New Delhi | British film "Catching Dust" will open the 54th International Film Festival of India (IFFI), to be held in Goa from November 20 to 28, Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting Anurag Thakur announced on Monday.
American film "The Featherweight" will be the closing title, whereas Turkish film "About Dry Grasses" will be the midfest movie, the minister said at the curtain raiser press conference of IFFI here.
When it comes to film production, India is recognised as the biggest producer in the world, said Thakur.
"India has emerged as a major power in the field of cinema. India's media and entertainment industry is a force to be reckoned with the ranking as the fifth largest market growth and this market is growing with each passing year.
"In the last three years, it ranks at 20 per cent growth annually. Our industry stands as a beacon of innovation and creativity, reaching every corner of the country and now cutting across the boundaries reaching every nook and corner of the world. If your content has power, it can quickly become from regional to national to international," the minister told reporters.
This year, the ministry announced the addition of a new award category to the film extravaganza that will be presented to a web series for its "artistic merit, storytelling excellence, technical prowess and overall impact".
Both the number of OTT platforms and the production of homegrown content has increased in the country, added Thakur.
"Content ranging over thousands of hours is being produced in India, which in turn is generating employment opportunities. This content is also a source of entertainment. In response to the dynamic landscape of the entertainment and OTT sector, which stands at 28 per cent annually, we have introduced the best web series OTT award," he said.
A total of 32 entries across 10 languages from 15 OTT platforms have been selected for the inaugural best web series award, added Thakur. The winning series will receive a certificate and a cash prize of Rs 10 lakh.
Fifteen titles are vying for the Golden Peacock award, given to the best film award winner which will receive Rs 40 lakh as cash prize.
Hollywood star Michael Douglas, who will be honoured with the Satyajit Ray Lifetime Achievement Award at IFFI, will also sit down for a masterclass session.
IFFI will also fete world premieres of seven films across languages which have been restored by the collective efforts of the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) and National Film Archive of India (NFAI).
These include Bengali film "Vidyapati" (1937), Marathi film "Shyamchi Aai" (1953), Telugu film "Patala Bhairavi" (1951), Hindi films "Haqeeqat" (1964) and "Guide" (1965) in the birth centenary year of veteran actor Dev Anand, Bengali film "Chorus" (1974), and Hindi movie "Bees Saal Baad" (1962).
Three international restorations are also part of the segment.
A total of 20 films from 11 countries have been selected for the 17th edition of the Film Bazaar, the co-production market event held on the sidelines of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI). The conclave will take place at Marriott Resort in Goa from November 20 to 24.
To nurture the upcoming visual effects industry in Indian cinema, a special VFX & Tech Pavilion will be set up at the Film Bazaar where stalls will showcase latest technology and help filmmakers explore the possibilities of storytelling.
A special section has been created to make the festival an inclusive and accessible avenue for everyone and ensure "Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Manoranjan".
For the visually impaired, films "Sirf Ek Bandaa Kaafi Hai" and "Shershaah" will be made available with embedded audio descriptions. Movies "83" and "Bhaag Mikha Bhaag" will have embedded sign language for the hearing impaired.
Option of multiple language dubs will be available, including for some Indian Panorama Films.
The third edition of 75 Creative Minds, an initiative to identify, encourage, and nurture young creative talents, will be held this year. Around 600 applications across 10 categories have been received.
Thakur said nodal officers have been appointed by the ministry to curb online piracy of movies under the Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill 2023.
"These nodal officers will serve at the ministry and the Central Board for Film Certification as well as at the regional centres. The Indian government is with the Indian film industry in your fight against piracy...
"We are moving in the direction to make India the 'vishwaguru' in the sector of films and entertainment. The 54th IFFI is an opportunity not only for the world, but also for India to create a new identity for itself," he added.
Asked if the ministry would like to shift the festival venue from Goa to any other state, say Tamil Nadu, Thakur said they would "look into" it if the state government shows interest in future.
Also present were Union Minister of State for I&B L Murugan; Prithul Kumar, joint secretary (films), I&B ministry, and IFFI festival director; Neerja Sekhar, additional secretary, I&B ministry, and Manish Desai, principal director general of Press Information Bureau (PIB).