Country Focus: Open Forum, Closing Session

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Country Focus: Open Forum, Closing Session
Country Focus:
China
I
FFI Goa 2014 is screening
nine Chinese films in the
Country Focus section. They
were released during 2012-14 and
include the top grossers of 2013,
Finding Mr. Right and American
Dreams in China. Finding Mr.
Right is reminiscent of Sleepless
and Seattle while American
Dreams in China is a comedy
drama that follows three school
friends into adulthood, as they
embark on international business
careers. Also in the package is
Out of the Inferno, a slick disaster
film obviously inspired by the
Hollywood classic, The Towering
Inferno. Silent Witness is an
uncharacteristic but engrossing
thriller, a style not commonly
seen in Chinese films. Another
film that had cinephiles talking
was The Great Hypnotist, a
lavishly mounted project about a
famous hypnotist who runs into
a tough female patient, and how
their relationship takes a highly
unusual twist. The directors
whose work is showcased in this
section are Peter Ho Sun-Chan,
Gao Qunshu, Chen Kaige (of
Farewell My Concubine fame),
Charlie Yeung, Jing Wang, Xue
Xiaolu, Leslie Chen, Taiwan-
born Leste Chen, the Pang
brothers Danny and Oxide (this
is not a typographical error) and
Fei Xing.
Battling serious censorship
issues, Chinese films are
nowadays experimenting with
genres that were unheard of in
that country, till a few years ago.
Jiang Wen’s 2010 movie, Let the
Bullets Fly, attempted to invent
the Chinese Western. It was
about a bandit who poses as the
mayor of a remote Chinese town.
Last year China overtook Japan
to become the second-largest
film market after America, with
box-office receipts of around
17 billion RMB ($2.8 billion).
Enormous IMAX screens and
3D films are the rage. Today
there are around 18,000, screens.
Yet, as is the norm in many
countries, most Chinese movies
lose money. What is worse is
that only about 25% make it to
Open Forum, Closing Session
C
ompliments, suggestions and
grievances surfaced in almost
equal measure yesterday at the
closing session of the closing session
of the Open Forum, which had the
luxury of an air-conditioned enclosure
this year--IDPA, member of various
committees at IFFI 2014), eminent
film-maker Shaji Karun (member,
several
committees),
directorcinematographer A.K. Bir (Chairman
of the Technical Committee, IFFI
and Indian Panorama Selection Jury
and member of various committees),
Rajan Satardekar (Entertainment
Society of Goa CEO) and Goa’s
own film-director Rajendra Talak
(executive council member of IFFI
2014.
Mike Pandey set the ball
rolling by enunciating a theme for
discussion: Has IFFI come of age in
Goa? He declared that queues were
less chaotic this year, cleanliness has
improved and the foreign delegates
he interacted with were satisfied
with the selection of films. But he did
lament the lack of screening facilities
in the INOX courtyard for the
IDPA and the Films Division stalls.
These two bodies could not attract
delegates without being able to show
them their work. Shaji complimented
IFFI for showing as many as 26 films
in the Indian Panorama, including
several world premieres, a rarity at
any festival.
Bir was delighted to find such large
numbers of cineastes sensing, feeling,
watching, and being with, cinema
for so many days. He felt that the
success of IFFI was due to the human
touch, since this is what makes good
cinema too. In this connection, he
recalled the human approach the late
director Lord Richard Attenborough
had while shooting Gandhi, in which
Bir was the Indian cameraman (the
other unit had a British cameraman)
in order to bring out the best in the
unit.
Satardekar said he was aware of
some glitches and flaws and would
look forward to responses to the
group email he would be sending out
to the attendees, post factum, to get
theatres, and thanks to piracy,
there is no legitimate DVD
market. In this scenario, it is
heartening to learn last year that
Wang Jianlin, China’s richest
man, would build the world’s
largest film-studio complex, for
an estimated $8.2 billion. To gain
a foothold in China, Hollywood
studios are helping finance films
or co-producing them. Gone
with the Bullets has backing
from Sony, and DreamWorks has
set up Oriental Dreamworks.
