IFFI : The 2015 Indian International Film Festival

The International Film Festival in Goa was a huge success.

In India we like to criticize. Its why we are the world’s largest and most vibrant democracy. It also why it makes us some of the most cynical people in the world.

I was the Chairman of the Jury for International Films in the competitive section for the films. I was surprised how well the festival went. Not only me, but our fellow jurors were surprised too.  By the quality of films we watched.  By the quality of the sound and the projection in the theaters.  By the sheer number of audiences that attended the screenings.  Theaters were full.  Why would they not be ? Some of the latest and the best films were being shown.  Films that had not even been released anywhere in the world yet.  Films that have only just been nominated in various categories for 2016 Golden Globes.

My fellow jurors were astounded by the response of the audiences.  They had rarely seen such large number of film lovers turn up at film festivals. They were taken aback by the number of people that flocked to take autographs of Directors and by the number of people that attended the Master Classes taken by directors.  They loved Goa and were so happy with the hospitality of the people, the Festival and the ambience that is Goa.  And were appreciative of the organization of the festival.

There was criticism that there was no glitter and glamour at the festival. That the stars of Indian Cinema, the Gods and Goddesses, were not present.  I have a different point of view. A film festival is not an awards function.  Its not an event that hankers after, or is dependent upon TV coverage. World over, at the important film festivals in the world, Stars attend the festival only when their films are being shown.  They use the festival to showcase their films and to get publicity.

But then, the films in which the stars act, should be of a standard that competes with the other films being shown at the festival.

There are improvements to be made.  I know of no festival in the world that succeeds without a Curator.  One person, that creates a special relationship with the film makers from all over the world, and is constantly in touch with the films being made.  And then with his/her team, creates the strategy for selections of the films for that year.  The Curators are often associated with one festival for 10 or more years, and have a keen insight into trends of world cinema. IFFI needs a curator that becomes the individual face of the festival.

And perhaps a little more infrastructure.  If IFFI has to grow it needs more theaters and more conference areas, where people can hold discussions, or just hang out and network with other film makers, buyers, writers and film buffs and audiences generally.



5 thoughts on “IFFI : The 2015 Indian International Film Festival

  1. Pranaam Shekhar ji

    Congratulations!! IFFI2015 – a grand success. I was able to watch through the live webcast.. specially your conversations and speeches. Good live coverage/ social media. I enjoyed! I must appreciate the way you were explaining about the awards – the reasons behind their selection.. why the jury has selected etc. Such film festivals are the platform for new filmmakers.
    From all your quotes, sharing some “Accept failure as an integral part of your life.” & “Without fearlessness there is no Creativity.” Keep inspiring us Shekhar ji.
    And yes, thanks a lot for sharing the Goa culture and architecture, the art of storytelling through the pictures… I mean we all were with you in Goa for those 10 days.
    Please share something about your upcoming projects…Take care.


  2. Sir,
    I have read your compact and specific views about IFFI in tweeter handle and have responded them.
    U mentioned about marathi film “Court”.U were impressed by the film.U remarked that it reaches near
    the contents and the presentation of the films of Satyajit Ray.I saw the film in the cinema house of my town.
    What I want to say is”the people from Indian film fraternity (Including Hindi actors/ ?stars)should attend
    the festival to watch,review,analyse and evaluate the films to introspect and study themselves.”It never
    happens.That is the pinching point for us.They appear to be oversatisfied/contented with their limited capacity of talent.

  3. Thanks for promoting IFFI. With tremendous interest in films in India, the goal should be to strive to become as good as the Cannes and the Toronto film festivals if not better. I browsed through the Cannes and IFFI websites “About us” section. I did not see a curator at Cannes. Who does the Curator’s role at Cannes? Why is Cannes more popular than IFFI? What can be done to make IFFI more popular than Cannes?
    Who has the hiring and job-creation authority at IFFI? Has that individual or committee been notified of a prominent global film personality’s (respectfully you Sir) suggestion?
    I am not saying we must copy Cannes, but at the same time, we must not ignore the strengths of Cannes? I mean, why reinvent the wheel?

  4. Hello Shekhar,

    can there be any doubt that the face of IFFI ought to be you. You have qualified yourself for such a role in spades. You have paid your dues, your voice is that of a liberal man who in his many compelling blogs has warned of the vices and shortcomings of modern societies. You have cautioned of the preachers of hatred, of the false prophets whose agendas favored the rich and put the wool over the collective eyes of an unsuspecting populace.

    You have called people’s attention to the ugliness of conspicuous consumption, a phenomenon that is becoming progressively more appalling. You pointed with an unerring finger to the greed engendered by a capitalist system gone astray.

    Shekhar, without the slightest doubt you ought to lend your powerful and eloquent voice to a festival whose time has clearly come, whose meaning transcends the usual brouhaha that comes as an annoying by-product of such events. People want to increasingly see films that reflect their own realities. Theirs is a hunger for the unadulterated, the real thing. They want to see craggy faces of actors that speak of harsh lives, such as their own. No longer is the sanitized and sentimental glop of happy-ending stories what today’s movie buff is eager to see.

    I can think of nobody who would be better suited to do what Robert Redford has done for the Sundance Festival. I might be considered biased but I don’t think so. India is your country, the sleeping giant who is going through the exciting phase of awakening.

    If there is anybody better suited for this assignment I haven’t heard of him or her.

    Best regards.


  5. Hi Shekhar ji, Good to see you here after a long time. Hereby I would like to express that it was really great to have able to get a chance to straightaway met you and hug you as soon as I arrived at the Nfdc filmbazaar. It was like a pure connect like having hugged a sage, and my so called purpose to come to filmbazaar got fulfilled right there at its gates itself.

    Eagerly awaiting to complete and show you my first short film currently in its final stage of post production (working title – I’m not there). This film got conceived here on your blog over a discussion in the category search for self under threads of destiny, free will and who is this I, purpose/meaning of life, and later on got to become part of nfdc’s director lab. It’s a story of the false I set in lower himalayan village that revolves around a 13 year old kid and a vibrant old man (a role which I though you would have done the best). I am sure existence will give us a chance to meet again: )

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