International Goa News

Nachom-ia Kumpasar gets a ticket to Paris

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Panaji: The director and president of Extravagant India!, an international Indian film festival in Paris told TOI they found the Konkani film 'Nachom-ia Kumpasar' extraordinary and are inviting the film that pays tribute to the Goan musicians of the 1960s and 70s, to the third edition of the festival.

Very picky when it comes to selecting the right Indian films for the festival to suit the sensibilities of the French audience, festival director Gabriele Brennen, participating in the 46th edition of the International Film Festival of India (Iffi) said there is no set criteria for choosing films, but a good film that has universal appeal instantly hits a person and 'Nachom-ia Kumpasar' is one of these films.

The president of the festival, that takes place at the heart of Paris in Gaumont Champs- Elysees, Pierre Assouline watched the Konkani film at the All Lights India International Film Festival in Kerala and says it had extraordinary beauty and must be appreciated because of its great music, good cinematography and excellent acting.

"It's a musical specific to the period and unlike other Indian period films that often have wrong clothing or leave out other important elements that ruin the credibility of the period, this film with its coherence of mood, the tone of colours feels authentic from the beginning to the end," Assouline told TOI. "To add to that the film has love, drama, music and much humour. It's striking because it's different from other Indian films," he also said. The French would appreciate Goa's 'Cuban jazz', he said.

The organizers of the festival aren't too concerned about how recent the films are as long as they present something new for the French audience as the target audience is not the Indian diaspora, but the French people.

After holding two editions of the festival in 2013 and in 2015 the week-long festival will become a yearly affair and celebrate its third edition in October 2016 for which the organizers hint the Konkani film has convinced them to have a Konkani highlight at the festival where some Konkani classics as well as newer Konkani films can be screened.

The festival has an interesting story of how it came about., Festival director Gabriele Brennen was down at IFFI in 2008 when the Mumbai terrorist attacks took place, leaving her unable to take her scheduled flight back home. She didn't crib and instead spent time at the festival's short film section watching 120 films back to back. When her own short film entry 'L' Ecrivain' (The Writer) won a Jury prize along with the Golden Lamp Tree in the International Short Film Section, she decided to use the 2 lakh prize money to promote Indian films in France.

The very next year she organized a short film festival and went on to showcase student films the following year when the money for another festival ran out. In 2013 Extravagant India! began showcasing feature films, documentary, short films and retrospective films on a fairly large scale. "I felt the both the countries didn't know enough about each other's culture and films. Aside from Satyajit Ray's films and Bollywood films, the French didn't know much of Indian cinema. I wanted the many beautiful films from different parts of India to reach them," Brennen says.

There's a misconception among young filmmakers in India today, Assouline says, where they feel they need to have misery in their films to get the film accepted abroad and have a theatrical release.

"Of course there are social issues that need to be highlighted but people feel India is all about what is portrayed in 'Monsoon Shoot Out', 'Titli' and 'Miss Lovely'. They begin to believe that all of India is a slum and that girls are getting raped around each corner and widows getting beaten up. This conveys a very terrible and false image of India. There is so much beauty to export from India including its spiritual beauty," he said, adding that the French were a little tired of seeing such negative stories.

The third edition of the festival is expected to be a pillar during the three-month long Indian French cultural festival promoting the arts called Namaste France. Film entries for the festival open in January and Ramesh Tekwani India coordinator says shorter versions of the festival will move to eight towns in France and Netherlands. It is Brennen's dream to take the festival to other parts of Europe in the years to come.

The last edition of the festival saw 'Q' by Sanjeev Gupta win the best feature film, Vishal Bharadwaj win best director for 'Haider', Geetanjali Thapa win best actress in 'Liar's dice', Vinay Pathak win best actor in 'The Story of Gour Hari Dastaan'. 'Astu-So Be It' by Sumitra Bhave and Sunil Sukthankar and 'Filmistaan' by Nitin Kakkar received special jury mention. 'Gulabi Gang' by Nishitha Jain won best documentary and Farida Pacha won special jury mention for 'My Name Is Salt'. 'Kush' by Shubhashish Bhutiani won best short film and 'Time Machine' by Arati Kadav won special jury mention.[TOI]

Brazilian award for Goa Chitra, others

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 Panaji: Instituto Felga-Gracias Arte e cultura, the Rio De Janario based art institute will confer the 2015 Felga-Gracias Award on Sunday to Goa Chitra Museum for its pioneering work in the preservation of art and culture.

Renowned artist Felga De Moraes, who heads the institute and vice president Luis Gracias, who have contributed to the promotion of art and culture have rewarded the works of various organizations in Brazil for their contribution to society and across the world, especially those linked with Brazil.

The prestigious institute will also honour writer Savia Viegas, environmentalist Rajendra P Kerkar and ethnographer and museologist Victor Humo Gomes for their promotion of art and culture of the State. Also to be honored are folklore artists Kanta Gawde and Loretti Pinto, Pantaleao Fernandes for photograpy, Prajal Sakhardande for history and Sujata Noronha for education, with an award of excellence in contribution towards the preservation of arts and culture in Goa.

