A film has to be without a flaw, Indian Panorama jury member Parvathi Menon

Selecting a film for a festival is not an easy task. Admittedly, it involves hours of hard work, debates, discussions and more. As the Indian Panorama jury gathered at the 49th International Film Festival of India (IFFI), they shed light on how films are selected.

This year IFFI recieved a total of 190 feature and 109 non-feature as eligible entries for the Indian Panorama section. Of these, 26 feature and 21 non-feature films have been selected to screen at IFFI.

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Answering a question by Cinestaan.com, Parvathi Menon, one of the jury member of the non-feature section, put it in two words saying, film has to be “festival worthy”. She added that a film has to be without a flaw.

When asked to elaborate, KG Suresh, a member of the feature jury, said, “It represents the best of Indian cinema. They are all beautiful films, and that is indisputable films. They are going to represent India at international festivals and they are among the best. They should represent India in all the hues and shades and that’s what we look for.”

Rahul Rawail, chairman of the feature jury, Indian Panorama, added, “These feature films in the Indian Panorama are those that will travel the international film festival circuit. They will be picked up for them. That’s the main thing to keep in mind.” Rawail mentioned the success of Rima Das’s Village Rockstars (2018) which was screened at the festival last year. The film went on to win numerous international accolades and is India’s entry for the Academy Awards.

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KG Suresh, Major Ravi, Rahul Rawail, Vinod Ganatra, Suneel Puranik and Parvathi Menon. Photo: Shutterbugs Images

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The jury agreed that if a film received unanimous applause after the screening, it was worth selecting it for the Indian Panorama section. Non-feature jury member Suneel Puranik reminded that Kharvas, directed by Aditya Suhas Jambhale, was one such film.

Vinod Ganatra, chairman of the non-feature section, highlighted that one has to be careful of one more aspect. “In the non-feaature section, you get dragged by the content. Sometimes the content is so good, but the quality of filmmaking is not. We have to be very careful. If you’re influenced by the content, then you are doing injustice to other filmmakers. Good films with good quality are key,” he said.

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Ganatra said that in an age of decreasing attention spans, short films would take over feature films in the near future. He also observed that many filmmakers were coming forward with beautiful content that connects with the audiences.

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