Curtains came down on the 39th International Film Festival of India today with the screening of Iranian film ‘The Song of the Sparrows’, directed by Majid Majidi. Director Sergei Dvortsevoy bagged the best film award with the Golden Peacock and a cash award of 40 lakh for the Kazakhstan film ‘Tulpan’. The Director also got the Most Promising Director Award for the film. The award comprises the Silver Peacock and a cash award of Rs. 15 lakh. Tulpan is a cinematic triumph that pulls us in a world where man can live in peace with nature said the citation. Dvortsevoy thanked the audience for sharing his very Kazakh but universal story. He said films cannot change the world but they can change people and people can change the world.
The Special Jury Award has gone to Sri Lankan actress Malini Fonseka whose film ‘Akasa Kusum’ featured in the Competition Section. The winner was presented a Silver Peacock, a cash prize of Rs. 15 lakh and a certificate. Fonseka said that her film was an India Sri Lanka co-production and the time has come for a closer relationship between the two countries. She also hoped for peace and happiness everywhere in these troubled times.
Five Member competition jury was headed by the noted Director from Hong Kong Mr. Peter Chan. Other members of the jury are Mr. Marco Mueller (Venice), Ms. Niki Karimi (Iran), Mr. Lav Diaz (Philippines) and Ms. Tabassum Hashmi (Tabu- India). Two Indian entries — S. Priyadarshan’s Tamil film “Kanchivaram” and Ramesh Laxman More’s acclaimed Marathi film “Mahasatta” —were in the “competition” section among 13 other films chosen from Bangladesh, Russia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Kazakhstan, Sri Lanka, Iran, the Philippines, Argentina, China and Japan.
Chief Guest at the closing ceremony was noted Film Actor Shri Kamal Hasan. Mr Hasan said that despite setbacks and dark moments normal life must go on. He congratulated the organizer for putting together such a rich collection of movies.
Chief Minister of Goa, Shri Digambar Kamat in his remarks said that IFFI 2008 was a landmark event. He said that Government of Goa is keen to develop the State as a hub of entertainment industry. He said that additional multiplexes and other facilities are being created in Mudgaon.
The Jury Chairperson Peter Chan said that the Jury process took them to the various cultures from the all the corners of globe. Decision was not easy but it was unanimous said the eminent director. Festival Director Shri S M Khan thanked all the individuals and organizations associated with the Festival for putting together a grand extravaganza. Mr. Khan said that the Festival condemns terrorism in all forms. Cinema has a great potential to stir the consciousness of human kind thus it has a great role to play. He also remembered the ailing Shri P. R. Dasmunsi for his contribution to IFFI and wished him a speedy recovery.
Joint Secretary (Films), Ministry of Information & Broadcasting , V.B.Pyarelal said that the Festival gave us an opportunity to experience the visual interpretation of the various facets of life. He said that the occupancy remained very high throughout the Festival as compared to last year.
The closing ceremony started with a minute of silence in memory of victims of recent terrorist attacks in Mumbai.
During the 11-day extravaganza, which began on November 22, with the screening of Peter Chan’s ‘Warlords’, A total of 185 movies were shown from 44 countries. Films from Russia, Switzerland and Iran were screened under Country Focus section. The films of Aki Kaurusmaki (Finland), John Landis (USA) and Wong Kar Wai (Hong Kong) were screened in Foreign Retrospective. 8 restored heritage film classics were included in the Film Heritage – Thematic “Women” section. Five films were shown in Film India Worldwide Besides there were special tributes to Niki Karimi and Peter Chan.
83 Indian movies including 47 in the Indian Panorama were screened. As Indian Panorama was screened twice there were total of 130 screening of Indian films under seven different segments. Besides the section Indian Panorama wherein 26 Feature and 21 Non Feature films were screened, Centenary tributes were paid to Bimal Roy, Devika Rani and L V Prasad. Under the Lifetime Classics, Dilip Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar, B. Saroja Devi and Tapan Sinha were screened. G. P. Sippy, B. R. Chopra, F. C. Mehra, Jayshree Gadkar, Raghuvaran, Mahendra Kapoor, Jeeva, Sridhar, Vijay Tendulkar and Nabendu Ghosh were paid tribute under Homage section. A talk by Ms. Kishwar Desai on ‘Devika Rani and Himanshu Rai: Globalization of early Indian Cinema’ was delivered. Taj Mahal: A Celluloid Journey screened four films based on Taj Mahal to showcase the monument. There was a section to commemorate 75 years of Kannada Cinema. Treasure from the National Film Archives were also showcased at the Festival.
During the course of the Festival besides film shows, a host of films-related events like Film Bazaar, Master Class and some seminars were also held to facilitate interaction and business meets in this sector. Short Film Centre, for the first time provided a platform to short filmmakers to promote the sector in the country.