Taiwanese film wins Golden Peacock at 40th IFFI

NEW DELHI: The Golden Peacock for the best film went to the Taiwanese film I can?t Live without you by Leon Dai, while Ounie Leconte won the best director award (Silver Peacock) for the film A Brand New Life, a South Korea-France co-production at the 40th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) that concluded at Kala Academy here last night.

The Special Jury award went to the Georgia-Kazakhstan film The Other Bank by George Ovashvili.

Apart from the Governor of Goa, Dr S S Sidhu, Goa Chief Minister Digambar Kamat, Union Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Dr S Jagathrakshakan, and Goa Assembly Speaker Pratapsingh Rane were among those who were present.

The glitter and shine of the show was lent by the Chief Guest of the evening, renowned star Mammootty, along with Bollywood stars Jackie Shroff and Rati Agnihotri, apart from International Jury member Sarika.

Others present at the programme, presented by actor Rohit Roy and former Miss India Sayali Bhagat, included V B Pyarelal, Joint Secretary (Films) in the I & B Ministry and Entertainment Society of Goa Chief Executive Officer Manoj Srivastava. The award-winners were also present.

While the Golden Peacock for the best film was presented by Dr Sidhu, the Silver Peacock for best director was given away by Mammootty and the Silver Peacock for best director by Dr Jagathrakshakan. As each award was announced, members of the jury read out the Citations.

The Golden Peacock also comprised a cash award of Rs two million each for the producer and director, and the Silver Peacock awardees received Rs 1.5 million each.

Dr Sidhu suggested the state government should think in terms of building a film city. He said the increasing participation in the film festival was evidence of the attempt to make this festival of the standard of those in Cannes, Toronto or Berlin.

Cinema, he said, is the ultimate product of artistic creation and self-expression. It was a vibrant medium which had led to job creation for millions. But he stressed the need to encourage filmmakers by creating a conducive environment to enhance the national image. He said there was a scope for an image makeover in the mainstream cinema to show the kind of resurgence that had been seen in regional cinema.

Dr Jagathrakshakan said the film industry is responsible for shaping the thoughts of the common man, and therefore there is greater responsibility on this medium. Indian cinema had begun to reach new heights, and the Oscar to maestro A R Rahman for the film ?The Slumdog Millionaire? was an ample example of this.

Cinema was also an important economic driver and the industry was expected to grow from the present Rs 85,000 million to 175,000 million by 2011, thus registering a compounded annual growth rate of 11 per cent. He said the central government will create the right policy environment for the growth of the film industry.

He said that a meeting of the organizing committee of the IFFI would be held soon to review the 40th IFFI and wanted suggestions on how this festival can be improved further.

Thespian Mammooty, who has acted in more than 300 films in the last 28 years in different languages, said India did not need to compete with Hollywood. Indian cinema was successful because it talked in the language of human emotions, and he felt honours received within the country were higher than Oscars or international awards, though he clarified that he was not belittling those awards.

The competition section had films from Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, China/UK, Georgia/Kazakhstan, Iran, Mexico, Peru, Philippines, South Korea/France, Sri Lanka and Taiwan and two from India.

The jury was headed by the noted Director from Brazil Joao Batista de Andrade. Other members of the jury were Kenichi Okubu (Japan), Jean-Michel Frodon (France), Sarika (India) and Vic Sarin (Canada).

Films from Croatia, Estonia, Italy, Poland and France were screened under Country Focus section while Latin America was the Continent in Focus. The films of Gurinder Chadha, Manoel de Oliviera and Nonjee Nimibutr were screened in Retrospectives Section.

The 11-day extravaganza, which began on 23 November with the screening of He Ping?s Wheat, witnessed screening of 300 films from 47 countries. In the international section, a total of 145 films were shown in 18 categories. These included 54 in Cinema of the World, 15 in the Competition, five in the Focus on Latin America, and 23 in the Country Focus categories.

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