A Glittering Start to IFFI 2023
Madhuri Dixit honoured at the opening ceremony
Hike in Film Incentive for Foreign Films
Goa : It’s lights, action, and movies as the 54th edition of the International Film Festival of India rolled out the red carpet to welcome a galaxy of celebrities, film fraternity, and cinephiles from across the country and the world. IFFI has emerged as a sought-after filmnb2q festival on the global festival circuit with a whopping 2926 film submissions from 105 countries this year, three times more international submissions than last year.
Delegates can indulge in a curated selection of more than 270 movies, 13 world, 18 international, 62 Asian, and 89 Indian premieres. 15 feature films (12 International and three Indian films) vie for the coveted Golden Peacock Award and 32 entries from 15 OTT platforms for the Best Web Series (OTT) Award.
Every year, the opening ceremony gets bigger with a star-studded galaxy from across film fraternities in attendance. Highlighting the Government’s initiatives to catapult India as a global film destination, Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Anurag Thakur announced a special incentive to invite big budget international film productions in India.
The incentive for foreign film production has been enhanced from 30% to 40%. The incentive for foreign film production in the country stands today at 40 % of the expenses incurred with an increased cap limit of Rs. 30 crore (exceeding 3.5 million US Dollars) and an additional 5% percent bonus for Significant Indian Content (SIC). This step will give further impetus to India’s efforts to attract medium and big budget international film projects to the country.
The Incentives Scheme for the Production of Foreign Films was announced by India last year in Cannes, offering a reimbursement of up to 30% of the expenses incurred for film production in the country, capped at a figure of Rs 2.5 Crore.
Making the announcement in Goa, Shri Thakur said “this paradigm shift in incentivizing film production serves as a testament to India’s commitment and support for artistic expression and reinforces our position as a preferred destination for cinematic endeavors”.
International productions that have been granted shooting permission by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting and Ministry of External Affairs (for documentaries only) after 01.04.2022 will be eligible for this incentive scheme. The Incentives will be disbursed in two stage i.e. Interim and Final. The final disbursement claim can be made once the project is complete in India. Incentives will be provided on the recommendation of a Special Incentive Evaluation Committee. Film Facilitation Office (FFO) set up under the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) is executing this incentive scheme. FFO acts as a single-window facilitation and clearance mechanism that eases filming in India, as well as endeavoring to create a film-friendly ecosystem and promoting the country as a filming destination.
Along with the facts and achievements of Indian cinema, the Minister’s speech was jewelled with anecdotes from films and shared how movies impact film culture. Quoting, Anand from the film with the same name, ‘Babumoshai, zindagi badi honi chahiye, lambi nah,’ he added that IFFI provides a cinematic experience that is nothing short but grand.”
Touching upon the impact of cinema on society, he cited how the film ‘A Trip in the Moon’ made in 1902 boldly suggested the idea of space travel and India realized their dream with the Chandrayaan-3 mission to the moon this year. “It shows how the idea that could be conceptualized during a movie, but over a period of time, the Government starts thinking towards that side,” he said.
Highlighting the many firsts at the 54th edition, he mentioned the focus on 40 women filmmakers at the festival. He elaborated on the 75 Creative Minds initiative that received 600 entries from across the country this year. In a bid to protect the intellectual property of the creative fraternity, he noted the recent Cinematograph Amendment Bill 2023 that broadened the legal framework, shifting focus beyond censorship but also introduced vigorous measures against piracy.
Chief Minister of Goa, Dr, Pramod Sawant, welcomed all delegates to, ‘Goa’s beautiful seashores and calm hinterland.’ Speaking of cinema as a universal language that transcends boundaries, he said ‘it unites hearts, evokes a multitude of emotions, and reflects our dreams, struggles, and aspirations. It also serves as a catalyst for change prompting us to question, aspire for a better world,’ he added. Highlighting his Government’s commitment to promoting film, he mentioned the Entertainment Society of Goa has floated an expansion of interest for the proposed film city in the State. A first in the history of the festival, superstar Madhuri Dixit received a Special Recognition for her contribution to Bhartiya cinema. Sharing her memories onstage, she nostalgically recalled her first audition in Abodh for Rajeshree Productions.
Present at the opening ceremony were Karan Johar, Vijay Sethupathy, Divya Dutta, Jisshu Sengupta.
Additionally, Bollywood stars Shahid Kapoor, Shriya Saran, Nushratt Bharucha, Sara Ali Khan, Pankaj Tripathi, Shantanu Moitra, Shreya Ghoshal, and Sukhwinder Singh added to the stellar showcase of India’s best talent. The stars will continue to descend throughout the festival with the esteemed presence of Hollywood superstars Catherine Zeta-Jones, Salman Khan, Vidya Balan, Ayushmann Khurrana, Vicky Kaushal, Rani Mukherjee, Siddharth Malhotra, Aditi Rao Hydari, AR Rahman, and Amit Trivedi.