During the 1930s, China
had a thriving independent film
industry centered in Shanghai,
and it operated with relatively
little
interference.
Private
studios were dissolved after the
Japanese occupied Shanghai in
1937. When the Communist
Party came to power in 1949, it
recognized that movies could
be useful. Government studios
made propaganda films, and took
detailed feedback. He urged everyone
to take the time and effort to provide
their feedback. Talak estimated the
improvement over 2013 as 25% and
found less adverse criticism this year.
Urging all Indians to treat the event
as a national one, he said that he
would support the proposal to keep
some seats reserved for media, just
as some seats are reserved for VIPs,
at every show.
The discussion then shifted to
the proposed IFFI complex near the
National Institute of Oceanography.
A suggestion was made that budget
accommodation should be provided
within the new complex, especially
to freelance journalists, who are
very poorly paid and can ill afford to
spend the huge amounts required to
cover IFFI. Prominent publications
and TV channels foot the bills of
their representatives, but freelancers,
who contribute up to 80% of writing
on cinema in India, get no such
benefits. Pandey, Satardekar and
Talak said they would look into this
issue too. Asked why the media was
denied entry into the VIP lounge
at INOX, the best place where it
could interact with personalities for
reports and stories, Talak said that
some of the invitees wanted privacy.
But he, Pandey and Bir all agreed
that an interface room should be
available where the media and their
subjects could meet and interact.
Siraj Syed
mobile projectors to rural areas
to ensure they reached millions.
Cinema tickets were given out
at work, and attendance was
compulsory. Independent filmmaking resumed in the 1970s.
The Chinese film that made
waves in the West lately was A
Touch of Sin, by Jia Zhangke—a
dark film about modern China
that won the award for best
screenplay at Cannes last year.
The government banned it from
cinemas, and journalists were not
allowed to interview Jia. In spite
of vast leaps in quality the last
25 years or so, only one Chinese
film has won the Palme d’Or at
Cannes--Chen Kaige’s Farewell
My Concubine, way back in
1993—which was banned in
China at the time. Incidentally,
The Old Barber, directed by Lin
Chih Ju, won the Golden Peacock
at IFFI 2006.
Siraj Syed
THE CLOSING FILM
T
he Grandmaster (China / Chinese / 2013 /
130 minutes / Color) , the closing film of the
ongoing IFFI, Goa ,directed by Wong Kar –Wai,
who is also being conferred with the coveted Life Time
Achievement Award this year, stars Zhang Ziyi, Chang
Chen, Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Song Hye – Kyo, Wong
Hing – Cheung and Julian Cheung Chilam. The film
produced by Wong Kar – Wai and Jacky Pang Yee Wah,
is an epic action feature film inspired by the life and
times of the legendary kung fu master, Ip Man.
The story spans the tumultuous Republican Era
that followed the fall of China’s last dynasty, a time of
chaos, division and war that was also the golden age of
Chinese martial arts. Kung Fu is divided into northern
and southern schools, but should a country be divided
alike? Only the most talented and noble person should
become the leader of all the Kung fu practitioners.
Born in Shangai in 1958, director Wong Kar – Wai
moved to Hong Kong in 1963. He studied graphic design
in Hong Kong Polytechnic until 1980 and subsequently
worked as a production assistant and assistant director
for TV. Between 1982 and 1987, he wrote screenplays
for director Patrick Tam. In 1988, he debuted as a
director with As Tears Go By. In 1997 he won the Best
Director Award for Happy Together at the Cannes Film
Festival. Fallen Angels, Chungking Express, Ashes of
Time, In the Mood for Love and 2046 are among his
most notable films.
