Panaji, Nov 20 (IANS): The 53rd edition of International Film Festival of India (IFFI) kicked off here on Sunday with the participation of filmmakers and cinema lovers from across the globe.
Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Anurag Thakur, MoS I&B L. Murugan, MoS Tourism Shripad Naik, Goa Governor P.S. Sreedharan Pillai, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant and other dignitaries were present on the occasion.
Actors Ajay Devgn, Suniel Shetty, Manoj Bajpayee, Paresh Rawal and 'RRR' writer V. Vijayendra Prasad were felicitated on the occasion for their contributions to the film industry.
The opening ceremony was held at the Syama Prasad Mukherjee indoor stadium in Taleigao.
The Satyajit Ray Lifetime Achievement Award was bestowed upon veteran director Carlos Saura, who along with Luis Bunuel and Pedro Almodovar is considered to be one of Spain's most renowned filmmakers. The award was received by his daughter Anna Saura Ramon, while Carlos Saura thanked the IFFI organisers virtually.
Speaking on the occasion, Anurag Thakur said that the Covid pandemic was a challenging time, yet India has put up its best show in two fields -- cinema and sports.
"It has been our vision that we embrace new platforms such as OTTs and make them inclusive part of the festival," he said.
Thakur also urged people to send suggestions to make the next IFFI even better.
"This is such a destination that no place can replace Goa (as IFFI host)," he said.
"We don't have dearth of talent, infrastructure, shooting sites etc. Hence, we need to trust ourselves and make India the hub of filmmaking," Thakur added.
The nine-day festival featuring 280 films from 79 countries opened with the Austrian film 'Alma and Oskar', directed by Dieter Berner, while Polish director Krzysztof Zanussi's 'Perfect Number' will be the closing film.
France is the 'Spotlight' country this year and eight films will be screened under the 'Country Focus' package.
As many as 25 feature films and 19 non-feature films from India will be showcased in the 'Indian Panorama' section, while 183 films will be a part of the international section.
The National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) in collaboration with Entertainment Society of Goa (ESG) is organising the nine-day event, which will conclude on November 28.
The second edition of '75 Creative Minds of Tomorrow', an initiative by the Ministry of Broadcasting and Information, is another attraction this year.
With 23 'Masterclasses' and 'In Conversation' sessions with eminent filmmakers and actors, it promises to be an exciting week ahead.
There will be a masterclass in screenwriting by V. Vijayendra Prasad, on editing by A. Sreekar Prasad while Anupam Kher will conduct a masterclass in acting.
The 'In-conversation' sessions will feature Asha Parekh, Prasoon Joshi, Aanand L. Rai, R. Balki and Nawazuddin Siddiqui, among others.