The clash of the Film Fests
[dropcap]And [/dropcap]so it’s that time of the year when we take stock of all the fab films we’ve watched, the painful ones we’ve endured and count all the precious minutes of our lives we’ve dedicated to standing in queues at the film fests, eavesdropping on filmy gossip, gyan and nothings, while we try to catch a bite in between two shows.
It got me thinking. (oh yes, serious words, these) Every film fest brings with it the same feeling of anticipation, the annual meet-up with ‘film-fest friends’, an eager wait for the line up, lots of Googling (again, we hope to replace that word with Pandolin-ing very very soon) and reading up on different cast and crew from around the world. And whether it’s combating the stubborn Mumbai traffic or the Goan sussegad, here’s my two pence of how the country’s biggest film fests fared this year.
Our very own MIFF 2012 v/s IFFI 2012, if you may. (We can assure you there’s going be a third one next year * wink wink *)
There are two kinds of people waiting in queue for IFFI tickets in November. Those who’ve attended the MIFF in October, and those who haven’t. And let me assure you, that those who have, very kindly let all those who haven’t, know about the movies they’re about to watch.
So here’s the scene. At IFFI 2012, Haneke’s Amour was a major draw but was MIA for the first week. Don’t worry, said one delegate, you’ve already seen it at MIFF, haven’t you? When his question drew a half-guilty, half-embarrassed and totally jealous stare from his non MIFF-attendee friend, the delegate sniggered. Well, you should have, this year’s MIFF line up was killer.
We loved the exciting line up of films this year at the MIFF. Special brownie points for the live band playing along with India’s first silent films as a part of the 100 years of cinema celebrations.
No one covers Indian cinema like IFFI does. Which isn’t saying much as a lot is left to desire. The non-fiction section, however, is a blast. On the other hand, this years opening and closing film at IFFI was, wait for it, legendary. When David Womark, producer of Life of Pi (You’d have know if you’d read the Making of Life of Pi –here) announced that the opening show audience are the very first to watch the movie in the world, whoa- the stampede was worth it!
Then again, Anupam Kher did proudly say the same thing for the opening film of MIFF, Silver Linings Playbook. You know, that movie with that guy dancing and girl behaving all weird.
You get the idea.
MIFF is fun. Movie lovers, professionals, aspirants, students. It’s good to see a mix of movie lovers throng the theatres for their fix of seriously amazing cinema.
On the other hand, IFFI is- business like. Everyone you meet there is someone. Producers (the unofficial lowest-rung-of-IFFI-goers. I’ve no place to store the hundred-odd producers business cards I gathered there!), directors, actors, technicians, IFFI is a goldmine for networking in cinema. And that means, be prepared to hear a commentary on behind-the-scenes while watching a film. Everyone knows almost everyone at IFFI, and that’s not always a good thing.
IFFI does open its doors to the public too, and its limited passes are sold out within the first half hour. It’s amazing to see the audience rub shoulders with filmmakers. The enthusiasm rubs off on you!
And then again, IFFI-goers do things like (INSERT THE KLIP STORY HERE). The inside story is that the movie was introduced at IFFI thanks to it’s success at MIFF. Audience v/s Professionals? Well, +1 for the former, anyday!
This one’s going to be unfair.
While at MIFF, we look around for places to grab a chai and something to eat that will fill the stomach and not empty the pocket in the process, at IFFI it’s wonderland. Food, beer, beaches and movies. Oooh, need we say more?
With a sprawling venue with 7 screens and 2 more across the road, Goa spoils you for choice at IFFI. The food is plenty, fantastic and easy on the pocket, the outdoors lure you with events as exciting as the movies being screened. (ok, almost.) With dedicated Movie Village housing movie lovers on the beach, how can the ambience even compare to the space-crunched MIFF, where delegates are locked out of NCPA and Inox without tickets.
However, we must say thanks to MIFF for roping in NCPA as a venue. A 1000-seater is an awesome gift to delegates, while at IFFI the screens are plenty, the seats aren’t.
And again, with NFDC’s Film Bazaar and the informal chai-and-conversations club at IFFI, there’s fabulous insight available at the IFFI through press conferences, festival publications and brochures and master classes. MIFF, you listening?
This one’s going to be close.
Who should top the most-chaotic film fest?
The haphazardly organized MIFF, where delegates braved the rush hour, only to arrive in town and be denied passes for the festival as “the red carpet for the opening ceremony has begun!” Or IFFI, where one needs to queue up and book tickets, but might be greeted by someone already sitting on your booked seat?
MIFF has stampedes, oh yes, but this year’s stampede to get into Life of Pi brought IFFI goers too close for comfort.
MIFF screwed up bad with the screenings of many ‘key’ shows, like Amour and an entire day of Italian cinema at Liberty was cancelled due to the lack of subtitles, but made up for it with a good spread of shows and many well thought of repeats. We love that the popular films played at NCPA. Thank You!
At IFFI, the shows were poorly planned, many were repeated too often and some not at all.
IFFI’s idea to issue a limited number of tickets to delegates and then club two shows together as one is painful, as you might miss out on a show you want to watch just because the first one is more popular, leaving the second feature playing to an empty theatre. On the other hand MIFF’s mad scramble for tickets, after the already mad scramble for passes, put a lot of people off the film festival for good. It didn’t help that the festival had initially sent out a mail introducing a system to book tickets online, alas IFFI, only to retract it within minutes. Oh well.
I’m nostalgic writing this! Can’t wait for the madness to begin all over next year, although we could do with a lot less chaos. What say?