Utpal Borpujari

December 14, 2009

Expert committees to fine tune IFFI, National Film Awards

By Utpal Borpujari

The Information & Broadcasting Ministry has constituted two Expert Committees to recommend ways to improve the way the National Film Awards (NFA) the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) are conducted.

The Expert Committee on NFA consists of Shyam Benegal, Ashoke Vishwanathan, Rajiv Mehrotra, Vishal Bhardwaj, Nagesh Kukunoor, Mohan Agashe, Jahnu Barua, Shaji N Karun, Sai Paranjape, Sharmila Tagore and Waheeda Rehman.  

The Expert Committee on IFFI comprises Govind Nihalani, Karan Johar, Pritish Nandy, Prasoon Joshi, Kamal Haasan, A K Bir, Laxmikant Shetgaonkar, Maharashtra MLC C S Sapra, Shabana Azmi, Pooja Shetty Deora, Kishwar Desai, Maithili Rao and Nandita Das.

While I&B Ministry’s Joint Secretary (Films) will be the member secretary and the Director of the Directorate of Film Festival will be a member of both the panels, the IFFI expert committee will also consist of the Goa Chief Secretary.

The first committee will make recommendations regarding “upgradation” of NFA and the National Film Awards for Feature, Non-Feature and Best writing on Cinema and the Dada Saheb Phalke Award, an official announcement said.

The second will recommend how to improve IFFI to match other reputed international festivals and also changes to be made in the selection of Indian Panorama films.

I&B Minister Ambika Soni had announced at the opening ceremony of the 40th IFFI on November 23 in Goa that such an expert committee for IFFI was being set up. She had earlier spoken about the need to “reinvent” the NFA to keep up with the major changes in the filmmaking technology.

(Published in Deccan Herald, www.deccanherald.com, www.deccanheraldepaper.com, 13-12-2009)


December 2, 2009

Govt sets up expert committee to remove ‘irritants’ from IFFI

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. 

(Published in Deccan Herald, www.deccanherald.com, www.deccanheraldepaper.com, 24-11-2009)

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