Panaji: The 54th edition of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) kicked off in Goa, witnessing the inauguration of Film Bazaar by Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Anurag Thakur. Thakur emphasized the remarkable growth of the media and entertainment industry in India, stating that it is experiencing a 20 percent annual expansion, solidifying its position as one of the world’s five largest markets. He specifically noted that the film market in India is not only dominant in South-East Asia but globally significant.
Union Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting, Dr L Murugan, welcomed the addition of Film Bazaar to the festival, highlighting its role in showcasing diverse cinematic offerings. The festival’s guest list includes eminent figures such as Vijay Sethupathi, Sara Ali Khan, Pankaj Tripathi, Sunny Deol, Karan Johar, Shantanu Moitra, Shreya Ghoshal, and Sukhwinder Singh.
The opening film, ‘Catching Dust,’ a thriller directed by award-winning British filmmaker Stuart Gatt, sets the tone for the gala. The mid-fest film, ‘Dry Grasses,’ directed by French Director Nuri Bilge Ceylan, and the closing film, ‘The Featherweight,’ directed by Robert Kolodny, promise a diverse cinematic experience for attendees.
The festival also introduces an OTT awards category, with filmmaker Rajkumar Hirani heading the jury for the best web series award. The jury panel includes Divya Dutta, Prosenjit Chatterjee, and filmmakers Krishna DK and Utpal Borpujari. Anurag Thakur highlighted the booming OTT industry in India, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and expressed the Ministry’s commitment to recognizing outstanding content creators on these platforms.
Renowned Hollywood actor and producer Michael Douglas will receive the prestigious Satyajit Ray Excellence in Film Lifetime Award and address the IFFI Master Class on November 28.
The Indian Panorama section, selected by a jury of notable film personalities, will showcase 25 feature films and 20 non-feature films from India. Chaired by director, actor, and producer TS Nagabharana, the Feature Film Jury chose Anand Ekarshi’s ‘Aattam’ (Malayalam) as the opening feature film. The Non-Feature Film Jury, led by documentary film director Arvind Sinha, selected 20 compelling entries, including ‘Andro Dreams’ from Manipur.
The introduction of the OTT awards and the recognition of Michael Douglas underscore the dynamic evolution of India’s film industry. With the festival set to conclude on November 28, the 54th IFFI promises to be a celebration of cinematic excellence and cultural diversity.