02
IFFI | November 30, 2014
All about a Dwarf Couple
and a Thousand Rupee Note
TODAY’S
APPOINTMENTS
CLOSING CEREMONY
The closing ceremony of the 45th IFFI Goa 2014 will be held
at Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Indoor Stadium, Dona Paula at
4.00 p.m followed by the screening of the closing film The
Grandmaster directed by Wong Kar – Wai. The film will be
screened at Kala Academy at 7.00 p.m on 30th Nov, 2014
immediately after the closing function and also at Inox – 1
at 7.30 p.m on 30th Nov, 2014.
SIDELIGHTS OF IFFI
K
aushik Ganguly, director of
the Bengali film ‘Chhotoder
Chhobi said that his film is a
simple love story of a dwarf couple,
Khoka and Soma, who dreams
of making another family again
knowing all the troubles they face.
He added that it is one of those films
that open up the heart and the mind.
“Dwarfs are very commonly called
‘jokers’ and are the butt of jokes. My
film looks beyond this common and
cruel misconception. Vamana Avatar
(a dwarf) is described in the Puranas
as the fifth avatar of Lord Vishnu.
So why make a mockery of them?
I feel that they (dwarfs) are socially
challenged, and noticed people
ridiculing and even abusing them on
the streets. Personally, they feel very
unhappy with themselves and always
dread the idea of marriage and what
if the new born child has physical
characteristics of the parents.”
Kaushik continued. “As a child
one talks, plays, studies, grows
up and works. We fall in love, get
married and nurture our children.
As we grow old, we retire from our
work and one day we get retired
from our life. Even ‘they’ do the
same. Still, what we do is considered
normal and whatever ‘they’ do is
funny. At times we even ridicule
them. I was moved that after the
screening of the film in IFFI 2014,
the people looked at them in awe,
and some of them even cuddled
them. It was an emotional moment
the moment of jubilation”.
The team of ‘Ek Hazarachi Note’
comprising of the director Shrihari
Sathe and the veteran actress of
Marathi Cinema, Usha Naik.said
that their film revolves around
Parobudhi, a poor old woman of a
remote village of the Vidarbha region
of Maharashtra. On learning that the
unfortunate old lady’s young son (a
farmer) had committed suicide, a
politician presses a few of the 1000
Rupee notes in her hands. But fate
has something else in store for her.
When she wishes to buy a gift for
her adopted son, the shop-keeper
suspects how a high denomination
currency note found its way in
this old, poor lady’s possession. He
summons a local policeman who
hauls her up.
Talking about her role, Usha Naik
who plays the role of the old lady,
said, “The film is about the ordeals
she experiences at the cop station, it
is a touching film and more so the old
lady’s character and I wouldn’t mind
declaring that the 1000 Rupee note
is the heroine of the film.”. Shrihari
remarked, “Even in present times,
there are numerous folks in the
remotest parts of India, who could
have never have seen a currency note
of such high denomination.” The film
was shot near Amravati in Vidharbha
region and its dialogues are in
Varadhi, a dialect of Marathi spoken
in that region of Maharashtra.
Paresh B. Mehta
STAR BROTHERS IN THE FRAY
It is interesting to note that two real life brothers
are in the fray in the Indian Panorama of the ongoing
IFFI in Goa with their own Malayalam films as actors.
They are Fahadh Faasil, who is the lead inn North 24
Kaadham directed by Anil Radhakrishnan Menon and
Farhaan Faasil, who plays the lead in the Malayalam film
Njaan Steve Lopez, directed by Rajeev Ravi. Incidentally,
both Fahadh, who is a very popular young actor in
Malayalam films and Farhaan who is his younger
brother are the sons of the eminent filmmaker Faasil. In
Malayalam films, the dynasty rule prevails in the form
of star brothers. Prithviraj Sukumaran, who is a very
popular young star working in mainstream films and
has been seen in Hindi films like Aiyya and Aurangzeb
only to vanish thereafter, whereas his younger brothers
Indrajeet Sukumaran prefers to be part of art house
films in Malayalam.
