study @ at IFFI 2015

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By Suyash Kamat

Some of the busiest delegates at the International Film Festival of India are also the youngest. While film professionals and cinephiles always gather aplenty for IFFI, the festival is also an annual highlight for hundreds of film students from around India (and beyond).
Some of them told The Peacock that IFFI is a yearly ritual, which they follow religiously. But for some we met at IFFI 2015, it is their first time.  One of these is Kushal Kumar, who came to Goa from Chennai. He says, “here I got to watch films from all over the world, which we don’t get to see otherwise in theatres’’. He felt that despite the ability to download films from the internet, film festivals like IFFI continue to remain relevant for their ability to open up newer worlds through a wide range of curation. Narayan Moorthy from MGR Government Film Institute, Chennai agreed with Kumar, saying that the broad interaction with different kinds of films at the festival gave him a valuable opportunity to acquire knowledge, and improve his craft.
Akhil Khandeparker from MIT(Pune) told us he was very excited, that IFFI was “like a candyland.”  He was willing to overlook any scheduling problems or management errors, as long as he got to keep watching films. But having attended  three previous editions of the festival, Khandeparker did express discontent regarding this year’s treatment of Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) students. He said, “IFFI is supposed a festival of the people. More than the government, the festival belongs to them first. Don’t most of the Indian movies screened here have some kind of an association with FTII?”
Amol Deshmukh is one of the FTII students who was accredited and wears a delegate badge at IFFI 2015. While he did say the festival management is being “needlessly paranoid” about his classmates peaceful protest, he also told us he loves coming to Goa for the festival every year. “FTII introduced IFFI to me. It was one of our best traditions to come here every November.”
Since its first edition in Goa in 2004, IFFI has brought world cinema to the state and inspired many young Goans to take up the medium.  Among them is Jayesh Akhargekar, now a student at the prestigious Satyajit Ray Film And Television Institute of India, Kolkata. Jayesh became serious about this career choice when his film was selected at the short film center at IFFI. He says, “I understood then that I can make something.” Having been nurtured by the festival’s cornucopia of stories from across the world, Akhargekar decided he wanted to tell his own, and took up film-making as a profession.

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