OTTs to make their debut on International Film Festival of India

The International Film Festival of India (IFFI) for the first time will host films, shows and masterclasses by key streaming platforms — Netflix, Amazon Prime, Zee5, Voot and SonyLIV. The film festival is scheduled to be held from November 20 to 28 in Goa.

American filmmaker Martin Scorsese, one of the most influential directors in the world, along with critically acclaimed Hungarian director Istvan Szabo, will be conferred the Satyajit Ray Lifetime Achievement Award at the festival, Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur said. Ministry officials said that both the directors have been invited to receive the award in person but there is no confirmation from them on it. A total of 22 international guests have confirmed their presence.

According to the tentative plan, Netflix has agreed to host a virtual masterclass by Gobelins –School L’ image, Paris and by other international experts. Netflix has proposed the India premiere of ‘The Power of the Dog’ by Jane Campion, a film that had its world premiere at the 78th Venice International Film. A special screening of film ‘Dhamaka’, and Aranyak’, a crime thriller series starring Raveena Tandon, Ashutosh Rana are on the cards.

Apart from a dedicated “Satyajit Ray” package, Amazon is considering sponsorship opportunities for IFFI in the various categories, such as on-ground advertising, social media promotions, social influencers support. Actors Manoj Bajpayee, and Samantha Akkineni of the popular web series “The Family Man’ will be present for the inaugural ceremony. Sony LIV is expected to hold masterclasses by makers of Scam 1992 and Maharani. Zee5 is likely to host a round table discussion featuring filmmakers Nitish Tiwari, Akarsh Khurana and Rakesh Omprakash Mehra.

Thakur said Indian content on OTT has contributed to increasing the understanding about the country, and that during the lockdown when cinema halls shut down many filmmakers moved to OTT platforms. “We also decided to embrace this change and take the step in the right direction. Films made especially for OTT platforms will be showcased at the festival,” he said. He said that the OTT space created many jobs in the country and the government was open to addressing any challenges that OTT platforms face. “India’s wide variety of stories rightly makes us the ‘content subcontinent’,” he remarked.

Spanish film The King of All the World will be the opening film. The festival will also pay a special tribute to Sean Connery, the first actor to portray fictional British secret agent James Bond on the big screen. The jury for the international competition section is headed by Iranian filmmaker Rakhshan Banietemad.

Thakur also said 75 young aspiring filmmakers will receive masterclasses from industry experts, and around 30 films have been shortlisted for screening in the Festival Kaleidoscope and World Panorama sections.


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