Pune film festival hunts for new dates as big brother IFFI snatches its January slot

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Written by Atikh Rashid
| Pune |

December 15, 2020 2:41:25 pm

Pune International Film Festival Jabbar Patel. Photo: PIFF

As preparations are afoot in Goa to hold the delayed 51st edition of International Film Festival of India (IFFI) between January 14 and 24, the choice of dates by the Information and Broadcast Ministry (I&B) has left the organisations of Pune International Film Festival (PIFF) in a quandary.

Since its third edition that was held in 2005, the week-long feast of international cinema in Pune is held in mid-January (the first two editions were held in December). Organisers of PIFF had earlier publicised January 14-21 as probable dates for the 19th edition of the festival.

However, as is the case with most cultural events this year, the COVID-19 pandemic has hit the PIFF schedule, although indirectly.

“IFFI has moved into our slot this year due to COVID-19. We are working on new dates and will announce them in about a week,” said Jabbar Patel, PIFF Director.

The 51st edition of IFFI, the official film festival of India, was scheduled to be held in Goa from November 20-28. However, owing to the pandemic, the I&B Ministry announced that it will be postponed to January 16-24, 2021.

The festival is slated to be held in a hybrid format with film screenings and events taking place virtually in addition to physical format. IFFI organisers have also decided to cap the delegates to 2500 this year to avoid crowding at the venues. They have also cancelled ancillary events such as art-park, children’s festival, food fair, art installations and live performances.

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Patel said that preparations for 19th PIFF commenced several months ago, like every year, and film entries for international and Marathi cinema sections have been invited. He said that his team will be required to work with the state government authorities to ensure that a save festival is held.

“We will have to move to a new slot because two big festivals cannot take place parallely. First of all, many cinephiles from Pune attend IFFI, Goa every year and they will have to choose one over the other. Secondly, we screen some important films from IFFI selection and we won’t get the DCPs of those films if the festivals are held concurrently,” said Patel.

International film festival circuit has been badly hit during 2020-2021 due to COVID-19 pandemic with top film festivals such as Cannes, Berlin and Rotterdam mellowing down the extravaganza, shifting dates and holding virtual events.

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