Dr Rui Carvalho Barceira, counsul general in Goa, will be the chief guest and Brazillian sports ambassador and FC Goa coach Arthur Antunes Coimbra (Zico) will be the guest of honour for the award ceremony.[TOI]

Work on beautification of Baina beach likely to start in December

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 Panaji: Although it lags behind Kerala and Andhra Pradesh in attracting Chinese tourists, Goa Tourism is likely to step up its efforts in this respect soon. The significant outbound travel from China became the topic of discussion at the first meeting of an evaluation committee held recently, prompting the state's tourism sector to explore the idea of reaching out to Chinese holidaymakers.

The committee also reviewed the first module of a report submitted by M/s KPMG Advisory Services Private Limited, a consortium appointed by the government to prepare a tourism master plan for Goa.

The aspect of targeting Chinese travellers was discussed at length at the meeting, and the criteria to fulfil certain requirements that would in turn form the basis for wooing this untapped segment. The number of Chinese tourists visiting India is miniscule. Currently, less than 2 million Chinese visit India annually. Till now, the outbound tourist flow from China is targeted by Sri Lanka, Nepal and the Maldives.

Goa Tourism has been under immense pressure to diversify and tap new markets in view of the steady deterioration of the number of chartered tourists visiting the state since last season, particularly after the Russian economy went downhill.

A committee member said that while there's no harm in looking at new avenues, sincere attempts would have to be made to attract travellers from new areas, with there being no likelihood of a significant surge of European holidaymakers to Goa.[NT]

The member, however, said that as discussed in the meeting, a list of specific requirements that had earlier been deliberated with the Chinese ambassador - such as training of Chinese language interpreters, spreading Chinese etiquette across tourist areas in the state, and setting up of high-end shopping destinations - has to be met.

The subject of tapping Chinese tourists has been dealt with in detail in the first module report on the tourism master plan submitted to the government, the member said.

A tour operator who hasn't been very pleased with the approach of Goa Tourism in the past, said, "If it (Goa Tourism) are serious about tapping the Chinese market, it should do so systematically instead of adopting a casual approach." While bringing in Chinese travellers will not be an easy task, the operator said that the extension of the e-visa facility to China is a step in the right direction.[TOI]

Goan Costa is portugal’S Premier

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AFP, Lisbon, Portugal: The appointment comes after Costa's anti-austerity alliance with Communists, Greens and the Left Bloc toppled the 11-day-old conservative minority government in a dramatic parliamentary vote this month.
Portugal, still struggling after four difficult years of austerity, has been in political turmoil since an inconclusive legislative election in October.
"The president of the republic (Anibal Cavaco Silva) decided after hearing from the parties represented in parliament to name Antonio Costa to the post of prime minister," his office said in a statement.
Keeping on the government of outgoing conservative prime minister Pedro Passos Coelho "would not have served the national interest," the statement said.
Although Passos Coelho's centre-right coalition won the the October 4 election, it lost the absolute majority it had enjoyed since 2011.
His government was toppled in a parliamentary vote on November 11.[H]

Egypt’s loss not Goa’s gain

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Calangute: The inflow of Russian charter tourists to Goa, which has dipped significantly this season, is unlikelyto go up with the cancellation of Russian flights to Egypt, as was expected by certain quarters of the tourism industry here. Russia had cancelled all flights by Russian airlines to Egypt following the crash of a Russian plane carrying tourists earlier this month.

More than three million Russian tourists visit Egypt annually.

"There are chances that Goa could be an alternative to Egypt, but they are not very big," says Ekaterina Belyakova of the Russian information centre in Goa (RIC). "Goa will have more chances to attract Russian tourists if hoteliers offer good discounts. Plus, of course, it will require additional promotion of Goa as a tourist destination in the Russian media, and this is required right now and not after Russian tourists choose other alternatives to Egypt," she said.

"Egypt has an 'all-inclusive' system in hotels in the four-star and five star categories (all-inclusive means all meals and standard beverages). Hotels there give our tour operators an extremely low price-- twice as lower than the Goa hotels. For example, the average five-star hotel stay, including breakfast, in Goa costs at least $160 per day. In Egypt, however, a five-star star hotel's all-inclusive system costs about $100-120 per day," she explained.

Confirming the reduced inflow of Russian charter tourists in this season, she said that the RIC does not have the exact figures. "I think nobody can provide the exact number of charter flights to Goa this year, because of so many issues over the last few months in the Russian tourism industry. A lot of charter flights have been cancelled," she said.

"After the bankruptcy of Transaero, since the end of October there were to be 3-4 flights per week from Moscow, plus three flights per month from nine other regions of Russia. These were the plans at the start of the season. Whether they actually came to Goa, I do not know. Apart from these, from CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) countries, there was one flight expected from Kazakhstan every 10 days, while Ukrainian travel companies sell packages with flights on Fly Dubai," she said, adding that it is difficult to see how the season pans out in the coming months.

Sources said, that the lack of Russian-speaking hotel staff and tour guides, as also harassment of tourists by taxi drivers, besides other factors have contributed to the drop in the number of Russian tourists visiting the state. Russians have also been demanding the setting up of a Russian Orthodox Church here so that they can come here during religious holidays.

On the other hand, sources said that hoteliers are reluctant to reduce tariffs for foreign charter tourists because of the strong demand from domestic tourists.[TOI}


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