I&B Minister wants IFFI dates to be changed

MUMBAI: The Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Ambika Soni said that the International Federation of Film Producers Associations (FIAPF) would be approached with a proposal to change the dates of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) as the concluding day - 3 December - clashes with the St. Francis Xavier feast.

Soni was speaking after presenting renowned French filmmaker Bernard Tavernier with the Lifetime Achievement Award, a tradition revived after a decade. The award includes a shawl, a scroll and a cash prize of Rs 1 million at the 42nd IFFI in Margao.

Accepting the award, Tavernier said he had tried through his films to share his vision and the pleasure and joy of filmmaking. Films opened the windows of the world, he said, adding that ‘films can be weapons of massive construction‘.

Soni wanted the film festival to become a people‘s festival and promised that two more theatres would be ready by the time of the next festival in 2012.

She expressed the hope that the market section should be strengthened to reach out internationally. IFFI has become an agent of the growing acceptance of Indian cinema and has given an impetus and an identity to the industry making it one of the most prosperous film industries of the world, she added.

Earlier, Shah Rukh Khan, who was the chief guest at the inauguration of the Festival, said that one should not be afraid to destroy systems and try new things in cinema, which "is food for the soul and the singular experience to which all relate." Khan, however, did not like to demarcate between art and commercial cinema since all films were mirrors of the world.

Speaking on the occasion, Goa chief Minister Digambar Kamat said that the state is being developed into a major film centre with a film culture of its own. He has already introduced single-window clearance for producers wanting to make films here. He said he had himself had the privilege of hosting the Festival for the fifth time in a row.

After the vote of thanks by Film Federation of India President (FFI) TP Aggarwal, the opening film The Consul of Boredeaux directed by Francisco Manso and Joao Correa was screened.

Others present at the inauguration included I&B Secretary Uday K Varma and Joint Secretary DP Reddy, Margao Mayor Sushila Nayak, Goa chief secretary Sanjay Srivastava, Festival Director Shankar Mohan, Entertainment Society of Goa CEO Manoj Srivastava and the five-member International Jury headed by Adoor Gopalakrishnan.

Also present were producer-directors Ramesh Sippy, Jahnu Barua and Sudhir Mishra, Dharmesh Tiwari who represents a workers association in the industry, Oscar awardee Resul Pokkutty, Steering Committee Chairman Mike Pandey, and Prem Chopra.

In a change of tradition, the IFFI, being held for the eighth time in a row in Panaji had its inauguration at the Rabindra Bhavan in Margao.

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