The Goa Film Festival

In light of this continuing dialogue over child trafficking in Goa…

……I have to admit that I was one of the prime motivators of shifting the Indian International Film Festival to Goa. There were many reason and the then Chief Minister , Panniker backed the idea and the film festival was born. However..There was, as should be, a great worry about what would happen to the envioroment in Goa. I thought that was a very very real concern. I fought the first ideas fo taking over a beach in South Goa, and building huge infrastructure there. I myself do not go to Film Festivals anyway where I cannot loose myself in the local culture. For example the Marrakesh film festival is enjoyable not only for it’s film but also for it’s fascinating local culture.
I made a very strong case for the festival to be held in Panjim. There were a lot of reccomendations that I made, which if the readers fo this Blog are interested I will share.
But the most important one was to hand over the management of the Festival gradually to Goans, and to the private sector. I do not eblieve that ‘Babugiri ‘ does any good to a festival of culture or arts in any form.
Since then I have not had the oppertunity to attentd any of the festivals so far, but judging from whats going on, I am dissapointed. It’s turning into a ‘Bollywood’ party.
I still believe that the film festival should be handed over to the private sector. That we should form a trust that should include primarily Goans. For they have an investment in the envioroment and the culture of Goa. For themselves and their children,
I also feel the film festival was ‘imposed’ from the top, and not allowed to grow organically to find it’s place amongst the important festival of the world. We cannot become a Cannes overnight. And even if that was achievable, it would wreak havoc with the envioroment and culture in Goa.
And now given this scandal on sex abuse with children, we have tio tread very carefully.
Recently I had the immense pleasure of meting Wendel Rodricks, a very wonderful and eminent Goan. I wish I could ask Wendel, other Goans to come together and start a very very Goan film and culture festival, which I am sure will find a unique place of it’s own internationally.

7 thoughts on “The Goa Film Festival

  1. Shekhar,
    In recent years I have timed my annual visit to India to coincide with IFFI and I have attended all the ones (3) held in Goa. I was, and still am, in favour of Goa as the venue, not only because I am a Goan – I accept that there have been major problems:
    1. The infrastructure Ė power, water, transport, sanitation, etc needs to be improved. There have been some cosmetic improvements in the vicinity of the IFFI venues.
    2. The Goa politicians and bigwigs have muscled in the admin of the Festival, handing out VIP passes to their cronies. In a small state like Goa, admission to the Festival events has become a status symbol.
    3. The most serious problem, I think, has been that delegate passes have been made freely available at low prices which include free admission to any screening. So gangs of youths queue for the events, denying the serious film buff the chance of seeing the films. To cap it these gangs talk to each other during the film, then walk out during the performance to join the queue for another film. Why cannot there be an admission price and advance booking for each screening?
    I believe that the running of IFFI should be firmly in the hands of the Directorate of Film Festivals, Ministry of I & B and that they should resist the interference from the Goa Government. They ran IFFI reasonably efficiently before it was moved to Goa, didnít they?

  2. No Goan, the IFFI was never well run. I still think that it should be put into private hands, who then should have a curator and a trust that runs the festival. Like the Venice Film festival, or the Cannes festival. Shekhar

  3. I guess IFFI is all about Indian Cinema and Indain Cinema certainly doesn’t mean BOLLYWOOD. Well, Goa film fest has become more of a big Bollywood party with regional cinema being ignored royally. Its ridiculous on part of the directorate of film fests and PIB that the photograph of Girish Kasaravalli, a ten times National Award winner,was published as posthumous in the IFFI brochure; well…apart from the other major biases. Dont u think all this is happenning bcos of purely commercial reasons as the sponsors have majorly taken over the running of the fest , thereby undermining the authority of festival directorate? In wake of such a scenario, would putting the fest in the hands of private sector, wont mean a slow death for serious regional cinema?

  4. Dear shekhar,
    its wonderful to see your blog here!
    You are right, there is hardly anything “international” about IFFI, it has become ‘bollywood’ party event.
    Yesterday, i witnessed Annual Carnival in Margao. Althogh i was very happy to experience it for first time, but i am very depressed the way, it is being commercialised.
    The major concern of Goa, now is to conserve its nature, environment and culutre. Immense tourism and globalisation has no doubt killed local traditions.
    IFFI, is also like ‘alien’ for local people, its in Goa but hardly Goan or for Goan people.
    I wish Government , takes some measures to conserve Goan culture and tradition, before its too late or sold out to foreigners.

  5. i am a filmmaker from Goa. i have made my first film A SEASIDE STORY a year before IFFI came to goa. i m proud to say dat my film was the first film from goa to get recognition on national level. the problem dat i am facing is there is no cinema lieracy in Goa. How can one hold a festival withoutlocal participation? why has the Govt. non initialising the process of Film Production in this state? since last four years only 2 feature films have been funded by the state. how would local crowd respond to an international film festival when they do not have films in their own lanuguaage? i think this issue needs to be addressed by the state Govt. and also people having interst in a successful IFFI in Goa.

  6. Hey Shekhar,
    Haven’t seen you since the film festival here in Goa though I keep running into people giving me bits of information about your committee to promote Goa for the entertainment business. Would like to know more since I’m a big supporter of trying to bring businesses (especially animation) to Goa. Spent some hours with Manu on the way to Goa from Bangalore two weeks ago. Do let me know if there is anything I can do to help.
    “Earthlings” is moving along well. The pilot episode is almost done. Please check out the “teaser” for the show on our website at: I’m even more convinced that we can make content for kids that can change the world by bringing youngsters from all over the planet together for cooperative and educational fun. Since you helped in the beginning you will be in the special thanks of the end titles along with the X-Media-Lab. Hope to hear what you think of our progress.
    Best wishes and do hope we meet up again either here or in Mumbai.
    Greg Acuna
    Pala Flicks

  7. Dear Shekhar
    I was entertained by you at Frames recently, your comments on censorship especially. I was part of the UK trade delegation, having worked on K3G and other bollywood movies in the UK. Indeed I met you while you were cutting 4 feathers, I was with with Kiran Deohans.
    After Frames, I went down to South Goa, and thought that outdoor screenings of musical films there would be brilliant… why would you be against this? In your article above, you say that you fought the first ideas of taking over a beach in S Goa….
    There does not have to be a huge infrastructure, just a screen and a sound system. As a great fan of music in cinema (I used to run film-music nights at the old Scala Cinema in London), I think outdoor screenings like this this could be the most fantastic celebration of musical cinema.
    Best Wishes

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