IFFI 2022: Bigger and better, but...

From garbage to great movies, here’s a quick round-up of the just concluded 53rd International Film Festival of India
IFFI 2022 was organised on a grand scale, after a gap of two years
IFFI 2022 was organised on a grand scale, after a gap of two years Gomantak Times

The gala event — the 53rd edition of IFFI (International Film Festival of India), Goa, organised by NFDC (National Film Development Corporation) along with ESG (Entertainment Society of Goa) came to an end on November 28, 2022 amidst a lot of fanfare and some controversies.

It was an event on big scale, after a gap of two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, this was the first time that the NFDC organised this entire event, compared to just organising the Film Bazaar during previous years.

'Close' by Lukas Dhont, winner of Grand Prix at Cannes, was screened at IFFI 2022
'Close' by Lukas Dhont, winner of Grand Prix at Cannes, was screened at IFFI 2022Gomantak Times

This was due to the fact that earlier this year, the Centre merged The Films Division, the National Film Archive of India (NFAI), Children’s Film Society of India (CFSI) and the Directorate of Film Festivals (DFF), which used to organise the film festival, and are now merged into the NFDC.

It was probably due to this new management per se that the event was well-organised this year, compared to some previous ones. The full schedule of the eight days of movie screenings was available a couple of days before the festival. This gave enough time for the delegates to read about the movies and plan their schedules.

IFFI 2022 was organised on a grand scale, after a gap of two years
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This year, probably for the first time, the opening film on November 20, 2022 and closing film on November 28, were screened at 2.30 pm before the opening and closing ceremony, respectively. This was a welcome change as it gave delegates some time in hand.  

Also, this year, the ticketing/booking system was different. Last year, the booking for the movies would start 24 hours in advance, at midnight. This created lot of inconvenience for delegates especially senior citizens as they had to stay up late at night, and there was no guarantee that they could get a booking. This year, the booking started 2 days in advance and at 8 am.

Iranian film, 'No Bears', was screened at IFFI 2022
Iranian film, 'No Bears', was screened at IFFI 2022Gomantak Times

However, as the rush line (a queue for delegates who do not have a booking for a movie) has been scrapped now, many seats were vacant for many screenings during the festival. When asked about this, the organisers informed that the delegate had to cancel his/her ticket online and then, book it online, in order to attend the particular screening.

Formerly, delegates with no ticket or booking were allowed to enter the theatre a few minutes before the screening. This time, as there was no rush line, a delegate could enter the theatre even late for the screening if he/she had a valid ticket.

IFFI 2022 was organised on a grand scale, after a gap of two years
Stunning red carpet fashion of IFFI 2022


The success of any film festival doesn’t depend on how many celebrities or film stars have attended the festival, but solely on the quality of films. It is a film festival where movies from around the world are celebrated.

These are the movies that speak about the socio-political climate of a region, relationships, issues related to the environment, etc, basically human stories that have the power to engage the viewer.

Argentinian film, 'Seven Dogs', by Rodrigo Guerrero was one of the films at the 53rd IFFI in Goa
Argentinian film, 'Seven Dogs', by Rodrigo Guerrero was one of the films at the 53rd IFFI in GoaGomantak Times

IFFI 2022 managed to tell such stories and more as it had one of the best collection of movies. Many of these movies were screened at prestigious film festivals, like the Cannes Film Festival this year. It included movies like Close by Lukas Dhont, winner of Grand Prix at Cannes; Decision to Leave, by Park Chan-wook, winner of the Best Director award at Cannes 2022; Triangle of Sadness by Ruben Östlund, winner of the Palm d’ore; Iranian films which are quite popular at IFFI like Jafar Panahi’s latest, No Bears and Holy Spider by Ali Abbasi, to name a few.

The movies which I managed to watch (and liked!) were — the French movie, Between the worlds (2021) by Emmanuel Carrère, spoke about the grim realities related to unemployment and the struggles of common man. Such movies help viewers understand the realities of developed nations, which otherwise go unnoticed.

IFFI 2022 was organised on a grand scale, after a gap of two years
IFFI 2022: Free movie screenings in Goa on November 27, 2022

Turkish film Burning Days (2022) by Emin Alper, speaks about corruption and how it is literally sinking a town, since sinkholes have formed on its outskirts due to groundwater drilling. This socio-political thriller helps viewers realise how we, as a community, fail to look at the real issue.

