Shri K.J. Alphons, Union Minister of State for Tourism (I/C) has said that Indian movie industry has made millions of people happy, not only in India but also in other parts of the world. Movies can be transformative. Nowhere else in the world have we seen feature films on sanitary pads or toilets made. He was addressing the valedictory ceremony of 49th International Film Festival of India in Panaji, Goa today November 28, 2018.
Drawing a parallel between tourism and movies, Shri Alphons said that tourism and movie industry are closely related, since they have the single objective of bringing people close together and making them happy. In a country where many people have sacrificed their lives for their nation, there is plenty of subject matter for amazing realistic movies, he added.
Col. Rajyavardhan Rathore, Union Minister of State for Information & Broadcasting (I/C) said, through a video message, that cinema knows no language and that the 49th International Film Festival of India in Goa proves just that. “Films inspire all of us, they entertain us, they make us strive and above all, they connect us all as human beings”, he added.
Smt. Mridula Sinha, Governor of Goa; Shri Shripad Naik, Union Minister of State for AYUSH (I/C); Shri VP Singh Badnore, Governor of Punjab; Shri Vijay Sardesai, Minister for Town and Country Planning, Goa; Shri Manoj Tiwari, Member of Parliament; Shri Amit Khare, Secretary, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting; Shri Dharmendra Sharma, Chief Secretary of Goa; and other officials were present on the occasion.
Many renowned film personalities such as IFFI 2018 Lifetime Achievement Awardee Dan Wolman, Anil Kapoor, Arbaaz Khan (son of master screenwriter Salim Khan), Indian Panorama Jury Chief Rahul Rawail, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra and Kabir Bedi too attended the closing ceremony.
Stating that the 49th edition has been a great success, Shri Khare said that film bazaar has elicited response from various countries across the world. He said that Israel has been the focus country and Jharkhand the state focus. Noting that the preparations for the golden jubilee celebration of the festival next year has begun, the Secretary said that the government would like to showcase the film culture of each and every region of the country and trace the history of IFFI from the 1st to the 49th. He added that the facilities at Goa would be enhanced, given the overwhelming response received from film-lovers. He said that this is being done, so tha the 50th IFFI can have many more delegates than this year.
Shri Vijay Sardesai, Minister for Town and Country Planning, Goa said that regional cinema has to find a place in national cinema. Film makers should be encouraged to come forward to know Goan way of life, he added.The nine day long festival of quality cinema concludes with the world premier of German film ‘Sealed Lips’. Various prestigious awards including Golden Peacock, Silver Peacock, Lifetime Achievement Award were conferred during the star-studded ceremony.
On the occasion, the IFFI Special Award has been conferred to Salim Khan for his Lifetime contribution to Cinema. Arbaaz Khan, son of Salim Khan, received the award on behalf of his father. Salim Khan revolutionized Indian cinema in the 1970s, transforming and reinventing the Bollywood formula, pioneering the Bollywood blockbuster format, and pioneering genres such as the masala film and the Dacoit Western. Salim Khan was also responsible for creating the “angry young man” character archetype and launching Amitabh Bachchan’s career.
Ukrainian film Donbass, directed by Sergei Loznitsa bagged the award for Best Film in IFFI 2018. The award comes with the Golden Peacock trophy, certificate and a cash prize amount of Rs. 40,00,000, shared equally between the Director and the Producer.
Donbass tells the story of a hybrid war taking place in a region of Eastern Ukraine, involving an open armed conflict alongside killings and robberies perpetrated on a mass scale by separatist gangs. In Donbass, war is called peace and propaganda is uttered as truth. A journey through Donbass unfolds as a series of curious adventures. This is not just a tale of one region or a political system; it is about a world lost in post-truth and fake identities.
The Best Director award was given to Lijo Jose Pellissery for the film ‘Ee. Ma. Yau.’, who bagged the Silver Peacock Trophy and a cash prize of Rs. 15,00,000. While Anastasiia Pustovit was awarded the Best Actor (Female) for the Ukrainian film “When the Trees Fall”, Chemban Vinod won the Best Actor (Male) for the film ‘Ee. Ma. Yau’. Both received the Silver Peacock Trophy and cash Prize of Rs 10,00,000 each.
