The 54th International Film Festival of India (IFFI), one of the biggest film and cultural extravaganzas of the world is scheduled to begin in Goa from November 20 and showcase over 270 films over a period of 10 days. Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur announced the schedule at a curtain raiser event on Monday in New Delhi. (Also Read: Michael Douglas to receive the Satyajit Ray Excellence in Film Lifetime Award at IFFI Goa 2023)
“The movies made in India have covered every corner of the country and are now reaching the distant corners of the world,” he said, noting that India’s media and entertainment industry is a force to be reckoned with, ranking as the fifth largest market globally and growing every year with an average annual growth of 20 percent in the last three years.
The opening film to be screened at the festival will be the UK thriller Catching Dust. The event will end with the 2023 American biographical sports drama The Featherweight.
Anurag Thakur said, “Renowned Hollywood actor and producer and shining star of world cinema, Michael Douglas, will be conferred with the prestigious Satyajit Ray Excellence in Film Lifetime Award.” Michael will be be present in person to accept the prestigious award, along with his wife and acclaimed actor, Catherine Zeta-Jones.
Over 270 films will be showcased during the festival at four venues.
Thakur said that the International Section of IFFI has seen a three times spike in number of films received and this is a display of the fascination of international film industry for IFFI. The International section will feature 198 films, 18 more than the 53rd edition of the festival. It will have 13 world premieres, 18 international premieres, 62 Asia premieres, and 89 India premieres.
This year, IFFI received a record number of 2926 entries from 105 countries, which is three times more international submissions than last year.
Speaking about the newly introduced OTT awards, Anurag Thakur said that since the COVID-19 pandemic, the OTT industry has seen a boom in India and original content created in India is employing thousands of people. In response to the dynamic landscape of this sector, growth of which stands at 28 percent annually, the Ministry has introduced this award celebrating the outstanding content creators on OTT platforms.
He added that a total of 32 entries across 10 languages from 15 OTT platforms have been received and the winner will be awarded an amount of ₹10 lakh.
Thakur spoke about the booming startup ecosystem in the country and the government’s focus on creating a support system to nurture such entities.
He added that to bolster the startup ecosystem in the film sector, and to recognise talent from the remotest corners of the country, the Creative Minds of Tomorrow initiative was started. Thakur informed that there are over 600 entries in this section for this year. This year’s selection of 75 winners will take the total of such winners to 225 in three years.
The Unon Minister made a special mention that all the venues for this year’s IFFI will be inclusive with all facilities and access for specially-abled. Audio description for visually impaired, sign language for hearing impaired, and dubbing of content in multiple languages will be symbolic of the mantra of Sabka Sath Sabka Vikas, he said.
Minister of State L Murugan said that International Jury is being headed by acclaimed filmmaker Shekhar Kapur.
The Indian Panorama is chosen by a jury of notable film personalities from across India, with a total of 12 jury members for feature films and six jury members for non-feature films, led by the respective chairpersons.
The Feature Film Jury, which consists of 12 members, will be chaired by famous director, actor, and producer TS Nagabharana.
The Feature Film Jury chose Anand Ekarshi’s film Aattam (Malayalam) as the opening feature film of the Indian Panorama Section. Noted documentary film director Arvind Sinha presides over the six-member Non-Feature Film Jury.
Indian Panorama section will showcase 25 feature films and 20 non-feature films from India. In the non-feature section is ‘Andro Dreams’ from Manipur.
From a pool of 239 modern Indian non-feature films, a package of 20 has been chosen for screening in the Indian Panorama segment. The collection of short films shows young and veteran filmmakers’ ability to capture, examine, entertain, and reflect modern Indian values.
The films chosen for the Indian Panorama section will be screened for non-profit screening in international film festivals in India and abroad, Indian Film Weeks held under Bilateral Cultural Exchange Programmes and Specialised Indian Film Festivals held outside cultural exchange protocols, and special Indian Panorama festivals in India.
A total of 15 feature films (12 international + 3 Indian) have been shortlisted to compete for the coveted Best Film Award, a Golden Peacock and ₹40 lakh. Apart from the Best Film, the jury will also determine winners in the best director, best actor (male), best actor (female), and the special jury prize category.
Five International and two Indian films will compete in Best Feature Film -Debut director section for the coveted Silver Peacock, ₹10 lakh cash prize and a certificate.
Best of award-winning films of the prestigious international film festivals this year have been assorted in the IFFI Kaleidoscope. Nineteen films are from festivals such as Cannes, Venice, Sao Paulo, Rotterdam, Santa Barbara, Stockholm, etc.
Cinema of the World’ section comprises 103 films through entries, a significant leap from previous years (77) to explore the staggering diversity of aesthetics and narratives from cinemas around the globe.