India is a land of storytellers where every person has a story to tell: Col Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore at IFFI 2018 Opening Ceremony

~ IFFI 2018 opens to a scintillating display of myriad cultures, film snippets and on-stage camaraderie between celebrities Karan Johar, Minister Col Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore and Akshay Kumar~

~Over its nine-day duration, IFFI 2018 will showcase 212 films from over 68 countries which consist of 2 World Premieres, 16 Academy Award nominated films, 6 Indian rare language films, 3 Indian films competing with 15 international films for the Golden and Silver Peacock awards, and many more interesting elements~

Ending the long wait, the opening ceremony of one of the most prestigious film festivals across the world – the 49th edition of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) opened amidst the presence of film stars, filmmakers and cine-lovers from across the world amid pomp and gaiety in Panjim, Goa.

The opening ceremony of IFFI 2018 was anchored by Mandira Bedi and Amit Sadh and saw the presence of eminent Indian and international film personalities such as Akshay KumarKaran JoharRandhir Kapoor, Prasoon Joshi, Julien LandaisBarbara Meier, Nicolas Hau, Lois Robbins, Siddharth Roy Kapoor, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, Robert Glinski, Tom Fitzpatrick, Poonam Dhillon, Hrishita BhattMadhur BhandarkarSubhash GhaiArijit SinghRamesh SippyChin Han among many others. Apart from this, a host of celebrities walked the red carpet, adding a sprinkle of glitz to the ceremony.

Union Minister of State for Information & Broadcasting, Col Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore said that “India is a land of storytellers where every person has a story to tell. These stories inspire and entertain us. IFFI is a platform for our young generation to showcase their talent. It is a platform for the international filmmakers to see India and explore the talent that we have. It is a lovely time to come to Goa since this year we are having street cinema open to the tourists who are visiting the state for the next 9 days and they can experience this at IFFI.” The Hon. Minister said this while walking the red carpet at the opening ceremony of 49th International Film Festival of India in Goa.

The inaugural ceremony also witnessed some mesmerizing audio visual performances which started with a medley dance performance of songs from some of the best Indian films depicting the country’s vibrant history. The versatile singer Shilpa Rao sang popular songs from across the country in multiple languages such as Bengali, Punjabi, Hindi and a beautiful rendition of the timeless, “Aaj Jaane Ki Zidd Na Karo.” Actor Sonu Sood then took over and set the stage on fire with his dance skills.

The most interesting part of the IFFI 2018 opening ceremony was an informal chat between the three luminaries on stage – Col. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore (Union Minister of State for I&B), actor Mr Akshay Kumar and filmmaker Karan Johar. Karan Johar engaged the Minister and Akshay Kumar in an informal chat on sports and cinema and their journey through their careers.

The opening ceremony of IFFI 2018 also saw the launch of the Web Portal of Film Facilitation Office (FFO) that was launched by Col. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, the Union Minister of State (I & B). Israeli master craftsman Dan Wolman was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the opening ceremony of the 49th IFFI.

While speaking to the mediapersons at the red carpet, the celebrities expressed pleasure for being present at the glittering ceremony and said:

–          “IFFI is a very inspiring place and it is a great place for people who worship art and it is a place that showcases high quality cinema from across the world.” – Arijit Singh

The 49th IFFI will showcase the best of recent International cinema, along with special sections such as RetrospectivesMasterclassesIn-Conversation sessionsHomagesIndian PanoramaInternational Competition, featuring the best of world cinema produced in the past year, with the aim of providing a platform for young creative minds to interact, view and learn.

The festival opened with the World Premiere of The Aspern Papers, amid the presence of the cast and crew of the film. IFFI 208 will close in similar fashion – with the World Premiere of German film, Sealed Lips.

This edition of the festival will showcase films which reflect diversity of taste. IFFI 2018 will showcase 212 films from over 68 countries which consist of 2 World Premieres16 Academy Award nominated films and 6 Indian rare language films. The International Competition section of IFFI 2018 will have 15 films, out of which 3 are Indian films competing for the Golden and Silver Peacock awards. The Competition section itself represents films produced and co-produced by 22 countries. The International Competition jury is headed by renowned by renowned Polish Director Robert Glinski and includes jury members such as Adrian Sitaru, Anna Ferraioli Ravel, Tom Fitzpatrick and Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra.

Akin to every year, IFFI will be featuring a Country of Focus that brings out the cinematic excellence and contributions of that particular Country. In its 49th edition of IFFI, the Country of Focus will be Israel. Ten films in collaboration with the Consulate General of Israel in Mumbai, have been selected for the country focus package.

IFFI 2018, for the first time ever, will feature a State Focus section that will focus on the films of one of the Indian States, thus shedding light on the art and culture of that particular state. Jharkhand has been selected as the State of Focus for 49th IFFI 2018 and Jharkhand Day will be celebrated on 24th November 2018 as part of the festival. Movies in the Jharkhand Package include MS Dhoni The Untold Story, Death in the Gunj, Ranchi Diary, Begum Jaan with others.

This year, IFFI has also collaborated with the International Council for Film, Audiovisual Communication (ICFT) Paris, to present a special ICFT prize consisting of the UNESCO Gandhi Medal to a film, which reflects the ideals promoted by UNESCO. This year 10 films will be showcased for selection of a film to be presented with this coveted award, out of which 2 are Indian films.

The 49th International Film Festival of India began today, on 20 November 2018 and ends on Wednesday, 28 November, 2018, in Panaji, Goa.

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