Expert panel wants international studio agents in IFFI market

NEW DELHI: Even before the submission of the final report by the Expert Committee which went into improving the status of the International Film Festival of India, a suggestion for widening the competition section to make it a global contest has already been implemented.

The Information and Broadcasting Ministry on the basis of an interim report has also increased the number of entries in the competition section to 18, up from the earlier 15. The competition has over the past 13 years been confined to Asia, Africa and Latin America.

The final report was submitted by Chairman Pritish Nandi to Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni, who said the other recommendations would be processed expeditiously by the Government.

Another recommendation that is being implemented from the IFFI 2010 in November is to introduce two new awards- Best Actor and Best Actress. The winner of the award will be given a Silver Peacock, a certificate and cash prizes of Rs one million each. The total cash awards would now amount to Rs nine million.

Members A K Bir, Govind Nihalani and Kishwar Desai were also present when the report was submitted.

With a view to positioning the festival to be at par with international standards, the committee has recommended that workshops may be held at IFFI to discuss new technology initiatives and Master Classes should be conducted by eminent people from world cinema.

As part of the exercise, the Committee constituted four sub committees to study issues that would enable the upgradation of the festival: Technical Sub-Committee chaired by Bir, Sponsorship Sub-Committee chaired by Ms. Pooja Shetty Deora, Events Sub-Committee chaired by Nihalani, and Structural Reforms Sub-Committee chaired by Nandy.

The Technical Sub-Committee has given a list of technical upgrades required to improve the quality of the viewing experience at IFFI. The Sub-Committee’s report along with Bir’s report for IFFI 2009 prepared for the Madgaon auditorium and his ‘Future Viewpoint’ document for a new auditorium in Goa were also placed before the Expert Committee. The Sponsorship Sub-Committee outlined measures for building brand IFFI internationally.

The Events Sub-Committee has proposed a series of initiatives under the aegis of New Products Platform (NPP). The committee recommended upgradation of the web site for IFFI on the lines of other international film festivals. It also suggested that the Film Market must be developed to international standards and provide business opportunities to Indian film makers. It also felt that International studios and sales agents should be invited for IFFI.

The Committee also recommended that in the Indian Panorama section, the Jury should not be bound to select 5 films from among 20 recommended by FFI and the Film Producers Guild may pick a lesser number if it so chooses, if the standard of excellence is not met. To enhance participation, the Committee recommended Q&A sessions to be held post Indian Panorama screenings at IFFI.

The sub committee on Structuring has outlined a roadmap regarding IFFI’s future structure keeping in mind its mandate and responsibilities in the future.

Other members of the Committee were: Kamal Haasan, Shabana Azmi, Karan Johar, Prasoon Joshi, Nandita Das, Maithili Rao, Lakshmikant Shetgaonkar, C.S. Sapra, Chief Secretary of Goa, and the Director in the Directorate of Film Festivals. The Joint Secretary (Films) was the Member Secretary.

The Committee was constituted at the initiative of Soni. The Committee was also to make recommendations regarding the changes to be made in the selection of Indian Panorama films, both feature and non feature categories, and the resultant changes were to be carried out by amendment in the Indian Panorama regulations.

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