MAMMOOTY’S SON FIGURES IN NJAAN WHILE
MAMMOOTTY IS IN MUNNARIYIPPU
Mammootty is part of the Malayalam film
Munnariyippu directed by Venu whereas which is one of
the films in the Indian Panorama section, while his son
Dulquer Salman is the leading man in the Malayalam
film Njaan, directed by Ranjith which is also figuring
in the Indian Panorama section of the ongoing IFFI in
Goa. While Mammootty has been teamed with senior
actors like Nedumudi Venu and Pratap Pothan in
Munnariyippu, his son Dulqer has been teamed with
Renji Panicker and Joy Mathew in Njaan.
J.V.
IFFI | November 30, 2014
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IFFI | November 30, 2014
05
Children Of War Floors IFFI Delegates
M
rityunjay Devrat has
made a very heart
touching directorial
debut film named Children of
War based around the 1971
Bangladesh Liberation War. A
special screening of the film was
held towards the concluding
phase of IFFI Goa 2014. The
delegates who saw the film
were totally floored by the
film. Sharing his experience
of making the film Mruunjay
Devrat recalled, “My film
Children of war is like a journey
of struggle for justice for the
victims of the 1971 Bangladesh
Liberation War. The perpetrators
of this crime are still at large. It’s
almost been forty two years but
it seems the issue of catching
the wrongdoers is brushed aside
time and again. So it is just our
humble effort to seek justice.
They say that the perpetrators
of crimes can never go scot
free. Just as in the case of Ajmal
Kasab, the man responsible for
Mumbai’s terror massacre was
ultimately caught. I have tried to
depict the inhuman tragedy as
best as possible but not without
a long, arduous and detailed
research. In my opinion it is
an exceptionally vivid work on
the wages of war. This happens
to be a very irrational, blood
soaked Pakistan of 1971 when
Bangladesh was born out of
the most horrific violence
perpetrated against humanity,
an inhuman act which has ever
taken place in the history of
wars.”
Seconding
Mrityunjay’s
thoughts was the producer
Soumya Joshi Devrat, “The
1971 Bangladesh Liberation
War was the worst case of
genocide than even Bhagalpur
incident. Just imagine the
scenario. In one of the many
mind -numbing images in this
exceptionally vivid work on
the war, the back of a truck
is jolted open and out fall
women one on top of another
at a Pakistani prisoner camp
for Bangladeshi women run by
a despicable tyrant who could
be the Nazi mass murderer,
who believes that if Pakistani
soldiers rape and impregnate
enough Bangaldeshi women,
the separatists and the freedom
Indians worship many Gods
A
merican psychotherapist cum
director Steven Newmark’s
fascination for India in particular
and Buddhism religion in general
drew him to make a documentary
film in India especially for the western
audiences .“I made an enlightening
documentary titled Adventures of an
American Yogi, especially to remove
the misconceptions of the western
people about India, her people and her
religious traditions pertaining to their
religious beliefs as the Indians worship
many Gods while in the West people
follow only the religion of Christianity.
To understand this myth, I decided to
explore the Indian continents along
with my wife. We visited India in the
year 1981 to understand the spiritual
traditions of India”, he told the media
addressing a press conference yesterday.
Talking about the documentary
scenario, Steven Newmark stated, “The
documentary Adventures of an American
Yogi is an amalgamation of three acts
which tries to resolve the Westerner’s
misconceptions about the Indians. The
narrative opens with the first act depicting
my adventures of walking a spiritual path
in the west, and beginning a journey
through the sixties and meeting Ram Dass
with his Indian Guru, Maharaj-ji. Ram
Dass had written about in his landmark
book “Be Here Now” which in turn had
fueled a widespread interest in Eastern
philosophy amongst the youngsters in the
70’s.”
“The second act showcases my trip
to India in the year 1981 to find out if the
spiritual traditions of India live on even
after the death of Maharaj-ji dies. During
that journey I met an Indian wise man and
also experienced the essence and nuances
of India’s spiritual teachings. In the third
act one of my old girlfriend Zoe Harber
meets me after a hiatus of almost twenty
five years and this time Zoe and I visited
India once again.”
