Goa Gears Up For The International Film Festival of India

'The Stranger' - Movie Poster
'The Stranger' - Movie Poster

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The 43rd edition of the ‘International Film Festival of India’ commences next week. The prestigious film festival is scheduled to take place between 20th and 30th November, 2012 in the beautiful seaside city of Goa.

The first edition of IFFI was organized by the Films Division of the Government of India, way back in 1952. Held in Mumbai from 24 January to 1 February 1952, the first ever IFFI was inaugurated by then Prime Minister Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru on 21 February 1952.

IFFI 2012, on centre-stage will be a section celebrating 100 Years of Indian Cinema. Says a representative, “IFFI is all set to celebrate the spirit of cinema and entertainment with a different perspective.”

The festival’s director, Shankar Mohan reiterated, “100 years of Indian Cinema will be our major focus this year. Altogether 25 feature films and 56 documentaries will be screened during the festival. A special centenary award will also be presented to a chosen film which will carry a cash prize of 10 lakh.”

The section titled ‘Indian Panorama‘, showcases a selection of hand-picked feature and non-feature cinema. This array of films best reflects the essence of India, while presenting stories which showcase the country’s cultural diversity.

The jury for the feature section selected various films from across the country. The list of films includes the Marathi film ‘Deool’, directed by Umesh Vinayak Kulkarni and the Byari language film ‘Byari’, directed by Suveeran; which won the Best Feature Film shared award at the recent 59th National Film Awards for the year 2011, as direct entrants into the feature section of the Panorama.

Also included in the list of hand-picked films are ‘Baandhon’, directed by veteran filmmaker Jahnu Barua; ‘Celluloid Man’, directed by Shivendra Singh Dungarpur, ‘And We Play On’, directed by Parmod Purswane.

Every year IFFI’s ‘Country Focus’ section aims to create greater understanding of other nations. This year’s ‘Country Focus’ films have been chosen from Turkey.

The Turkish films which were chosen are extraordinary films, which serve as a mirror for the socio-political scenario in the country today, and touch upon the burning issues of modern Turkey.

The collection of eight films being screened from Turkey, which are handpicked to represent the culture and society of the country, include: ‘Do Not Forget Me Istanbul’, ‘Hidden Lives’, ‘Love and Revolution’, ‘The Son’, ‘The Stranger’, ‘Trace’, ‘Voice of My Father’ and ‘Where the Fire Burns’. These films are considered a true representation of the life and times of the Turkish people.

Selected films are works by some of the most acclaimed cinema directors of the country namely – Aida Begic, Eric Nazarian, Hany Abu-Assad, Josefina Markarian, Omar Shargawi, Stefan Arsenijevic, Stergios Niziris, A. Haluk Ünal, F. Serkan Acar, Attila Cengiz, Filiz Alpgezmen, Tayfur Aydın, Orhan Eskiköy and İsmail Güneş.

Overall, among the most eagerly awaited international films are: Oscar Award winner director Ang Lee’s latest directorial venture ‘Life of Pi’, which will be the opening film of the festival.

‘Life of Pi’ which is based on an adapted screenplay of a novel by the same name by Yann Martel, will be a 3D adventure film from Ang Lee, famous for his Academy award winner movies ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’ and ‘Brokeback Mountain’.

The closing film at IFFI, is Mira Nair’s ‘The Reluctant Fundamentalist’. The film is a screen adaptation of Mohsin Hamid’s novel of the same name. The film set to release in early 2013 has received rave reviews at the Venice Film Festival.

About the “India connection” of both the opening and closing film of IFFI, Festival director Shankar Mohan said, “The IFFI opening and closing movies this year have a deep India connection. The opening film ‘Life of Pi’ has been shot in Pondicherry and the closing film ‘The Reluctant Fundamentalist’ has been made by Indian filmmaker Mira Nair, who will also be attending the screening of the film.”

With such a feast of wonderful films on offer, delegates at the IFFI will be spoilt for choice. The festival will see film lovers from around the world; descend upon the sandy beaches of Goa, to soak in the ambience and spectacular films’ screenings.

There will be something to please even the most discerning cinema aficionado’s palate at the upcoming International Film Festival of India.