Film Festivals held wide across the length and breadth of the globe not only showcase films that are made at different countries in different parts of the world but also reflect the respective country’s cultures, perceptive, habits, habitats and style of narratives that are their signature tunes respectively!
Since long, India too has been holding such Film Festivals that garner to the tastes of a wider sect of audience from different parts of the globe as well
International Film Festival of India conveniently and comfortably referred to as IFFI shed its ‘Caravan’ nature and got anchored at Goa way back in 2004 prior to which it used to be held at the country’s major metros New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Trivandrum etc.
This year happens to be the 54th edition of IFFI which was flagged off on 20th November 2023 and went on till 28th November 2023 which recorded attendance of Juries, Filmmakers, Officials, Authorities from both within the country and from other countries with Journalists, Critics, Stars, Producers, Directors and other technocrats from the film fraternity in tow besides cineastes from several parts of the country and outside the country as well!
Screen celebrities as Madhuri Dixit, Shahid Kapoor Shreya Ghoshal etc add pep to the proceedings at the Inaugural Ceremony.
Interestingly, Madhuri Dixit was honoured with the Special Recognition for Contribution to Bharatiya Cinema. Vijay Sethupathi, well known Tamil actor was also felicitated on the occasion. Sunny Deol and a couple of others too were felicitated.
Shriya Sharan, Nushrratt Bharuccha, Sukhwinder Singh, Shantanu Moitra and Pankaj Tripathi were the others who added value to the arms of entertainment at the Inaugural.
Anurag Thakur, I. & B. Minister, delivered the opening speech.
A notable addition to IFFI 54 is the Best Web Series (OTT) Award which received 32 entries from 15 OTT Platforms in 10 Languages!
While the International Section showcased about close to 200 films, it had about 13 World Premieres,18 International Premieres, 62 Asian Premieres and about 89 Indian Premieres!
Stuart Gatt’s Catching Dust was the opening film which garnered wide and huge response from the spectators.
While the mid-fest film was Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s About Dry Grasses, Robert Kolodny’s The Featherweight was the closing film.
Tamil Actor Arya’s debut OTT Show, The Village was showcased at IFFI 54.
It was but a fact that IFFI 54 was a huge hit in terms of attendance at star-studded ceremonies, gala premieres, OTT segments etc.
Documentaries got their dues in this year’s IFFI 54 as, The Elephant Whisperers, Against the Tide, All That Breathes, Waste Side Story Where Do We Go from Here, Iron Women of Manipur etc found the favour of the viewers!
The Section, Restored Classics screened Vidyapathi (Bengali, 1937), Shyamchi Aai (Marathi, 1953), Pathala Bharavi (Telugu, 1951), Bees Saal Baad (Hindi, 1962) Haqeeqat (Hindi, 1964), Guide (Hindi, 1965), Chorus (Bengali, 1974).
Master Classes were conducted by Michael Douglas, Rani Mukherji, Karan Johar, Vijay Sethupathi etc.
Yet another mention worthy feature of this year’s IFFI 54 was the Section, Gala Premieres and Special Screenings organized by NFDC (National Film Development Corporation of India).
The NFDC also launched its first Digital Collectible Project which facilitated the cineastes and film enthusiasts an opportunity to collect the IFFI Digital Collectible Series!
Shekhar Kapur served IFFI 54 as its Chairperson, International Jury while Rajkumar Hirani was the Jury for OTT Awards.
Prithul Kumar Managing Director of NFDC was the Festival Director at IFFI 54!
In all, near about 270 International and Indian films were screened that included 25 Feature and 20 Non-Feature films besides 50 Gala Premieres!
While Rishab Shetty of Kantara was present at IFFI 53 to promote Kantara, he was here at IFFI 54 to receive the Special Jury Award for it!
List of Winners…
Abbas Amini’s Endless Borders (Persia) bagged the Golden Peacock Award for the Best Film.
Silver Peacock Award for Best Actor (Male) was given to Pouria Rahimi for his performance in Endless Borders.
Silver Peacock Award for Best Actress (Female) went to Melanie Thierry for her portrayal in Party of Fools.
Silver Peacock for Best Director was bagged by Stephan Komandarev for Blaga’s Lessons.
Iconic Hollywood actor Michael Douglas was honoured with Satyajit Ray Lifetime Achievement Award.
It was a neat wrap up at IFFI 54 which established the credentials and credibility of the magic of movie-making, the medium speaking the global language of cinema in a meaningful manner!
IFFI 54 was indeed a vibrant affair that reflected the spirit of storytelling exhibiting creativity and clarity! It was further punctuated by the enthusiasm of the audience and their appreciation for cinema that stood beyond borders!
It is going to be a long wait for IFFI 55!
But worth the wait!