‘Ee. Ma. Yau.’ is a stunning satire on death and how it affects human lives. Chemban Vinod plays the role of ‘Eeshi’, the son who tries to arrange a worthy funeral for his father but is met with unpredictable obstacles and reactions from different quarters. ‘When the Trees Fall’ is the story of the 5 years old rebellious girl Vitka, her teenage cousin Larysa and her boyfriend Sear. The film describes the gross poverty, ignorance and racism of rural Ukraine and takes place in the extraordinary physical ugliness of the nearest city. Anastasiia Pustovit plays the role of Larysa in the film.
Special Jury award, which carries the Silver Peacock Award and a cash prize of Rs. 15,00,000, was awarded to Milko Lazarov for his Yakut movie ‘Aga’. Aga’ tells the story of Sedna and Nanook, an elderly couple from Yakutia, and the particular challenges in their life in the midst of a frigid landscape. Alberto Monteras II received the Centenary award for ‘Best Debut Feature Film of a Director’ for his Filipino Movie ‘Respeto’. The winner received Silver Peacock, a certificate and a cash prize of Rs. 10 lakh. The movies ‘To Let’ and ‘Volcano’ got special mention under this category.
The ICFT –UNESCO Gandhi Medal was awarded to Ladakhi Movie ‘Walking with the Wind’, directed by Praveen Morchhale. This award, instituted by the International Council for Film, Television and Audiovisual Communication, Paris and UNESCO, is given to a film that portrays the Gandhian values of peace and harmony. ’Walking with the Wind’ tells the story of a 10 year old boy in Himalayan Terrain, who mistakenly breaks his friends school chair. Receiving the award, Praveen Morchhale said that he dedicates the award to the people of Ladakh. ‘Los Silencios’, the Portuguese, Spanish movie directed by Beatriz Seigner, got the special mention under ICFT-UNESCO Gandhi medal category.
Jury members Robert Glinski, John Irvin, Adrian Sitaru, Anna Ferraioli Ravel and Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra were felicitated by Union Tourism Minister Shri K.J. Alphons. The closing ceremony of IFFI 2018 was anchored by film stars Arjan Bajwa and Sophie Choudry. Eminent Indian film personalities such as Chitrangada Singh and Diana Penty graced the closing ceremony. The ceremony also witnessed scintillating presentations by actor Kabir Bedi and singer Vipin Aneja, who enthralled the audience with their soulful lyric and music while X1X dance group from Mumbai set the stage on fire with their fast-paced dance performance.
Over the last nine days, more than 220 movies from 67 countries were screened at IFFI. While the festival opened with the world premiere of English film ‘The Aspern Papers’, the world premiere of German film ‘Sealed Lips’ marks the conclusion of this festival bonanza. 26 feature films and 21 non-feature films were screened in the Indian Panorama section. While Israel was the focus country, Jharkhand was the focus state this year. This is for the first time that any state was made focus state at IFFI. Veteran Israeli filmmaker Dan Wolman was given he Lifetime Achievement Award at the opening ceremony. Another new section at IFFI this year was the screening of six Indian sports biopics as an extension of the Khelo India initiative.
In the International competition section, 15 movies were screened, out of which 3 were Indian. Festival Kaleidoscope section carried 20 critically acclaimed international films that have been to major film festivals and majority of them being multiple award winners. World Panorama section had 67 films which are specially curated for the festival. This included 4 World Premiers, 2 International Premiers, 15 Asia Premiers and 60 India Premiers. This year World Panorama section presented 15 films which are Oscar submissions from respective countries.
At Master classes and In-Conversations, a host of film personalities interacted with delegates. Two movies, Sholay and Hichki, were also screened at this year’s IFFI as part of a special package for visually impaired persons. Retrospective section of Ingmar Bergman in connection with his birth centenary celebration was another specialty of the festival. The next edition will mark the 50th anniversary of India’s premier film festival.
N.B: Photos are available on the PIB website.