IFFI Goa - 200-film fiesta begins

The International Film Festival of India (IFFI) started Tuesday with delegates, film enthusiasts and students getting ready for a fiesta of 200 films and 400 screenings spread over 10 days at its new permanent venue in this coastal state.

After an evening of extravagant floats, cultural programmes and official speeches that marked the inauguration of the 35th film festival Monday evening, it was back to the business of watching an eclectic selection of cinema as the festival kicked off in real earnest.

The entries include films categorised under various sections -- Asian competition, cinema of the world, Indian and foreign retrospectives, tributes, the Indian panorama and mainstream Indian cinema.

Award-winning director Mani Ratnam is the chair of the Asian competition section, which will also be judged by German filmmaker Florian Gallenberger, Egyptian actor Mahmoud Kabil, Italian director Irene Bignardi and Senegalese director Moussa Sena Absa.

Fifteen films from 10 countries take part in the Asian competition section.

The 'cinema of the world' section will feature 60 films from 40 countries. Films being premiered here include "Finding Neverland" by Marc Forster, "The Forgotten" by Joseph Ruben and the much talked about "The Incredibles".

Special screenings are also scheduled of two new Indian films - "Hari Om" by Ganapathy Bharat and "Chai Pani" by Manu Rewal. Five films by tennis star-turned-Hollywood producer Ashok Amritraj will be screened, including the Indian premiere of his "Raising Helen".

Italian veteran Vittorio Gassman, known as the 'Olivier of Italy', who died in 2000, gets a special homage with six films being screened.

Burkino Faso director Jean-Marie Gaston, known for bringing African oral tradition to the screen, has a special section with four films. Polish actor, director, professor and director Jerzy Sturh also has four films of his being screened.

Another special feature is the screening of five films from Portugal, the former colonial ruler in Goa with whom cultural and other links have largely been cut-off after the sudden and bitter end to colonial rule here in 1961.

Besides including an eclectic selection of the best in international cinema, 21 feature and 20 non-feature films will also be screened at the festival in the Indian panorama section. Twelve more come up in the mainstream Indian cinema section.

Special tributes are being paid to Indian stars of yesteryears, including Yash Johar, Nargis Dutt, Mehmood, Soundarya, Vijay Anand, Bhabendra Nath Saikia, for the 50th anniversary of Satyajit Ray's classic "Pather Panchali" and the 75th anniversary of the Prabhat Film Company.