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Siraj Syed

Siraj Syed is the India Correspondent for and a member of FIPRESCI, the International Federation of Film Critics. He is a Film Festival Correspondent since 1976, Film-critic since 1969 and a Feature-writer since 1970. 



IFFI 50: ICFT UNESCO Gandhi Medal Jury

IFFI 50: ICFT UNESCO Gandhi Medal Jury

A six-member jury deliberated over the entries for the ICFT-UNESCO Gandhi Medal, which went to the Italian film Rwanda, with a Special mention for the Indian entry, Bahattar Hoorain. There were seven entries. The jurors were Inoussa Ousseini, Konstantinos ‘Costa’ Gavras, Lola Poggi Goujon, Georges Dupont, Jasmina Bojic and Maria Mathe.

His Excellency Inoussa Ousseni is the Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of Niger to UNESCO as well as the President of International Council for Film, Television and Audio-visual Communication (ICFT), official partner of UNESCO. He is also a film director and his films include Paris is Beautiful, Wasan kara, Médecines et Médecins and Badye the Story-teller. He discovered cinema through the films of his compatriot, Moustapha Alassane. Oussenie interrupted his studies to become an assistant director during the years 1967-1968. Studying in France, he continued to be interested in cinema, while obtaining a bachelor's degree in sociology at the University of Tours (where he established a film club).

Costa Gavras is a 76 year-old Greek film-maker who lives in France. He is well-known in India for his films that have been both political arguments and entertainments, usually as mysteries or thrillers. His latest, Adults in the Room, about the Greek debt crisis of 2015was screened at IFFI 50. Leaving Athens in 1952, he went to Paris, where he enrolled in the Sorbonne University. After taking a degree in literature with the intention of becoming a writer, he followed another long-held ambition—to make films—and entered the Institute of Higher Cinematographic Studies (Institut des Haut Études Cinématographiques/IDHEC). Later, became an assistant to such French film-makers as Yves Allégret, René Clair, René Clément, and Jacques Demy.

Costa-Gavras’s first film, Compartiment tueurs (1965; The Sleeping Car Murders), was a detective thriller. His second, 1 Homme de Trop (1967; “One Man Too Many”; Shock Troops), a World War II drama, had good reviews, but it was his next film, Z (1969), a powerfully dramatic description of political assassination in Greece, that brought him international acclaim. Z won the Academy Award for best foreign film, and Costa-Gavras earned an Oscar nomination for best director. It was followed by L’Aveu (1970; The Confession), about a communist government minister persecuted for supposed disloyalty by party members in an eastern European police state, and then by État de siège (1972; State of Siege), which centres on an American adviser to the Ugandan military regime, who is kidnapped by revolutionaries. Other films include Missing (1982), Betrayed (1988), Music Box (1989), Amen (2002), Le Couperet (2005; The Axe), Eden à l’Ouest (2009; Eden Is West) and Le Capital (2012; Capital).

Ms. Lola Poggi Goujon, a former UNESCO Civil Servant is the Secretary General of ICFT since 2009, and had visited IFFI in 2015 and 2016, in connection with the awarding of the medal. Born in Italy in 1941, she holds dual Italian and French citizenship. Lola speaks Italian, French, English and French. Her educational qualifications include a Diploma in Philosophy from the University of Florence, a Diploma in International Relations from the Institute of Political Studies (IEP), Paris and a Diploma in History from the Sorbonne, Paris.

Ms. Jasmina Bojic is a former winner of the UNESCO Fellini Medal, awarded to her in 2014 in recognition of her exceptional contribution in promoting the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights through the art of documentary film. She has taught at Stanford University for the last twenty-five years. In addition to working as a Lecturer in International Relations, Jasmina is also the Director of the Camera as Witness Program and Founder and Executive Director of the United Nations Association Film Festival. She has been working as a journalist more than thirty years, covering many political and cultural events, including the Academy Awards, Cannes, Sundance, Venice and Tribeca film festivals.

Jasmina has served on juries at many international film festivals and has extensive connections with filmmakers and the film industry world-wide. She has worked as a producer/director on several documentaries and TV Programmes dealing with human rights issues. Jasmina conceptualised and organised one of the oldest international documentary film festivals in the US – UNAFF (United Nations Association Film Festival) at Stanford University. In 2000, UNAFF’s mission was broadened to include the UNAFF Traveling Film Festival.

Ms. Maria Mathe is a Manager in the fashion industry, having worked with such brands as Ralph Lauren, Margiela and Kenzo. She studied Business Management, Economics and Marketing, as well as languages.

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About Siraj Syed

Syed Siraj
(Siraj Associates)

Siraj Syed is a film-critic since 1970 and a Former President of the Freelance Film Journalists' Combine of India.

He is the India Correspondent of and a member of FIPRESCI, the international Federation of Film Critics, Munich, Germany

Siraj Syed has contributed over 1,015 articles on cinema, international film festivals, conventions, exhibitions, etc., most recently, at IFFI (Goa), MIFF (Mumbai), MFF/MAMI (Mumbai) and CommunicAsia (Singapore). He often edits film festival daily bulletins.

He is also an actor and a dubbing artiste. Further, he has been teaching media, acting and dubbing at over 30 institutes in India and Singapore, since 1984.

Bandra West, Mumbai


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