IFFI important event from arts, culture point of view: Prakash Javadekar

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Panaji, Jan 16 (PTI) Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Prakash Javadekar on Friday said the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) plays a crucial role in the development of arts and culture in the country.

Javadekar was in the city to take part in the 51st edition of the festival, set to begin on Saturday.

The ceremony, to be held at Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Indoor Stadium here, will kickstart the festival's first 'hybrid mode' edition, where delegates can participate and watch films and events virtually.

The Union Minister said the physical screenings will follow strict coronavirus guidelines of social distancing.

'IFFI is an important event from the point of view of arts and culture. Despite the coronavirus pandemic, 224 films from across the world will be screened in seven theatres, all of which will follow the coronavirus guidelines: social distancing, masks, sanitiser.

'The festival this time would be hybrid, because of which the movies will also be available online,' Javadekar told reporters.

IFFI, which takes place from November 20-28 every year, was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic and will now be held from January 16 to January 24.

Javadekar hoped the next edition would take place on its scheduled date and said everyone has worked hard 'to make this edition a success.' Multiple Academy Award-winning cinematographer Vittorio Storaro will be honoured with the Lifetime Achievement award at the opening ceremony of IFFI.

The event will also have celebrated film directors from the world cinema, including Argentina's Pablo Cesar, Prasanna Vithanage from Sri Lanka, Abu Bakr Shawky (Austria), Priyadarshan and Rubaiyat Hossain (Bangladesh).

A delegation from Bangladesh, this year's ''Country of Focus'', will also be present in the opening ceremony.

The Country of Focus is a special segment that recognises the cinematic excellence and contributions of the country.

Apart from this, the opening of the much awaited NFDC Film Bazar will also be virtually inaugurated on the occasion.

The festival is conducted jointly by the Directorate of Film Festivals (under Ministry of Information and Broadcasting) and the state Government of Goa. PTI JUR BK BK