Sombre mood at IFFI-2016

I don’t like to miss any film festival, if I can manage to attend it. And have been attending the famed International Film Festival of India (IFFI) since 1999. After it was located permanently in Goa, I started getting my mass communication students as entire batches.

It was  good, initially. But I also had an inkling of other international film sizeably big festivals like of Kerala, Pune, Mumbai and Bangalore. Over the years, I have noticed and many others have supported my suspicions : IFFI has been missing the mark. It has been steadily but surely degenerating into a show of tax-payers’ money power. Since it is heavily funded by the Government of India, besides supported handsomely by corporates, money is not an issue at all. So, there you go!

In the last few year, IFFI has brought in a ridiculous rule: ticketing! Cinebuff need not pay for their tickets, but have to stand in queues and book their tickets. That paved the way for controlling  (or , politically speaking, dictating) how much a cinefan watches.

Now, I guess for the last three years, the organisers of IFFI have decided that cinefans should not watch more than THREE films a day in a film festival! Can a film festival get more ridiculous than this? If not for watching and enjoying, why else is a film festival (for cinefans) held?

Like the festivals I have participated in, and the way IFFI itself did it earlier, why can’t it permit us to view whatever and however much we want to? Follow the first-come-first-served policy. Once the hall is full, close the doors; let the later-comers view whatever is available to them on the menu, next. But restricting viewings is  irrational, and brings disrepute to a country already facing the heat for its ‘don’t see’, ‘don’t speak’, ‘don’t eat’, ‘don’t go with xyz’, etc. totalitarian policies.

The overall feel of IFFI, this year was melancholic – thanks to Narendra Modi’s hitting in our stomachs with his demonitisation; people don’t have money. Hence, very few people. Then, like the very melancholic feel of many of the films, there was a very dull, pessimistic feeling at the poor organisation of IFFI. Frad Sayb (St Francis Xavier), pray for us!


One thought on “Sombre mood at IFFI-2016

  1. You have been kind in your criticism Fr.!

    This year I was there for the entire duration (which was cut short to 8, for reasons best known to them!) and noticed the drastic decline in quality, which has been happening year on year! If last year was bad, this year just took it 10 levels lower. As a visitor from the last 5 years, I feel the best was when I was in first year MCMS.

    Most screenings this year ran to less than 40% occupancy. There were hardly any stalls in the courtyard. More of commercial pop-cult movies being screened, very few film industry people visiting, scheduling mistakes, confused volunteers, ticketing hassles, the so-called rush queue, tickets getting invalidated 5 mins prior to screening and other administrative faults all added up to create one incredibly miserable show. Overall, the festive atmosphere was missing.

    While the crowd was sparse during the first 3 days, I stayed back in the hopes that the crowd would increase over the weekend. However, the opposite happened, as the few who were there also left. During the last 2 days, there were hardly a couple of hundred people, with the occupancy levels of screens going down as low as 5 to 10%! (20 to 50 people in the theatre).

    Political interference is also evident, with the film guide (the books in the kit) printed predominantly in Hindi, with a small synopsis in English at the bottom. An entire section dedicated to Swacch Bharat, and unneccesary slides prior to screening of all movies. Talks were also heard of certain scenes being censored/cut-out to suit the Indian sensibilities, which undermines the spirit of even having a film festival.

    Huge amounts from the budget were spent on the inaugural and closing ceremony which is ironically not open to the delegates, instead of being spent for better organization of the festival. Even in the decorations, they have cut a lot of corners (but would surely have inflated the bills when showing the expenditure). There were also reports of financial mismanagement and a court case regarding the tender process prior to the start of the festival.

    If this continues, the future of IFFI is certainly at stake as the number of foreign delegates was abysmally low this year.

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