Let’s not misquote Priyadarshan: IFFI director

A Canadian filmmaker felt that IFFI was the worst film festival she had attended

IFFI director Chaitanya Prasad speaks in an interview. Credit: Facebook/Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India

Chaitanya Prasad, director of the 50th International Film Festival of India (IFFI), said that we should not misquote India jury chairman Priyadarshan, who a media agency had quoted as saying that many films he had seen at IFFI were not impressive. “Let’s not misquote Priyadarshan. (International Jury chairman) Mr John Bailey is here, he is very happy,” said Prasad.

“Priyadarshanji said it in a different context altogether. He had reacted as a filmmaker,” he said.

Among the guests at the festival was Alyson Richards, a Canadian filmmaker, who felt that IFFI was the worst film festival she had attended. She pointed to the location of the cloakroom and lack of bicycle parking as examples of organisational issues. “I feel like I am treated like a criminal and I am a guest,” Richards said. “I have been attending film festivals for 25 years. I have never been to a film festival this badly organised, anywhere in the world. This is not for filmmakers, this is for the public.”

She continued, “Don’t call it an international film festival if you don’t want international filmmakers to come. This is a public event for the city of Goa because that’s what it is.”

Reacting to Richards's criticisms, Prasad said, “The kind of packages that we have put together has never been seen before. If you have 90 India premieres, six world premieres and 15 national premieres, how can it be the worst festival?”

“The biggest film of the year, Parasite, is here. You have a Ken Loach retrospective. Filmmakers Wagner Mura and Takashi Miike are coming. What more do you want?” he said.

The festival director said that there may have been logistical errors, which happens at big festivals, and that "films get jacked at Cannes".

Asking whether we had seen the appreciative tweet put out by musician Johnny Best about the festival, Prasad said, “The way Johnny Best played, people gave him a standing ovation.”

The festival director also took exception to an opinion piece published by DH, where the choice of guests for the fest’s opening ceremony was criticised. “You are questioning Rajinikanth. Come on, yaar. Have a heart. The thunderous applause he got! Rajinikanth is Rajinikanth and Amitabh Bachchan is Amitabh Bachchan whether you like it or not,” he said.

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