Governor of Goa Mridula Sinha, Union Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Col. Rajyavardhan Rathore and CBFC chief Prasoon Joshi graced the opening gala held at the Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Indoor Stadium in Goa.
Apart from this, a host of Bollywood celebrities like Akshay Kumar, Karan Johar, Ramesh Sippy, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra and Arijit Singh were present at the ceremony.
“The potential in India and its young generation is absolutely amazing. We can be world beaters in any sector and film industry is one such place. This international film festival is basically a platform for our young generation to be able to showcase their talent, stories and skills to the international cinema,” Rathore said.
Renowned Israeli director and writer Dan Wolman, known for his films such as The Dreamer, Floch and Tied Hands, was bestowed with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Wolman’s films have been screened at various prestigious film festivals around the world and have received much appreciation from critics and the audiences.
“This is the highest award I have ever received. For me, it is sweeter and meaningful because this award is given in India, a country which I have become very much a part of, a country whose people, culture and vibrant and phenomenal cinema I admire. There is chemistry between nations, and I believe there’s chemistry between Israel and India. I hope this friendship will manifest in collaborating, in co-productions in the field of cinema,” Wolman said while accepting the award.
The gala saw an array of scintillating performances by Bollywood artistes like Sonu Sood and Shilpa Rao. While Sonu stunned everyone with his power-packed performance on various hit Bollywood numbers, Shilpa received huge applause for belting out some of her popular tracks.
The ceremony also witnessed the launch of the Film Facilitation Office (FFO), an initiative by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to promote and facilitate film shooting by foreign film makers in India.
Besides, Karan hosted an impromptu Koffee With Karan session with Rathore and Akshay without the “coffee”. In the segment, Karan praised both Rathore and Kumar for their achievements in their respective fields and also played the famous “Koffee Quiz” with both the guests.
Other guests from the Indian film world included Madhur Bhandarkar, Randhir Kapoor, Subhash Ghai, Poonam Dhillon and Mrinal Kulkarni.
The festival, which runs till November 28, will showcase 212 films from over 68 countries. International competition section has 15 films out of which three are Indian. Competition section itself represents films produced and co-produced by 22 countries.
This year, the Country of Focus at IFFI is Israel. Ten films in collaboration with the Consulate General of Israel in Mumbai, have been selected for the country focus package. The opening film for the Country Focus Section is ‘The Other Story’ by Avi Nesher.