Also present on the occasion was
producer Anurag Gupta who also
considers Steven Newmark as his Guru
Bhai. “The sole purpose of making this
documentary was to create awareness
and enlighten our target audiences which
include millions and millions of them who
have been or are currently affected by the
spiritual traditions of the East, including
alternative health seekers like seventeen
million yoga practitioners, vegetarians,
mediators and people interested in
international cultures and religions. We
hope to draw in both the baby boomers
who had already explored Eastern
traditions in their youthful age and the
eighteen to twenty nine year olds, seventy
two percent of whom identify themselves
more as spiritual than religious.”
Anurag Gupta concluded, “The entire
concept of Adventures of an American
Yogi will be understood more with the
authentic and realistic interviews of
people who have met Neem Karoli Baba
both in India and the US, including Ram
Dass, Krishna Das, Jai Uttal as well as
many advanced yogis from India.”
S. R.
fighters would stop dreaming
of their own home - land. These
women might as well be dead.
As these Bangladeshi women,
played by actresses of various
ages from 12 to 40 who seem to
live every second of the agony,
are raped repeatedly and you
wonder how low human beings
can fall when given unlimited
power.”
Rounding off the session
both actress Tillotma Shome
and costume designer Amruta
Mahajan said in unison that it
was a very challenging and a
daunting task of working for the
period film.” Shaheen Raaj
45th IFFI Has Many Firsts
I
t is for the first time
that a new progamme
called Talkthon has
been started by the new
media wing of Ministry
of I & B for social media
work. The programme
has been organized by
Santosh Ajmera, Dy
Director, working in
Ministry of I&B. It would
be appreciated that this
is the first programme
of its kind in the world.
In no International Film
Festival in the World, has
such a progamme being
shown.
A record number of
internationally acclaimed
179 films from 79
countries
participated
in 45th IFFI. The quality
of the films is excellent
this time. An effort has
been made to bring the
best cinema of the world
to this IFFI by Shankar
Mohan Director, DFF.
This festival had
record number of 13,160
delegates which is the
highest so far against
around 4000 in the year
2004, when the IFFI was
held in Goa for the first
time. The number has
been increasing year
by year. One can see
long queues in front of
all the theatres all the
time in Inox compound.
It
remains
crowded
throughout the day.
The inauguration of
45 th IFFI was done in
the newly constructed
Dr.
Shyama
Prasad
Mukherjee
Indoor
Stadium in University of
Goa for the first time. This
inauguration had record
number of delegates.
It is for the first time
that two union ministers,
one minster of state and
Chief Minister of the
state of Goa were present
during the inauguration
ceremony of 45 th IFFI
as against One union
minister
and
Chief
minister of the State in
the previous years.
It is for the first time
that two super stars
Amitabh Bachchan and
Rajinikant came for the
inaugural function of 45
th IFFI. In fact, the film
lovers of Goa have been
longing for Amitabh
Bachchan since the IFFI
was held in Goa in 2004.
The cultural programme
during the inauguration
was
excellent.
The
audience
remained
seated throughout the
function. The compere
this time Anupam Kher
and Ravina Tandon made
the progamme a great
success.
It is for the first time
that the dinner by I&B
minister was held in hotel
Marriot on 20 th Nov,
2014, after the screening
of the inaugural film’
The President’ directed
by Makhmalbaf. Earlier,
dinners by the I&B
ministers were hosted in
hotel Cidade Goa or Taj
Agauda etc.
It is for the first time
that an excellent airconditioned
enclosure
was set up for conducting
the Open Forum sessions.
Earlier, Open Forum
sessions used to be held
in the open in Inox Court
Yard. The quality of Open
Forum sessions has been
excellent this time, in
terms of content and the
standard of speakers and
the Q/A sessions.
This time not only
the entire Inox complex
has been illuminated
very beautifully, but also
the surrounding areas
have been illuminated
beautifully. Kala Academy
complex and the entire
area up to Miramar beach
have been decorated and
illuminated
colorfully.
