As the sun set over the river Mandovi in Goa, the 50th edition of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) rolled out the red carpet for the closing ceremony. The spectacular, star studded closing ceremony brought the nine day festivities of 200 odd screenings, master classes, in-conversation sessions to a fitting climax.
Gracing the valedictory ceremony, Shri Babul Supriyo, Union Minister of State for Environment, Forest & Climate Change said that IFFI is a way for all to learn and evolve and in this journey of evolution, we are trying to make this platform a way for artists to learn and grow.
The Minister said, “There is no end to education in the field of art. The more you know, you will realise how less you know. With such great endeavours happening in Indian soil and Goa being a permanent and appropriate venue for IFFI for years to come , this is one arena which is going to make all film makers evolve by getting to know each other and by exchange of ideas and endeavours in your mind.”
“We strive to improve our facilities to welcome and accommodate more and more female participants at IFFI. Keeping this in mind, we provided a platform for 50 female film directors from all over the world to showcase their work. We hope to inspire and motivate more and more female artists and filmmakers to excel and showcase their talent. India is the most apt place to do that, “ Shri Babul Supriyo added.
Chief Guest of the occasion Goa Governor Shri Satyapal Malik said that cinema is a powerful medium which can have deep and far reaching impact on society. He appealed to filmmakers to make films on socially relevant issues for the improvement of the society.
Chief Minister of Goa Dr. Pramod Sawant said IFFI 2019 has given us another opportunity to watch films not just for entertainment but also for introspection. “As a host state, Goa is progressing every year with more productive and meaningful experiments. One of the main dreams of former CM Late Manohar Parikkar is to make Goa a haven for the film industry. Hope we will be able to fulfill the dream. We plan to develop infrastructure and provide the latest technology for film making in Goa, ” he said.
Music legend Ilaiyaraja, veteran actor Prem Chopra, Takashi Miike, Wagner Moura, Rakulpreet Singh, Vijay Deverakonda, Rohit Shetty, Aanand L Rai, Prosenjit Chatterjee, Nithya Menen and other lights and luminaries of film fraternity graced the function.
Deputy Chief Ministers of Goa Shri Manohar Ajgaonkar, Shri Chandrakanth Kavlekar, Members of Parliament Smt. Roopa Ganguly and Shri Ravi Kishan, Chief Secretary of Goa Shri Parimal Rai, Vice Chairman of Entertainment Society of Goa Shri Subhash Phal Desai, IFFI Steering Committee members Shri Shaji N. Karun, Shri Rahul Rawail, and International Jury members John Bailey, Robin Campillo, Zhang Yang, Lynne Ramsay, Shri Ramesh Sippy were also present on the occasion.
Opening the grandeur ceremony, Secretary, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting Shri Amit Khare said that IFFI 2020 and 2021 will be a tribute to legendary filmmaker of India Satyajit Ray whose centenary celebrations will be observed from next year. “ The event has been quite successful in bringing together film enthusiasts all over the world along with the well known filmmakers, artists and film critics. It will be our endeavour to have the 51st IFFI at an even larger scale. The 50th edition of IFFI had more than 190 films screened from 76 different countries which included 90 Indian premier, six world premier and 11 Asian premier. It is a matter of pride that this year we screened 24 Oscar submissions at IFFI. More than 12000 delegates participated which is also a record number.”, he said.
Offering insight on the participation numbers, CEO of Entertainment Society of Goa Shri Amit Satija said that in terms of international participation, IFFI saw majority delegates from UK, USA, Sri Lanka and UAE while Goa, Kerala, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu comprise majority of the national. Delegates.
Legends of Indian cinema Shri Ilaiyaraja, Shri Prem Chopra, Smt Manju Borah, Shri Aravind Swamy and Shri Haubam Paban Kumar were honoured on the occasion. Technical partners of the film festival and International jury members were also felicitated.
The nine day long festival of quality cinema concluded with the Indian premiere of Italian film ‘Marghe and her mother’. Various prestigious awards including Golden Peacock, Silver Peacock, Lifetime Achievement Award were conferred during the gala star-studded ceremony.
‘Particles’, French film directed by Blaise Harrison bagged the award for Best Film in IFFI 2019. 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. ‘Particles’ is an “ambitious yet modest film about the mysteries of being a teenager,” said the jury.
