Panaji (Goa), Nov 23: The 38th International Film Festival of India (IFFI-07) takes off later today in India’s smallest state, on the west coast of India. Mainstream Indian Bollywood film actor Shahrukh Khan will be the chief guest, scheduled for Friday evening (India is five-and-half hours behind UTC).
The inaugural lamp — a traditional mark of inaugurations done in India — will be lit with the assistance of Priyamani, a rising star of southern cinema. Inaugural function will be attended by Indian federal Minister of Information & Broadcasting and Parliamentary Affairs, P. R. Dasmunsi and Chief Minister of Goa Digambar Kamat besides several important film personalities.
Media commentators, including the NDTV mainstream television channel, commented that this year’s festival was focussing less Indian commercial (“Bollywood”) cinema, and instead looking to regional films and outputs from across the globe.
The Palme D’Or winner of Cannes 2007, ‘Four Months, Three Weeks and Two Days’ is to be the opening film. Director of the opening film Cristian Mungiu and the main actress, Anamaria Marinca are to be present at the inaugural ceremony.
Besides, there would be other foreign delegates representing various international film festivals from Netherlands, China, Poland and Mexico. A major delegation from Poland and China will also be present. Portugal-Spain film ‘Fados’ directed by Carlos Saura will be the closing film for the Festival.
The Cinema of the World Section will feature a choice of year’s international cinema. This section will have 76 films from 42 countries.
A specialized competition for feature films by Asian, African and Latin American directors is being organized. Under this section, fourteen films from 13 countries have been selected for the competition. Specially after shifting to Goa, IFFI has been attempting to build itself up as a place for films from Asia-Africa-Latin America.
The competition jury is headed by the eminent award winning film maker from Hungary Ms Marta Mazaros, who has won awards in Cannes, Berlin, Venice and San Sebastian festivals.
Other members of the jury are actress Meltem Cumbul (Turkey); cinematographer Shaji N Karun, film director and script writer from Kerala in South India; noted Argentinian film director Pablo Cesar and Robert Sarkies, film maker from New Zealand.
Hungary will be in focus under the section ‘Country Focus’.
Seven films come from this part of the world: “Black Brush’ (Director: Roland Vranik), ‘Dealer’ (Director: Benedek Fliegauf), ‘Eastern Sugar’ (Director: Ferenc Torok), ‘Hukkle’ (Director: Gyorgy Palfi), ‘Temptations’ (Director: Zoltan Kamondi), ‘The Porcelain Doll’ (Director: Peter Gardos) and ‘Vagabond’ (Director: Gyorgy Szomjas).
In ‘Film India Worldwide’ category, three films ‘AIDS Jaago’ (Mira Nair), ‘Amal’ (Richie Mehta) and ‘The Pool’ (Chris Smith). Retrospective of Ingmar Bergman would feature seven of his highly acclaimed films, namely, ‘Autumn Sonata’, ‘Fanny and Alexander’, ‘The Seventh Seal’, ‘The Virgin Spring’, ‘Through a Glass Darkly’, ‘Shame’, and ‘Wild Strawberries’.
Indian Panorama at IFFI-2007 would present a bouquet of 36 films, comprising 21 features and 15 non-feature films. The package is a mixed bag with prominent Indian stalwarts like Budhadeb Dasgupta and Adoor Gopalakrishnan presenting two films each.
The section would have Ami Iyasin Aar Amaar Madhubala (The Voyeurs- Feature) and Naushad Ali- the Melody continues (Non Feature) by Budhadeb Dasgupta and Naalu Penunungal (Four Women- Feature) and The Dance of the Enchantress (Non Feature) by Adoor Gopalakrishnan.
The debut directors like Sameer Hanchante, Samir Chanda, and Bhavna Talwar would present their films Gafla (Scam), Ek Nadir Galpo (Tale Of A River), and Dharm respectively at the festival.
A special section celebrating 60 years of India’s independence, India @ 60, would showcase seven patriotic films including three feature and four documentaries.
IFFI also features a Film Bazaar for films from India as well as large number of foreign countries, seminars, discussions and press conferences, IFFI Goa film treasures (a section dedicated to international film heritage) and special festival publications on the films being screened, organisers of the event said.
Theatre facilities for IFFI – 2007 have been significantly upgraded. Nine theatres with a total seating capacity of 3026 would be part of the Festival complex as compared to five theatres with a total seating capacity of 2200 last year.
The theatres are, Inox Multiplex (4 screens), Kala Academy (2 screens), Ashok & Samrat (2 screens). Two new screens have been added in Maquinez Palace, which have the capacity to be looped. Over 3500 delegates have registered. Around 350 media persons have registered of which 80 are from Goa, according to the Press Information Bureau, the state-run official information network here.
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