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IFFI preparations this year most lacklustre since its arrival in Goa

Panaji: It’s exactly 45 days before the curtains rise on the 49th edition of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI), while the related preparations are the slowest as witnessed since 2004, when the annual mega film event arrived in Goa. IFFI 2018 is scheduled to be held from November 20 to November 28, 2018.

To start with, the process of delegate registration for last year’s film festival had already begun in the first week of October, while the date for the commencement of the same for IFFI 2018 still remains to be announced. The websites of the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC), which has been managing the film festival since last year, as well as that of the Directorate of Film Festival have no information about the same.

Interestingly, the delegate registration for Film Bazaar, which is annually held on the sidelines of the film festival in a city hotel, but not directly connected to the 9-day film fiesta, has already begun. The fee for regular registration of a delegate at the Film Bazaar is Rs 16,000.

On the local front, the recent IFFI 2018-related meeting was held in Goa, during the first week of August, earlier this year. It was attended by Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting (Independent Charge) Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore and Chief Minister Manohar

Parrikar. Later, Rathore, in a tweet had stated that he took stock of the IFFI Goa preparations. The preparations, however, are not visible, in the post-August period. The meetings of the governing council of the Entertainment Society of Goa (ESG), a local partner of the central government in organising the IFFI, are not taking place in the absence of the ailing Chief Minister, who is also the ESG chairman. Furthermore, the senior ministers in the state cabinet do not have IFFI on their priority list, which includes issues ranging from mining to formalin-laced fish.

Chief Secretary Dharmendra Sharma, speaking to this daily a week ago, had stated that he and Union Secretary for Information and Broadcasting Amit Khare are both co-monitoring the film festival-related activities and the preparations for the event would be completed as per the schedule. The IFFI 2018 steering committee, which is headed by Khare, with Sharma as its co-chairman has met on very few occasions.

It is learnt that the repair works of the Maquinez Palace auditoria, which form a part of the IFFI theatres would commence soon, while the tenders for IFFI-related works including accommodation and travel of delegates, designing/ décor and so on are in the process of being floated.

Generally, the preparations for the International Film Festival of India start two to two-and-a-half month before its inauguration. The central government officials too visit Goa off and on, during this period to watch over the preparations. This year the resourcefulness seems to be sorely missing, at least till this moment.

As regards the proposed IFFI Complex cum Convention Centre, set to come up on the Dona Paula plateau, nothing has moved forward except the state government constituting an empowered committee to work out the related details, and Economic Development Corporation (EDC) as well as Info Tech Corporation of Goa (ITG) partnering to form a Special Purpose Vehicle to oversee the construction.

The complex and the convention centre were supposed to be ready by October 2019, for the organisation of the 50th edition of IFFI. However, with the Chief Minister facing serious health issues and the state exchequer in bad shape, this project seems to have gone in cold storage.

Some stray information about the schedule for IFFI 2018, available through Twitter messages informs that “With the release of a magnitude of sports films and biopic in the recent years, #IFFI2018 will feature a new film section dedicated to Indian and International Sports Films”, and “Join us at #IFFI2018 as we pay a tribute to the recipient of the most prestigious film award of India, Dadasaheb Phalke Award. This year #VinodKhanna received the award posthumously. His best movies will be screened under a Retrospective Section at 49th IFFI.”

It has been 15 years since the International Film Festival of India made Goa its permanent destination. However, during the past few years the film festival seems to have lost its fizz, which made the organisers reduce its period from 11 to 9 days, and furthermore, hand its management from the DFF to the NFDC. It now remains to be seen, how IFFI 2018 shapes up and whether it would be one of the dullest editions of this film festival, looking at the way its preparations are proceeding. [NT]

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