Sunday, July 24, 2011

Centre sets up Iffi secretariat in Goa

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PANAJI: The International Film Festival of India(Iffi) has called Goa home for its past six editions. However, apprehensions have been raised regarding Goa's Status as the permanent festival venue. 

Allaying fears, Shankar Mohan, director of the newly created Iffi secretariat in Goa, told TOI "this is all speculation". 

"Such decisions are only taken at the highest level, between the Union ministry of information and broadcasting and the Goa government," he added. 

"If Goa was not to be the permanent venue anymore, then why would the Centre set up this secretariat?" Mohan pointed out. 

The independent secretariat - functioning from the old GMC complex - has been set up by the government of India as a special purpose vehicle (SPV) for the festival and will look after all its aspects. With this move, the directorate of film festivals (DFF) has been delinked from the organization of Iffi. 

Sources in the entertainment society of Goa (ESG) revealed that for the first time, the Union ministry of tourism is venturing into promoting the festival. From August onwards, Iffi 2011 will be promoted alongside the Incredible India campaign. With ESG aiming to create a mass connect by taking the festival to new cities and audiences, Ravindra Bhavan in Margao will host the Iffi 2011 opening ceremony. The PWD is currently renovating the venue, which will also host daily film screenings. The closing ceremony will be held in Kala Academy, Panaji. 

The number of delegates from Goa is rising, say officials. Last year around 2,500 out of the 8,000 odd delegates at the festival were from Goa and this year the number is expected to grow further. 

But is the ESG equipped to handle the delegate surge? For the moment, seating capacity is enough for an increase of three or four thousand delegates, the official reassures. 

All ticketing for the festival will also be decentralized with 10 ticketing counters planned across Goa for booking as well as cancellation of tickets. 

E-ticketing is being tightened this year. Barcode scanners at entry points will ensure anyone printing an e-ticket and not attending the show will be barred for the next two days. The ESG is stressing on having only one schedule for Iffi 2011, to prevent recurrence of delegate difficulties in getting copies of the film schedule. 

Iffi 2011 should also see the revival of private theatres screening foreign films for public against tickets. Such screenings were prevalent when the festival was being held Dehli, but had stopped when it shifted to Goa. 

The short film centre will also continue, despite calls from certain quarters for it's scrapping. The memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the ESG and the ministry of information and broadcasting is expected to be signed soon. 

Entries for Indian panorama section will be accepted from August 8 and selections will conclude by September. By October 31 everything should be complete, the official added. 

The official Iffi guide will be in a magazine form this edition, and provide information on the heritage, arts, culture, life, and cuisine of Goa. 

The official disclosed that the budget for Iffi 2011 is 7.35 crore and most sponsorship arrangements - which have grown over Iffi 2010 - are already in place. 


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