Cinema and UNESCO have a long-standing love affair: Eric Falt

ICFT is involved in major film festivals all over the world but Goa is the master-piece of all Film Festivals, said Mr. Georges Dupont, DG, International Council for Film Television and Audiovisual Communication (ICFT) and jury member of the ICFT UNESCO Gandhi Medal at IFFI. ICFT is trying hard to get into festivals like Cannes in order to get space for young film-makers  he added.  Mr. Dupont  was addressing the media along with Mr. Eric Falt, Director of UNESCO and Regional Representative for India & neighbouring countries on the sidelines of the 49thInternational Film Festival of India in Goa today.

Elaborating on the process of selection, Mr Dupont said that criteria for selecting films to the ICFT UNESCO Gandhi Medal Section are difficult  because they have to meet UNESCO’s  themes of peace,  unity and  international co-operation,  and movies come from different origins and cultures. “Film critics of international repute are involved in the selection process. Movies are shortlisted in India and taken to Paris for jury to watch. Then they are distributed to all the members via internet. The members do their homework as per their convenience and discuss their notes to arrive at a decision. The criteria for selection of movies for  the Medal this year  have been broadened. This year Silver Prize will be given as we are celebrating the 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi”, he said.

Discussing the future prospects of  films and film-making, Mr Dupont said ICFT is trying to get youth involved in these festivals as they are the future of cinema. UNESCO is also educating youth about media in the wake of issues like fake news.

Mr. Eric Falt,  Director, UNESCO said UNESCO supports culture in all its forms and there is a long-standing love affair between cinema and the international  organisation. “UNESCO is involved in many cultural programmes in India. The ICFT UNESCO Gandhi Medal eschews the value of Peace, Unity and International Co-operation. We are making efforts to prepare for the 50th anniversary of the festival next year and to bring ICFT and UNESCO closer”, he said.

Replying to a question, Mr. Eric Falt said that India has the most vibrant film industry than anywhere in the world. It makes UNESCO happy and proud to be associated with IFFI. Underlining the importance of dialogue in promoting peace, unity and international co-operation, Mr Falt said UNESCO is  promoting   discourse between international organisations and the  film industry to address various social and cultural issues


IFFI collaborates with the International Council for Film, Television and  Audiovisual Communication (ICFT) Paris, to present a special ICFT Prize consisting of the UNESCO Gandhi Medal.  ICFT established in 1956, is an official partner of UNESCO, and is an NGO aiming to stimulate the production and distribution of high quality audio-visual work, especially of young artists and media avocations at large.

The UNESCO issued commemorative medal in 1994, marking the 125th anniversary of the birth of Mahatma Gandhi. Since then the ICFT UNESCO Gandhi Award is being given to a film that best reflects Mahatma Gandhi’s ideals of peace, tolerance and non-violence. This year 12 films   are vying  for the Award which will be announced at the closing ceremony of the Festival on 28th November. Out of the 12 films, two are Indian and the rest are foreign.

The Indian films competing for the prestigious ICFT UNESCO Gandhi Medal are ‘Walking With the Wind’ and ‘Baaram’.The foreign films in the fray are :  Border, Capernaum, Dovlatov, Laugh or Die, Los Silencious, Rain of Homs, The Interpreter, The Mercy of the Jungle, The Rib and The Silent Revolution.

Georges Dupont is a Communication Expert & Member of the National Commission for UNESCO, Luxembourg & presently serving as DG ICFT.

Eric Falt is a French senior official at the United Nations. At present, he is serving as UNESCO Director and Representative for a region covering Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Previously, from 2010 to 2018, he was Assistant Director-General for External Relations and Public Information at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) based in Paris, with the rank of Assistant Secretary-General (ASG).