IFFI and Goa


It is that time of the year again where Goa gets to host yet another edition of IFFI, the 52nd one this time.

Looking back at the 17 years of the festival, one has to reflect that the former Chief Minister, Late Manohar Parrikar had started a special Goan section at IFFI to encourage a film culture in Goa, and promote local talent and the Goan film fraternity. However, the right boost to Konkani film industry is still a mirage.

What has Goa and Goans gained from hosting the film festival for the last 17 years?

The gains to Goa have been negligible be it economic, cultural or even in the film industry where Goans have failed to make a name for themselves, unlike the yesteryears.

During the days of the festival, the local hotels, restaurants, transporters, entertainers, decorators and those dependent on events, do make their money; but once the curtains drop, the business comes to a standstill.

Goa takes pride in being the number one tourist destination in the country, but has never been able to market itself as a permanent host of the IFFI. For the last 17 years that Goa has been hosting this prestigious film festival, we have made little to no progress in the film world, nor does the State attract tourists as a film festival destination, the way other film festival cities like Cannes and Shanghai do.

This grim situation will continue to prevail unless Goa makes the effort to leverage the hosting of the festival and use it to our best advantage. As of now, Goa decides to wake up from its stupor only in November when it is time for the festival to commence, while for the rest of the 11 months, precious little is done to promote Goan films and local talent in the State.

Today, film festivals operate more like micro economies. They can make smaller cities boom by bringing in business, giving young people a reason to remain in the region, and develop a city’s national and international links. Park City in Utah, USA home of the prestigious Sundance Film Festival, is one example.

But when a State becomes this synonymous with its film festival, the effects can be mixed. The economic boosts delivered by a festival, such as large visitor numbers, can also drive up prices and put undue strain on the local environment. The festival’s logistics demands temporarily monopolise the State’s human resources. The end result is that businesses servicing the needs and desires of this high-flying group – luxury restaurants, private transport companies, florists, hotels – benefit; while those that provide city residents with their everyday needs – grocers, pharmacies, schools – usually don’t. Not to mention the huge traffic jams that Panaji witnesses around this time.

IFFI is one international platform that we have to showcase Goa’s cultural richness and heritage. Meanwhile what happens is that Goa pays out from its pocket to host the festival and gets next to nothing in return. This raises the question whether the hosting of the festival is a burden on the State’s exchequer and resources.

Film festivals help celebrate diversity. We live in troubled times. Polarisation is a trend best opposed – and could be well done through cinema. Is it not that most of today’s troubles are caused by misunderstanding of how different people live, or how they love, work or eat in different cultures with different religions? We must break down these gaps in communication and misunderstandings and take the audience to these different worlds and show how life really is. And if we are really serious about showcasing the best of Goa, along with its people, its culture and heritage, then IFFI should work in the direction and needs to really walk the talk.

Mobile Ad 1

Mobile Ad 2