The Best Director award was given to Lijo Jose Pellissery for the film ‘Jallikattu’, who bagged the Silver Peacock Trophy and a cash prize of Rs. 15,00,000. While Usha Jadhav was awarded the Best Actor (Female) for her portrayal of ‘Prabha Mai’, in the Marathi film ‘Mai Ghatt: Crime No, 103/2005’ while Seu Jorge won the Best Actor (Male) for his portrayal of Carlos Marighella in the Brazilian movie ‘Marighella. Both received the Silver Peacock Trophy and cash Prize of Rs 10,00,000 each.
Special Jury award, which carries the Silver Peacock Award and a cash prize of Rs. 15,00,000, was awarded to Pema Tseden for his Chinese movie ‘Balloon’. The film set in Tibetan grasslands got the prize for “the beauty of the film language and the authenticity of the actors”.
Centenary award for ‘Best Debut Feature Film of a Director’ is shared between Amin Sidi Boumediene for ‘Abou Leila’ and Marius Olteanu for ‘Monsters’. Abou Leila’ tells the tale of two childhood friends who crossed the desert in search of Abu Leila, a dangerous terrorist. ‘Monsters’ tells a relationship drama in three chapters that describes the current state of a couple over 24 hours. Award carries Silver Peacock, a certificate and a cash prize of Rs. 10 lakhs. The Gujarathi movie ‘Hellaro’ directed by Abhishek Shah got special mention from jury for the “incredible music, it’s colour and graceful choreography”. Though set in a time 45 years ago, issue of woman’s empowerment portrayed in the film is even more relevant today, said the jury.
On the occassion, ICFT-UNESCO Fellini medal was awarded to International Film Festival of India (IFFI) on completion of its glorious 50 years. Secretary, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting Shri Amit Khare and Festival Director, Directorate of Film Festivals Shri Chaitanya Prasad received the award on behalf of IFFI.
Italian film ‘Rwanda’ directed by Riccardo Salvetti won The ICFT –UNESCO Gandhi Medal instituted by the International Council for Film, Television and Audiovisual Communication, Paris and UNESCO. The medal bears a portrait of Gandhi engraved by the French artist Pierre-Yves Tremois. Etched underneath is Mahatma’s message of hope : “ In the midst of darkness light prevails”
‘Bahattar Hoorain, the Indian movie directed by Sanjay P. Singh Chauhan got the special mention under ICFT-UNESCO Gandhi medal category.
The closing ceremony of IFFI 2019 was anchored by Sonali Kulkarni and Kunal Kapoor. The ceremony also witnessed enthralling performance by Hariharan and Lesle Lewis of Colonial Cousins who kept the audience spellbound with their mesmerising music while Tanushree Shankar choreographed a series of spectacular dance performances on the theme ‘Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat’.
The festival opened with the Asian premiere of Italian film ‘Despite the Fog’. 26 feature films and 15 non feature films are screened in Indian panorama section. Russia was the focus country. Isabelle Anne Madeleine Huppert was conferred the Lifetime Achievement Award at the opening ceremony of IFFI Golden jubilee. Rajinikanth was conferred the ‘Icon Of Golden Jubilee Award’ for his outstanding contribution to Indian cinema, a first time award beginning with the 50th edition.
This year, the International Competition consisted of 15 movies out of which two are made by Indians. Festival Kaleidoscope section of 50th IFFI showcased 20 films handpicked and curated from various parts of the world. World Panorama section had 64 films which are specially curated for the festival. IFFI also showcased 24 films which were or are in the race for the Oscars. Eight renowned films including one Indian movie competed for the coveted ICFT-UNESCO Gandhi Medal.10 Oscar Award Winning Films were screened at Oscar Retrospective section.
In a mark of respect to the women filmmakers in industry, IFFI featured 50 films from World Cinema directed by 50 strong Women Filmmakers that have won billions of hearts worldwide. A section of Films to the Indian New Wave Cinema. This selection includes 12 films produced in India from the late 1950s to the late 1970s that were distinct.
IFFI 2019 also showcased six of the best films by Amitabh Bachchan in a separate Dadasaheb Phalke Award retrospective section honoring the star’s achievement. The Restored Classics Section showcased two pioneering films-Kalpana by Uday Shankar and Titas Ekti Nadir Naam by Ritwick Ghatak which have been restored. In order to venerate an Asian filmmaker and earmark a section to his works IFFI 50 showcased the films of Japanese filmmaker Takashi Miike. IFFI, in its 50th year also dedicated a section for films, released in 1969, which turned 50 this year. Notable Films from the host state Goa are showcased through the ‘The Goan Story’ Section consisting of six films. Spreading the message of accessibility and inclusion, IFFI also screened three films with audio description for differently abled under ‘Accessible India – Accessible Films’ section.