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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 Goa 2016 countdown begins, by Siraj Syed


by Siraj Syed

June through December is film festival season in India. G5A flagged it off, running though June and July, followed by Jagran in September. October is for MAMI and November for IFFI. The year will end with the Third Eye Asian Film Festival. Of course, these are in addition to many smaller festivals, organised by Consular missions and cultural organisations.

IFFI stands for the International Film Festival of India, the only state-sponsored event, held annually in Goa. Some years ago, the Central Government’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, which had been organising the fest in its own for about 50 years, signed a joint venture agreement with the Entertainment Society of Goa (ESG), a Goa-state government enterprise, under which almost all local activities and infrastructure are assigned to ESG and the Directorate of Film festivals in the Ministry concerns itself with broader policy-making, technical issues and film selection.

This year, the 11-day programme has been curtailed by two days: it will begin on the 20th of November, as usual, but will end on the 28th, instead of the 30th, although the show has attracted 1,000 entries from over 100 countries.

The 47th IFFI already has a poster ready, as you have seen above.

Here is the lowdown on what to expect, as on 02 October:

*The Festival is to introduce the Centenary Award for best Debut Feature, a special competitive section for debut films of young and aspiring directors from all continents, carrying substantial prize money for the winning team!

*IFFI, in association with ICFT UNESCO will mark the beginning of the ICFT-Gandhi Award competitive section, which will feature films that promote peace and non-violence.

*A special section of films will be showcased as a Celebration of Masters in the art of film- making. The Masters include directors like Ken Loach, Fritz Lang, Vilmos Zsigmond, Stanley Kubrick, Andrej Wajda, Mohsin Makhmalbaf, Bertand Travinier, Im Kwon Taek, Wim Wenders, Lav Diaz, Asgar Farhadi, Dardene Brothers and Abbas Kiarostami. 

Master-Class and Workshops

The festival will have a delegation from Academy of Motion Pictures And Sciences (AMPAS), which will conduct Master-Classes and workshops on Direction, Documentary film-making, Editing, Art Direction, Cinematography, VFX and Animation and Action Direction.


Majid Majidi (Master-Class in Direction)

Iranian film director, film producer, and screenwriter, who is internationally acclaimed for films like The Colour of Paradise and Children of Heaven. His films have won and been nominated for numerous international awards like.


Rosalie Varda (Master-Class in Costume Designing)

Costume designer and French artistic director from Paris, Varda is an internationally acclaimed costume designer for film, theatre and opera; she is the artistic director for the Ciné-Tamaris company.

Rajko Grlić (Master-Class in Screen-writing)

Croatian film director and producer, Grlić is the recipient of numerous awards, like Golden Arena for Best Director and Tokyo Grand Prix. His film Bravo Maestro has been nominated for Palme d’Or in the Cannes Film Festival.


Lina Dhingra (Workshop on Film Publicity Management)

Lina is considered to be one of the most sought-after authorities on what is ‘chic’ and ‘au courant’, when it comes to producing corporate and social events, red carpet galas, publicity campaigns and charity fund-raisers. Starting with the considerable success of one of the first events that she ever organised, an after-party for none other than The Rolling Stones, she went on to stage Red Carpet Galas and Film Premieres for The Toronto International Film Festival, Dubai International Film Festival, Moroccan Film Festival, Indian Filmfare Awards, Sundance Film festival and, yes, Cannes. She is Toronto-based, and runs an event company called karmaPRO

Namit Malhotra (Workshop on Animation and VFX)

Namit is the Founder, Executive Chairman and Global CEO of Prime Focus Limited, the world’s largest independent integrated media services company.

Paul Alexander: (Workshop in Film Celebrity Photography)

A world renowned celebrity photographer who is famous for his remarkable capability to create stunning “on-the-fly” portraiture, his class comes from having had the privilege of working with some of our generation’s brightest stars and executing global advertising campaigns for international brands, such as Miller Beer, Bacardi, Coca Cola, Motorola and Jack Daniels.

Richie Mehta

Canadian film director, his first feature film, Amal, was released in 2008, and was nominated for Best Motion Picture and Best Director at the 29th Genie Awards.

Roger Christian (Master Class in Film Making and Art Direction)

An English set decorator, production designer and feature film director, he won an Academy Award for his work on the original Star Wars, and was Oscar-nominated for his work on Alien.

Peter Hein (Master-Class in Action Direction)

Fight master/action choreographer, stunt co-ordinator, who has worked on many South Indian films, Hein became famous for his action sequences in films such as Sivaji (2007), Anniyan (2005), Ghajini (2008), Magadheera (2009), Enthiran (2010), Raavanan (2010), 7aum Arivu (2011), Kochadaiyaan (2014) and Baahubali (2015). He has been nominated for the noted Taurus World Stunt Award, against many big Hollywood names. He received a Filmfare Award for Best Action for his work in Ghajini (2008).

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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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