Union Railways Minister Mamata Bajerjee will inaugurate the 41st International Film Festival of India later this evening at Kala Academy with Yash Chopra as the chief guest and Ajay Devgan being there.
This year 300 films from across 61 countries will be screened at 11 venues in the state during the festival and in all, cash prizes worth ` 90 lakh will be given to the winners which is the highest amount ever in the world, from film festival standards.
This year IFFI is expected to draw a crowd of over 7000 delegates from all over the world. Actor Aftab Shivdasani and actress Gracy Singh will compere the inaugural ceremony.
One of the unique features of IFFI this year is the master classes that will be conducted on various days by Resul Pokutty on sound technology in cinema, Boman Irani on the evolution of comedy in Indian cinema and James Javier on the Flamenco dance and Flamenco in Spanish cinema. Actress Freida Pinto will be present for the screening of her film I met a tall dark stranger directed by Woody Allen.
The ESG has also organized Short Film Centre (SFC), an initiative to bring together short film makers, buyers, festival organizers and funding agencies. SFC will have two broad categories under it, International Competition which will have 20 films from across the world and Environmental Competition films, which will compete for the coveted Vasudha Award, India’s only government award for an environmental film.
Directorate of Film Festivals Director S. M. Khan revealed that 18 films will compete for five awards, this year. Besides for the first time two additional silver peacock awards one for the best actor and another for the best actress are introduced this year.
Unlike previous years, IFFI this year will also witness screening of films from North America and Europe. They were earlier left out on grounds that films from countries that don’t usually get publicity should be given a chance. When asked, why the change in policy, Khan said it was in order not to miss out on important films from those countries.
The Indian Panorama presents a bouquet of 26 feature and 21 non-feature films from the best and promising film makers from across the country. The Indian Panorama’s opening feature film Mee Sindhutai Sapkal is based on the life of a living social reformer Sindhutai Sapkal.
This IFFI will mainly focus on films from countries like Mexico, Georgia and Sri Lanka, besides also a special section on films from Orissa, which is celebrating the platinum jubilee of Oriya cinema.
The International competition will have 18 films including three Indian films, which will be judged by five member jury led by filmmaker Jerzy Antczak. Other jury members include Canadian filmmaker Sturla Gunnars, Australian actor Mick Molloy and French filmmaker Oliver Pere and South Indian film actress Revathy Menon.
A new section Academy Interest is being introduced from this year. A special screening of India’s official Oscar entry this year Peepli Live is also being organised and from this year, 3 Indian films from Panorama would be making it to the International competition category.