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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. He is also an acting and dialogue coach. 



IFFI 50: Many makers, one press conference

IFFI 50: Many makers, one press conference

Those who wish to make independent films must keep themselves away from government funding, said Ms. Mahnaz Mohammadi, Director of Iranian film ‘Son-Mother’. “The government will give funds to directors who follow their rules and listen to them. You have to be part of the system and norms. I used my earnings as a documentary film-maker to produce my films”, she said. She was participating in a media conference at the 50th International Film Festival of India, in Panaji, Goa.

Director of ‘I'm Gonna Tell God Everything’, Dev Pinn, producer of ‘Other Half’, Aludeniye Subodhi Thero, and Director of ‘The Fourth Wall’, Zhang Chong, were also present.

Replying to questions about the acceptance of Iranian films across the world, she said, “Iranians grow up with poets. We need poems for every other occasion.  That might be the reason why people around the world find movies made by Iranians good”. Elaborating on her movie ‘Son-Mother’, the director said that the film talks about a working widow in Iran, who faces an impossible choice, whilst trying to keep her family together.

Sharing the incidents that prompted him to make a film, Director of  ‘I'm Gonna Tell God Everything’, Dev Pinn aka Vasu Pinnamaraju, said that the film borrows its title from the last words of a 3 year-old Syrian boy in a hospital at Damascus. “The movie deals with true events that occurred in Syria, between 2011 and 2018, and how human lives are at stake in one of the bloodiest times of the Middle-east”, he said. He also revealed his plans to make a feature film on the gun culture of America. Underlining the theme of the movie, he added that when adults are overwhelmed by their selfish interests and needs, it is the kids that remind us of the core values of humanity.

Producer of ‘Other Half’ Aludeniye Subodhi Thero, said that his film discusses the importance of transforming SriLanka’s teacher-centred education system to a student--centred one. Environmental concerns, like the overuse of chemicals for agriculture, are also discussed in the film, he said.  Subodhi further said that art and cinema can be used to transform people for the better and increase human values.

Director of ‘The Fourth Wall’, Zhang Chong said that he has been influenced by many genre filmmakers, like Christopher Nolan. Talking about the Indian film market in China, the director said, “Every season, one or two Indian films, and 10 films per year are released. Aamir Khan's film have a got a lot of followers in the Chinese film market. Indian commercial films are also very popular in China. Culture-wise, China has a lot of similarities with India.”


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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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