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IFFI for Goans not a blockbuster

Though the region has a huge fan following for art, culture, music and drama, IFFI still struggles to strike a chord with the local community.

IFFI, IFFI 2015, IFFI goa, IFFI in goa, IFFI 2015 in goa, IFFI 2015 goa, IFFI news, IFFI films, international film festival, international film festival goa, entertainment news For Goa this is the twelfth time to plays host to IFFI so the locals at Panaji market are unperturbed by such sights and sounds whereas a few early birds arriving during the state’s tourist season shoot pictures next to the thermocol artwork at the IFFI venue.

Just opposite the famous boulevard adjacent to the captain of ports in Panjim, is the Entertainment Society of Goa (ESG), headquarters to the International Film Festival of India ( IFFI). Barely a day before this year’s film festival begins, a polytone of Raj Kappor’s `Jeena yaha marna yaha’ plays as few contract workers and their boss discuss the temporary placement of the vinyl kiosk so that it doesn’t affect pedestrian movement.

For Goa this is the twelfth time to plays host to IFFI so the locals at Panaji market are unperturbed by such sights and sounds whereas a few early birds arriving during the state’s tourist season shoot pictures next to the thermocol artwork at the IFFI venue.

Though the region has a huge fan following for art, culture, music and drama in Hindi, Konkani, Marathi, English, Portuguese, IFFI still struggles to strike a chord with the local community. In contrast, at the state government’s very own Tiatr Academy, audiences pour in for musical drama shows day after day making the Academy financially independent through such loyal patronage.

An ESG official dismisses the comparison: the Tiatre Academy has 120 year old history and is deeply-rooted in Goan leisure culture whereas IFFI is just 11 years old. Moreover, despite being declared a permanent destination for IFFI, the seating capacity during the film festival at present is limited of 2538 seats divided over seven screens show. Once the IFFI secretariat (for which the state government has allocated Rs. 25 crore) is completed at Dona Paula in 2018, `we can cater to a much larger audience and conduct the festival at the level of Cannes or Toronto’, he adds.

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The film festival’s larger than life size and exclusivity may be intimidating to the local community, and people in Goa have limited offline access to IFFI. “Besides, few who’s who of arts and theater manage to get passes other than ministers and the media so there is not much enthusiasm of locals ,” adds a local journalist.

Critics also point to the skyrocketing cost of delegate entree fee at IFFI — hiked from the previous Rs.300 per day to Rs. 1,000 for the 10-day movie fest — as a major impediment for genuine movie-lovers.

As a part of outreach effort to connect with the local audience the IFFI will be screening six-Konkani movies during the festival as well as rolling out a display vehicle called ‘Movie Talkies’ which will broadcast select movies played at IFFI. A few of the Indian movies will also play close to the venue at Azad Maidan for the local audience.

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IFFI will try to promote itself as an added tourist attraction especially for domestic travellers. However, this might difficult: of the 40,58,226 in Goa in 2014, the delegate participation at IFFI barely crossed five digits (13,000 and counting). IFFI defends itself saying that despite not making any direct impact, the very presence of international celebrities in Goa indirectly translates into their endorsement of the state’s brand name. “Media mostly highlights positive stories of personalities their stay, experience, lifestyle in Goa – which does publicize the state’s tourism portfolio to a wider audience and encourages them to pay a visit,” says an IFFI official.

As per current estimates, 13,000 delegates (including invitees) have registered for the festival which is a marginal increase from the previous year’s online registration of 12,755 delegates.

First published on: 19-11-2015 at 03:02:31 pm
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