The International Film Festival of India (IFFI) which kickstarts in Goa today, may have seen a cut down in budgets, but organisers say that quality films and foreign participation will make up for the austerity.
Last year Rs 11 crore was spent on the event, but this time it has been brought down drastically to around 5 crores, Goa CM Digamber Kamat, who also chairs the Entertainment Society of Goa, the co-host for IFFI, said.
The IFFI will be inaugurated in the capital city of Panaji by veteran actress Waheeda Rehman in the presence of dignitaries including I&B minister Ambika Soni. Kamat said that this time more emphasis was on garnering sponsorship rather than spending from the state coffers, adding that this time the focus was on the films, with the peripheral activities being cut down.
Directorate of Film Festival (DFF), which has hosted the festival since its inception, said that the event has always been low on budget as compared to other international film festivals.
Its not just this year. Earlier also, we were not spending a huge amount on the guests. Those who are invited at the cost of organisers are paid economy class ticket and not many facilities are provided to them.
They come for the love of cinema and we admire that, director of film SM Khan said. He, however, admitted that austerity, which has been a buzzword countrywide, was indeed the catchword for the festival too. We are not hiring an event management agency, we will be doing that on our own, which will save us money, Khan explained.
ESG CEO, Manoj Srivastava, said that last year, the sponsorship amount was to the tune of Rs 75 lakh, which will now cross Rs 1 crore this year. Despite financial hindrance, the organisers said that foreign participation is on a rise, this year. The IFFI 2009 will have special Continent Focus in which films from Latin American countries would be screened, Khan said.
Movies from Peru, Columbia, Brazil, Mexico and Argentina will be screened in this section and renowned film personalities from the countries including Oscar winning actor Sir Ben Kingsley, Wajtek Saarzowski and Zanussi, will walk the festival red carpet.
"This is for the first time that we are having special focus on LA films. We also want Indian movies to be promoted in LA where so far only Hollywood movies are popular, Khan added. The festival will showcase 300 films from around 50 countries.