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Siraj Syed


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Siraj Syed is the India Correspondent for FilmFestivals.com and a member of FIPRESCI, the International Federation of Film Critics.
Festival Correspondent, Film-critic, Feature-writer.


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IFFI Goa 2017, II: The Countdown has begun, but who is counting?

IFFI Goa 2017, II: The Countdown has begun, but who is counting?

Hitherto, the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) was organised by the Directorate of Film Festivals (DFF), Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB), Central Government of India (all in New Delhi), in collaboration with various other Ministry units. The media relations were handled solely by the Press Information Bureau (PIB). When the annual event moved to Goa and set base there, a special body was created by the Government of Goa, called the Entertainment Society of Goa (ESG), which signed and periodically renewed a Memorandum of Understanding with DFF, hosting the event with ever-growing participation. PIB continued to handle media.

Coinciding with IFFI, the Mumbai-headquartered National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) started organising annual Film Bazaars, in Panjim, a mere 2-3 km away from the main festival venue. Registration/media accreditation at IFFI gave you no privileges at the Bazaar, not even entry. Media relations and PR was always out-sourced by NFDC to a private agency, not PIB. On the other hand, if you registered at the Bazaar, you were given full access to IFFI, after paying an additional fee of Rs. 1,000 (Bazaar Registration is Rs. 14,000). There was strong interaction at the official levels between DFF and the Bazaar, but DFF and more strongly NFDC, always maintained that the two events were entirely independent. There is no media registration at the Bazaar, and a few favourites are invited, with travel and stay hospitality, to cover the event.

All through September and October 2017, there was talk in media circles that for IFFI 2017, DFF had been by-passed and that the NFDC would now organise the event. Doordarshan, DFF, NFDC and IIMC veteran Sunit Tandon was tipped to be the new Festival Director. There is no official confirmation of any of the above. I could not find any documents on the MIB, DFF or NFDC website that gave details of any such moves. But what is there for all to see is very surprising, and also a matter of concern for all well-wishers of the festival. Take a look at the MIB website: http://www.mib.gov.in/#

Click on the Home button and follow the link to Films. You will find three notices, all dated 30 November 2016. Click on International Film Festival of India, and you will find no information about the festival director or the role of the NFDC. On the NFDC link, clicking takes you to the NFDC homepage: https://www.nfdcindia.com/

Here, you find no details of or links to IFFI. But you do find four documents that bear the joint IFFI-NDFC logos. No. 1 is not of relevance. 2-6 are IFFI duties, 7 leads you to Page Not Found. No. 8 gives you the list of Indian short and feature films received for the festival. It is not mentioned whether this is the selected, final list or just a tabulated list of entries. I’ll publish that list soon.

1.

CAWFI - Application Form (Not related to IFFI)

February 15, 2012 | Source from

2.

CORRIGENDUM 2 - REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL (RFP) FOR PRODUCTION AGENCY FOR OPENING AND CLOSING CEREMONY OF INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL OF INDIA (IFFI), 2017 TO BE HELD FROM 20th TO 28th NOVEMBER 2017 IN GOA

February 15, 2012 | Source from

3.

CORRIGENDUM - REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL (RFP) FOR EVENT MANAGEMENT AGENCY FOR PROVIDING MANPOWER AND ORGANIZING ROAD SHOWS FOR INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL OF INDIA (IFFI), 2017

February 15, 2012 | Source from

4.

CORRIGENDUM - REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL (RFP) FOR PRODUCTION AGENCY FOR OPENING AND CLOSING CEREMONY OF INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL OF INDIA (IFFI), 2017 TO BE HELD FROM 20th TO 28th NOVEMBER 2017 IN GOA

February 15, 2012 | Source from

5.

REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL (RFP) FOR PRODUCTION AGENCY FOR OPENING AND CLOSING CEREMONY OF INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL OF INDIA (IFFI), 2017 TO BE HELD FROM 20th TO 28th NOVEMBER 2017 IN GOA

February 15, 2012 | Source from

6.

REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL (RFP) FOR EVENT MANAGEMENT AGENCY FOR PROVIDING MANPOWER AND ORGANIZING ROAD SHOWS FOR INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL OF INDIA (IFFI), 2017

7.

Media/Delegate Accreditation for IFFI 2017

February 15, 2012 | Source from

The last date for receiving REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS was 28th of October, and contracts would have been awarded within 2/3 days, what with the festival just 22 days away from the deadline of proposals. Yet, today, 07 November, 12 days away from the inauguration, there is no mention of which companies were awarded the Opening and Closing Ceremony contract, the Road show agreement and the Event Management deal. And pray, what is the recurring 'February 15, 2012/Source from'?

More on the NFDC, from its home page.

Mission

NFDC aims at fostering excellence in cinema and promoting the diversity of its culture by supporting and encouraging films made in various Indian languages.

Vision

To create domestic and global appreciation and celebration of the independent Indian cinema.

Objectives

- To develop talent and to facilitate the growth of Indian cinema in all languages through productions and co-productions, script development and need based workshops.

- To promote Indian culture through cinema in India and overseas.

- To build a lean and flexible organisation responsive to the needs of the Indian film industry.

There is no mention of organising competitive international film festivals.

This is the 48th IFFI. It is also my 48th year in film journalism. Over the decades, I have seen the PIB do a reasonably good job in managing both events and media. Since IFFI became a Cannes wannabe in 2005, anything up to a dozen players are contracted various jobs. And these are besides the DFF, the NFDC, the PIB, the Film and Television Institute of India and the National Film Archive of India. Funds have been raised in millions from all kinds of sponsors. Yet, year-on-year, we have been told at press conferences that the overall budget of the festival has been reduced, and facilities/festivities, therefore, curtailed. Reduced? Shouldn’t it be increased annually, on three points: inflation, better organisation, and more festivities?

It is not a pretty picture we see so close to the film event of the year. The Countdown has begun (indeed, it began at least five months ago), and confusion prevails. You’ll need a Confucius to take you through this confusion, but in a festival where the much-raved Newton is on the screening schedule, Socrates, Galileo and Einstein may be lurking in the lurch.

We’ll take a look at the IFFI, the DFF and PIB portals, and update you about new developments. Watch these columns.

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About Siraj Syed

Syed Siraj
(Siraj Associates)

Siraj Syed is a film-critic since 1970 and a Former President of the Freelance Film Journalists' Combine of India.

He is the India Correspondent of FilmFestivals.com and a member of FIPRESCI, the international Federation of Film Critics, Munich, Germany

Siraj Syed has contributed over 1,015 articles on cinema, international film festivals, conventions, exhibitions, etc., most recently, at IFFI (Goa), MIFF (Mumbai), MFF/MAMI (Mumbai) and CommunicAsia (Singapore). He often edits film festival daily bulletins.

He is also an actor and a dubbing artiste. Further, he has been teaching media, acting and dubbing at over 30 institutes in India and Singapore, since 1984.


Bandra West, Mumbai

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