By Utpal Borpujari
Information & Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni on Monday announced the setting up of an expert committee to weed out “irritants” and make the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) a world class film festival at par with those in Cannes, Toronto, Venice and Berlin.
The committee has been given the timeline of giving its recommendations, based on feedback from festival delegates and others concerned, so that they can be implemented in the 41st IFFI next year, Soni said.
“There are bound to be irritants…I urge everyone who wants to make the festival a world class event to send their suggestions to the expert committee,” she said at the inauguration ceremony of 40th IFFI at the Kala Academy auditorium here.
The committee will comprise eminent people with “vast experience” of attending international film festivals and come up with “vast and wide-ranging” reforms to IFFI, she said.
The festival, declared open by the ever-graceful Waheeda Rahman, screened Chinese historical drama “Wheat” as the opening film after a scintillating dance ensemble by Leela Samson’s troupe highlighting India’s classical dance forms.
The 11-day film extravaganza will showcase nearly 300 films in various categories before closing on December three with Spanish master Pedro Almodovar’s new film “Broken Embraces” starring Penelope Cruz.
The high-profile Competition Section, which has films from Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Kazakhstan, Iran, Mexico, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, Sri-Lanka, Taiwan and Argentina, will also have two Indian representations – Atanu Ghosh’s Bengali film “Angshumaner Chhobi” and Satish Manwar’s Marathi film “Gabricha Paus”.
The competition jury, headed by the noted Brazilian director Joao Batista de Andrade and comprising Vic Sarin (Canada), Kenichi Okubu (Tokyo), Sarika (India) and Jean-Michel Frodon (France), was introduced to the gathering at the opening ceremony, which was attended, among others, by NRI director Gurinder Chaddha who is having a special retrospective at IFFI this year.
One of the more interesting sections in this edition of IFFI will be “Goa as Celluloid Destination”, in which eight films of various languages shot in Goa will be screened.