Festival: Then & now

Festival: Then & now

IFFI over the years

The International Film Festival of India (IFFI) has been every Indian filmmaker’s paradise ever since it was founded in 1952. It has grown in stature over the years, gaining a reputation as one of the most important film festivals in Asia.

A platform that showcases critically acclaimed films, IFFI also provides a competitive space for Indian regional cinema.

The golden edition in Goa marks the many milestones the festival has achieved. The first-ever IFFI was organised by the Films Division, Government of India, with the patronage of India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

The festival is also said to be the first international film event held anywhere in Asia.

Looking back
IFFI was not always held in Goa. It started off in Bombay (now Mumbai), with the United States participating, and featuring 40 features and 100 short films.
Later, the fest was taken to Madras (now Chennai), Delhi and Calcutta
(now Kolkata).

The Competition Category was added to the festival in its third edition where Sri Lankan film ‘Gamperaliya’ received the first Golden Peacock Award.
The festival grew bigger by its fifth edition, where it was the only Indian member of FIAPF (Fédération Internationale des Associations de Producteurs de Films), a body that regulates international film festivals. IFFI was classified as an ‘A’ grade festival.

IFFI goes to Goa
The festival moved to Goa — a land of sun, sand and sea — in 2004. The state government played a significant role in bringing the festival from Trivandrum to Panaji. Though the small coastal state initially faced criticism for not having the right infrastructure and a thriving film culture, the edition took off well.
Soon enough, infrastructural changes like the new Patto bridge and INOX multiplex helped clear the path for Goa to continue playing the host.
The state’s film culture expanded with a number of Konkani films being made every year. Around 12 of them made it to the Panaroma category of Indian cinema at IFFI.

From 23 to 70+ countries
The festival which began with entries from 23 countries now has over 200 films from 76 countries. Russia is the country of focus. 

(Compiled with inputs from IFFI website)

Kannada filmmakers who frequent IFFI

Some renowned directors of the Kannada film industry have visited the festival earlier. And they were impressed. 

‘Experience broadened my horizon’
The filmmaker was a regular at the festival when he was a student.
Hemanth says, “It was nice to be able to watch more than 30 films in a span of 10 days, for a minimal rate. The experience broadened my horizon in terms of storytelling. It was a great learning experience for aspiring filmmakers.”
The ‘Godhi Banna Sadharana Mykattu’ director adds that Goa adds a different vibe to it. “If one of my films makes it to the festival, it will be a great honour,” he says.
— Hemanth Rao, director

‘IFFI encourages people to make better films’
The director visits IFFI as often as possible. “I couldn’t make it this time as I am busy with a shoot at Chamrajnagar.”
He terms the festival “a fantastic experience”. “It is a great opportunity to watch films from various cultures. The movies offer a perspective into how one can narrate stories,” he says.
A festival which has been around for 50 years by itself influences and encourages people to make better films, he says.
— B Suresh, director

‘Good experience’
The ‘Prithvi’ director attended the festival when his films ‘Putti’ and ‘Anthyam’ were screened at the event.
“I attended as a delegate. Everything was organised and it felt like a good holiday. I watched a couple of films and it was a good experience,” he says.
— Jacob Verghese, director