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Siraj Syed

Siraj Syed is the India Correspondent for and a member of FIPRESCI, the International Federation of Film Critics. He is a Film Festival Correspondent since 1976, Film-critic since 1969 and a Feature-writer since 1970. 



IFFI 50: 15 firsts at the 2019 festival

IFFI 50: 15 firsts at the 2019 festival

1.      International Film Festival of India, IFFI 2019, will witness 90 India Premieres, 6 World Premieres and 11 Asia Premieres of Films.

2.      In a first for IFFI, a special award named Icon of Golden Jubilee of IFFI has been constituted, by the Government of India. This award will be bestowed to superstar Rajinikanth, during Inaugural Ceremony.

3.      IFFI 2019 will see more than 35 masterclasses and In-Conversation sessions, highlighting the nuances of film-making. There have never been so many at any previous IFFI

4.      8 specially curated sections have made their way to IFFI for the first time ever. The 2 sections that commemorate the 50 Golden Years of IFFI include the Golden Peacock Retrospective, which features Golden Peacock award-winning films from IFFI, in the past, and The Golden Lining section, which showcases Indian Films completing 50 years in 2019.

5.      A long-forgotten yet extraordinary way of viewing films will grace IFFI 50. 3 silent films will be screened this year at IFFI that will be accompanied by live music, composed and conducted by the Master Pianist, Jonny Best, a British musician, academic and festival director specialising in music for silent films. He studied piano with Ryszard Bakst at Chetham's School of Music and drama at University of London. In 2016 I founded the Yorkshire Silent Film Festival which has had three editions, bringing live-scored silent film to cinemas, theatres and village halls across Yorkshire. Yorkshire Silent Film Festival will now take place biennially from May 2020.

6.      Delegates will get a chance to view 17 Documentaries & Short films, previously screened at the Mumbai International Film Festival, MIFF, in a special section.

7.      Regional cinema of Goa will be honoured, as a package of films under the Konkani Language, and will be showcased at IFFI 50 for the first time, named The Goan Story.

8.      2 Noteworthy Indian Classics that have been recently restored (A River Called Titash by Ritwick Ghatak-1973 and Kalpana-1948, by Uday Shankar) will be screened at IFFI 2019 under a separate film section.

9.      16 eminent personalities from the Indian film industry will be honoured at IFFI 2019, for their outstanding contribution to Cinema.

10.  A whopping number of 24 Oscar submissions have been bagged IFFI 2019 selections, with four of them competing for main awards at the festival.

11.  50 Films by 50 female film-makers from across the globe will be celebrated at the golden jubilee edition of IFFI.

12.  The Golden Jubilee of IFFI will also have 90 International Films showcasing in India for the first time, as compared to 60 Indian Premieres that happened last year, at IFFI 2018.

13.  For the First time, Open Air screenings at IFFI will be organised at two different venues for the public – Jogger’s Park & Miramar Beach.

14.  As a way of adopting technological advancements in the field of filmmaking, IFFI has organised a workshop on Virtual Reality Film-making this year.

A postage stamp commemorating IFFI 50 will be released this year. It was an open contest held in collaboration with MyGov, wherein more than 400 entries were received, and one winning design was chosen


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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 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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