IFFI among highest prize money paying film fetes

Centre accepts panels suggestion to increase prize money to Rs 90 lakh

The hike has come after the government in principle has accepted the recommendations from the expert committee on IFFI that the I&B ministry had set up to suggest ways to improve the standing of India’s premiere film festival globally.

The festival will also have two new awards for the best actor and actress, in addition to the best film, best director and special jury awards.

Another recommendation that will be implemented this year onwards is making the festival’s competition section to go global. Until last year, the competition was restricted to films from only Asia-Pacific, Africa and Latin America.

The recommendations of the panel, headed by noted producer Pritish Nandy, were formally submitted to I&B Minister Ambika Soni on Wednesday but some of its suggestions were expected in principle after draft recommendations had been presented to the government.

As the competition expands to include films from all over the world, the number of entries in this most prestigious section has also been increased from 15 to 18. To give better representation to the host country in the competition, there will be now three films from India in it as against earlier two, directorate of film festivals director S M Khan said.

The expert committee on IFFI comprised A K Bir, Govind Nihalani, Kishwar Desai, Kamal Haasan, Shabana Azmi, Karan Johar, Prasoon Joshi, Nandita Das, Maithili Rao, Lakshmikant Shetgaonkar, Goa chief secretary C S Sapra and DFF director Khan, along with I&B ministry’s joint secretary (films) as member secretary.

The committee constituted four sub-committees to study the issues that would enable the upgradation of the festival to global standards. While the technical sub-committee was chaired by A K Bir, the sponsorship sub-committee was chaired by Pooja Shetty Deora, the events sub-committee by Govind Nihalani and the structural reforms sub-committee by Pritish Nandy.

Incidentally, the committee has recommended that in the Indian panorama section, the jury should not be bound to select five films from among 20 mainstream films recommended by the Film Federation of India and the Film Producers Guild. Rather, they should be free to select fewer than five films, if the standards of excellence were not met in their opinion, it said.

The Indian Panorama’s strength was increased from 21 to 26 films two years ago, after the Indian mainstream section was abolished, with the extra five films getting selected from the 20 mainstream films suggested by the FFI and FPG.

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