One can feel as if some
special event is going on
in Goa.
It is for the first time
that the photographs of
the eminent historical
cine personalities who
had made a
major
contribution
in
the
development of cinema,
have been displayed
both in Inox and Kala
Academy complex. This
calls for a great research
work, which has been
highly appreciated.
An air-conditioned
lounge, just opposite to
the Open Forum has
been set up for the first
time in the Inox complex
for giving relief to the
delegates during hot time
in the day. This lounge
also has a restaurant
inside. It is for the first
time that the screening
of very popular Indian
films has been organized
in the open in the football
grounds,
near
Kala
Academy for the general
public.
Satinder Mohan
06
IFFI | November 30, 2014
Control
over
Shrihari Sathe
destiny
The internationally acclaimed Indian
filmmaker, who is the producer
and director of Ek Hazarachi Note,
talks to Jyothi Venkatesh about his
maiden Indian venture, which is
figuring in the competition section
as well as Indian Panorama of the
ongoing IFFI.
How would you describe
your film Ek Hazarachi Note?
Ek Hazarachi Note is a
simple movie portraying the
drama amongst the common
folks, especially in rural areas,
who tend to enjoy all the little
things in life. Even when money
comes, it brings problems. They
unfortunately have to take things
as they come and are not in a
position to retaliate when wrong
is done to them. People wielding
power have inhuman control
over their destiny. It is a social
satire about a poor woman who
lives in Eastern Maharashtra,
who one day receives a largesse
of several one thousand rupee
notes from a politician and how
it changes her life overnight. It
revolves around the fact that
poor folk have to face life as it
comes with little control over
what happens to them.
Did you set out to assist
any filmmaker before you set
out to make your debut film
as a director?
After I studied filmmaking for four years in the USA
at Michigan and did a Master
from Columbia University for
four years, I worked for eleven months with Rakeysh Om
Prakash Mehra on his film Delhi 6 as a production co-ordinator, visdual effects co-ordinator
as well as assistant director in
Mumbai, Jaipur and Delhi. I
also have an international technicians working on my film.
Ming Kai Leung (USA) is the
Director of Photography, while
the sound designer is Thorsten
Minning (Germany). I have
produced Ek Hazarachi Note
under my own banner Infinitum Productions.
Ek Hazarachi Note isn’t
exactly your first film!
It isn’t. It is my debut as a
director though prior to this, I
had produced two feature films,
both in the US. Pervertigo
(2012) world premiered at
the Warsaw Film Festival was
also shown at MAMI Film
Festival in 2012. The second
film that I produced was It Felt
like Love which premiered at
2013 Sundance Film Festival
last year and also screened at
about dozen festivals all over
the world
Why did you set out to
make your debut with a film
in Marathi instead of Hindi?
Why just make films in
Hindi or Marathi? Though
today better Marathi films
are being made because
Marathi films are in a state
of competition with Hindi
Cinema, I’d love to make films
also in Tamil, because I have
been inspired tremendously
VIGNETTES FROM 45th IFFI
Edited by: Jyothi Venkatesh
Hindi Editor: Dr. Raajeev Shrivaastav
IFFI Daily Unit Head: Tanu Rai, Deputy Director, IFFI, Min. of I&B, Government of India.
Photos: Photo Division, Tiger’s Studio and Ramakant Munde
Printed at: Impressions, Belgaum
in my growing years by
Tamil films made by Mani
Ratnam like Alay Payuthe and
Kannathil Muthamittal, which
I could follow even though
I watched the films without
subtitles in English.
What next, after Ek
Hazarachi Note?
I am now toying with the
idea of producing a crime
thriller called Man With Van,
with Australian director Ed
Blithe as the director. I am also
planning to make a Palestinian
film called Solitaire King with
Basam Jarbawi as the writerdirector, with a mix of stars as
well as new talent in Arabic.

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