Goa, Nov. 23: The 40th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) - 2009 was inaugurated today in a star studded function held at Kala Academy, Panaji, Goa. The legendary Film Actress Waheeda Rehman inaugurated the Festival with the symbolic lighting of the lamp helped by actress Asin and Nana Patekar as special guests in the august presence of the Chief Minister of Goa, Shri Digambar V. Kamat and the Union Minister of Information & Broadcasting, Smt. Ambika Soni. The International Jury headed by Brazilian Director Joao Batista de Andrade along with other members of the jury - Vic Sarin (Canada), Kenichi Okubu (Tokyo), Sarika (India) and Jean-Michel Frodon (France) were felicitated at the opening ceremony. Noted Film makers Gurinder Chadha, Nonzee Nimibutr and Roland Reber attended the inaugural function. Among the Indian film fraternity notable among those who attended the function included Shri Muzaffar Ali, Chairman, Feature Film Jury, Indian Panorama. The Secretary, Ministry of I&B, Government of India, Shri Raghu Menon, Chief Secretary, Government of Goa, Shri Sanjay Srivastava and Vice-Chairman, Entertainment Society of Goa, Shri Filipe Neri Rodrigues were also present on the occasion.
The Chief Minister of Goa, Shri Digambar V. Kamat said Goa is proud to host the country’s premier Film Festival. Shri Kamat noted that new sections at this 40th edition of the International Film Festival of India – the ‘T20’ of cinema and ‘Goa, a celluloid destination’ would add another facet to the Festival. He noted that Goa is already getting popular as a film shooting destination and added that it would be his endeavour to provide all facilities for film making in Goa so as to encourage all young Goans to take up film making as a profession.
The Union Minister of Information & Broadcasting, Smt. Ambika Soni in her inaugural address said that films have an enduring fascination for people across countries and all ages. The magic of cinema has the capacity to enthrall people enough to make Cinema an intrinsic part of our daily life. She said the Indian film industry is one of the most vibrant sectors in the world and also the most prolific in terms of its volume of production. Smt. Soni emphasized that it is her vow to make IFFI among the best and the most admired film festivals of the world.
The Union Minister announced that the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India would soon constitute a Committee of experts, consisting of eminent personalities, to recommend wide ranging measures that will make IFFI a truly world class event. “Our time line is to implement suitable changes by IFFI 2010”, she declared. The Minister added that IFFI belongs to all film lovers and invited all well wishers of IFFI to send their suggestions to the Ministry for the consideration of this Committee. “To see IFFI stand tall as one of the best International Film Festivals in the world is my vision, my goal”, the Minister stated.
The Director, Directorate of Film Festivals, Shri S. M. Khan in his welcome address informed that IFFI 2009 in its “Cinema of the World” section will showcase more than 55 films from around 47 countries. Croatia, Estonia, Italy, and Poland are participating in the 40th IFFI as the Focus Countries of the Film Festival. The Indian Section at IFFI – 2009, under nine different segments, will screen 77 films. The Indian Panorama would present a bouquet of 44 films, 26 feature films and 18 non-feature films. Shri Khan welcomed the eminent film personalities and the diplomats from Indonesia, Brazil, Italy, Portugal, Austria and Germany to participate in the 11-day mega film event and enjoy the Goan hospitality.
The Chinese historical drama “Wheat” (MAI TIAN) directed by He Ping was screened at the opening ceremony. The well choreographed colourful rendition of the ensemble of classical dance forms from Tamil Nadu, Manipur, Kerala and Gujarat presented by the Kalashetra Troupe directed by Leela Samson entertained the audience.
The IFFI-2009 in its various sections would be screening nearly 300 films across 10 Auditoria and three preview rooms in the cities of Panaji and Margao in Goa. The interesting poster exhibition, workshops, seminars as also the Film Bazaar would be held on the sidelines of the Festival.