International Film Festivals since 1952 but it was only in 1974 that these became annual events. A roving festival since its inception, it moved to Goa as a permanent venue in 2004.

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