Has Goa's hosting of the 43rd international film festival of India (Iffi) been better or worse than the previous editions it has staged?
STOI spoke to festival delegates to gauge the performance by the hosts with most saying that much more can be done to make Iffi better.While Indian cinema celebrating its centenary year of existence gave an added impetus to the 43rd edition of the Iffi, Goan filmmaker Rajendra Talak said, "The quality of films was not up to the mark. The organization was better. But, the Entertainment society of Goa and the directorate of film festivals should have worked as one body. This is not a Delhi or Goa festival, it is India's festival. It was a wrong decision to drop the Short film centre. We need to provide a platform for the younger generation of filmmakers. We have the potential to be bigger than Cannes."
Recalling the festival days at its Delhi venue, Bhopal- based writer and film enthusiast Teji Grover stated that the "Organization at the Goa edition was incredible and the ambience artistic with online booking of passes and tickets making the whole process much less stressful." The writer did feel that there was no need for bestselling films to be screened at the festival as they are easily accessible.
Banker Sapna Shukla proffers that screening schedules should be displayed a week before the festival to give serious film viewers a chance to plan their viewing schedules.
Swedish journalist Maria Sandblad has attended the past three editions of the festival and has observed a "smoothening in organization", but scope for improvement in the selection of films.
"There were interesting discussions, but the festival needs more grown up films. The discussions were interesting and the festival inclusive," she said.
Sandblad and other delegates reiterated that the Short film centre was vital to the festival stating that it gave a platform for "young talent, newer approaches and off beat cinema."
Goan educationist Prabhakar Timble felt that while the organization of the festival had improved, Ravindra Bhavan in Margao should have been utilized to give an opportunity to more people to view films.
"It should not have been left untouched just because it was built by the previous government," he said.
Bengali film enthusiast Sharmila Bannerjee, who has been frequenting the festival for the past six years, opined that the festival included a good selection of films and stated that the ferry service between venues was a good idea.
"A new section titled 'Soul of Asia: Cinema and Mysticism' that focuses on the philosophies of Asia has been added to the festival. I am aware that there are hiccups in the festival and they will be attended to," said Iffi director Shankar Mohan, adding that suggestions and recommendations for a better Iffi would be welcome in the week following the conclusion of the festival. [TOI]