I also watched many movies that revolved around relationships. The one that stood out for me was the Belgian film, Close directed by Lukas Dhont. It spoke about two 13-year-old boys and their friendship. It is a relationship drama told in a very tender and subtle way.

Similar to this theme was the Indian film, Dostojee, directed by Prasun Chatterjee. This film, which was chosen by the NFDC for the ‘Goes to Cannes’ section in 2020, is a story of two young boys from a remote border village in West Bengal amidst the religious divide in the early 1990s.

IFFI 2022 was organised on a grand scale, after a gap of two years
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Argentinian film, Seven Dogs by Rodrigo Guerrero is about a relationship of seven dogs and an old man. This simple story of the struggles of an old man to keep his pets in an apartment amidst all opposition is a story of loneliness and camaraderie in a contemporary urban environment. 

All such movies spoke about the human relationships in both—simple and profound ways. These movies made a strong point about having faith in humanity above everything else.

Speaking about the screening experience, this year, two movies—The Storyteller (2022) directed by Ananth Narayan Mahadevan, and Gandhi (1982) by Richard Attenborough were screened in accessibility format.

The first screening in this format was The Storyteller movie, which was attended by visually-impaired delegates, where the visuals of the movie were explained through a voiceover. Some delegates also watched this movie blind-folded. The 53rd IFFI had taken up the initiative of organising dedicated screenings for specially-abled people, keeping in mind their accessibility needs.


As mentioned before, this year IFFI 2022 was well-organised. However, there were some glitches. As Kala Academy, Campal, is still incomplete, this year all the screens of Inox, Porvorim, were part of the festival. Thus, many movies, not only repeat shows, were screened there.

Even though there were buses and also rickshaws to travel, travelling such a distance from Panjim to Porvorim for back-to-back screenings at Panjim and Porvorim, or vice versa, was a challenge. As we all know, this is one of the busiest routes, and wading through traffic to make it on time for a movie was no less than a challenge. Thus, most of the time, theatres at Porvorim were quite empty as many delegates prefer to avoid travelling.

Also many acclaimed movies like Close, The Last Film Show (the film is India’s official entry to the Oscars), didn’t have repeat screenings, and many delegates were looking forward to such movies.

Another issue that haunts IFFI every time is garbage. During this nine-day event more than 5,000 delegates registered for this year’s IFFI, and this puts tremendous pressure on garbage disposal for a small city like Panjim.

IFFI 2022 was organised on a grand scale, after a gap of two years
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All the stalls at the IFFI venue and at the Campal promenade were using disposable cutlery. This is one of the major sources of garbage. Most of the time, these items are non-recyclable. Even though it is made of degradable material, its segregation and disposal is a challenge. The best alternative for this is the use of steel plates and cups or any cutlery which can be washed and reused.

Additionally, this year, there were no water refillable counters outside the Inox theatre. It is necessary to have such counters to reduce waste and discard the use of PET bottles, which is another main source of garbage. The piles of garbage dumped behind the Inox, Panjim, spoke about this grim issue.

IFFI 2022 was organised on a grand scale, after a gap of two years
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Talking about sustainability, the IFFI organisers need to re-think how to organise this festival by reducing the use of disposables, and using biodegradable material for decorations. These decorations were situated at different location in the city; banners on electric poles, etc are a complete waste after the event is over.

Electrification of IFFI venues, such as Campal road, could be reduced or switched off late at night in order to save electricity.

Such measures will go a long way in reducing the unnecessary waste that puts a lot of pressure on the city and state exchequer as a whole.

Garbage piled in the backyard of Inox Panjim as on November 28, 2022
Garbage piled in the backyard of Inox Panjim as on November 28, 2022Pic courtesy: Arti Das

Some of the delegates were not happy with the inclusion of an off-shore casino in a promotional IFFI video of a few seconds which was played before the screening of every movie. It showcased the heritage of Goa through heritage buildings and monuments on which movie posters were superimposed. It also included an off-shore casino. It was sad to see that this structure was now a part of our culture and heritage.   

Hopefully, the 54th edition of IFFI will work on these issues and give us another festival which is full of engaging movies and other allied activities related to cinema.

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