The Aspern Papers to open IFFI 2018; retrospectives for Ingmar Bergman, Vinod Khanna

The 49th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) will be held in Goa from 20-28 November 2018. The annual extravaganza will showcase 212 films from over 68 countries.

The festival will open with the world premiere of The Aspern Papers, directed by Julien Landais. The Aspern Papers is a period drama set in Venice and is based on the Henry James novella of the same name. Landais, along with cast members Golden Globe winner Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Oscar-nominated actress Joely Richardson, and actress Morgane Polanski are expected to attend the screening.

The Indian Panorama section will showcase 26 feature and 21 non-feature Indian films. OLU, directed by Shaji N Karun, and Kharvas, directed by Aditya Suhas Jambhale, will be the opening feature and non-feature films in the Panorama. The other films in this section include Kaushik Ganguly’s Nagarkirtan, Arijit Singh’s Sa, Srijit Mukherji ’s Uma, Arjun Dutta’s Abyakto, and Abhishek Saha’s Uronchondi.

The Festival Kaleidoscope section will see 20 critically acclaimed international films being screened while the World Panorama section will have 67 films specially curated for the festival. There will also be a special presentation of Tunisian films.

The film festival will have a retrospective section in honour of the late actor Vinod Khanna. As he was awarded the Dadasaheb Phalke award posthumously this year, his films Achanak (1973), Amar Akbar Anthony (1977) and Lekin… (1991) will be showcased as part of this section.

The festival will also remember Shashi Kapoor, actress Sridevi, screenwriter M Karunanidhi, filmmaker Kalpana Lajmi, production designer Terence Marsh, director Milos Forman and British film editor Anne V Coates.

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To mark the centenary of Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman, seven best films of his career will be showcased as part of a retrospective. Bergman Island, a documentary on Bergman directed by Marie Nyrerod, is part of this section. A panel discussion will be held on 21 November, followed by a screening of Wild Strawberries (1957).

This year the Country of Focus is Israel, and 10 films from the country will be screened in collaboration with the consulate general of Israel in Mumbai. The opening film is The Other Story by Avi Nesher. Israeli actor Alon Aboutboul, who has worked in big-ticket Hollywood films like Rambo III (1988) by Peter MacDonald, Munich (2005) by Steven Spielberg, Body Of Lies (2008) by Ridley Scott, and The Dark Knight Rises (2012) by Christopher Nolan will attend the festival. A seminar to promote Indo-Israeli cooperation in film production is scheduled for 22 November.

The Lifetime Achievement award will be conferred upon Dan Wolman from Israel. The veteran filmmaker has directed feature films, television dramas, short films, and documentaries and also worked in theatre. His films have been presented at several festivals the world over, including Cannes, Berlin, Venice and Shanghai.

The state focus this year is on Jharkhand. Jharkhand Day will be celebrated on 24 November as part of the festival and films in this package include A Death In The Gunj (2017), Ranchi Diaries (2017) and Begum Jaan (2017). The animation film package called Sketch on Screen will have three international feature-length films done in collaboration with Indian studios.

In a special package for visually impaired children, the films Sholay (1975) and Hichki (2018) will be screened with audio descriptions. This year’s Open Air screenings, as an extension of the Khelo India branding, will have sports biopics Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (2013), Mary Kom (2014), MS Dhoni: The Untold Story (2016), Soorma (2018) and Gold (2018).

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A new addition this year will be the ICFT prize consisting of the UNESCO Gandhi Medal to a film that reflects the ideals promoted by UNESCO. Ten films will compete for the award.

Film enthusiasts can expect masterclasses and conversations with personalities including Wolman, lyricist and India’s film certification body chief Prasoon Joshi, editor Sreekar Prasad, filmmakers Kaushik Ganguly, Shaji N Karun and Meghna Gulzar, artistes Anil Kapoor, Varun Dhawan, Arjun Kapoor and Janhvi Kapoor, producer Boney Kapoor, directors David Dhawan and Rohit Dhawan, and Jason Hafford of Creative Artists Agency, the talent management firm.

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