By Siddhi Jain
New Delhi, Jan 17 (IANSlife) The cultural and entertainment scenario of Goa is definitely changed due to Covid-19 pandemic, says Amit Satija, Secretary, Government of Goa and an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer, adding that organisers of the the 51st International Film Festival of Goa (IFFI) – which kicked off on Saturday in Goa – had to adjust and adapt to the situation.
“The Covid-19 pandemic altered our behavioural pattern, right from the way we interact with people, socialise to the way we conduct events. While comparing this year’s IIFI to the previous edition, which was its golden jubilee edition, our approach was entirely different, we aimed to include as many activities as possible and engage the maximum number of people. During the previous edition, we had extra venues, 2 open air theatres, and successfully took cinema to different talukas by way of mobile vans and had screened films in different auditoriums. We had various activities at the promenade hall, and numerous cultural activities, interactive sessions, and venues such as the food courts, etc, for people to bond,” Satija told IANSlife.
Comparing the current edition to the previous one, he added: “This year, however, we had to scale down activities that encourage a gathering of numerous people in close areas. Compared to last year we don’t have open air screenings and other peripheral activities; however our endeavor is to make the 51st edition of IFFI as memorable as possible and to reach out to more and more people through the digital platform launched in this year’s IFFI.”
The film festival has an international jury – Pablo Cesar (Argentina), Prasanna Vithanage (Sri Lanka), Abu Bakr Shawky (Austria), Priyadarshan (India) and Rubaiyat Hossain (Bangladesh), and features a selection of 23 feature and 20 non-feature films will be showcased in its Indian Panorama section.
Satija is also the CEO of the Entertainment Society of Goa, which has been working towards making Goa a cultural and cinema hub since 2005. According to the spokesperson, the Society is also encouraging diverse art forms by way of supporting all such activities. “Since inception of ESG, we have been organising other film festivals also in Goa thereby encouraging students and professionals in honing their skills in the film industry. This has also boosted the film and entertainment industry in Goa. Last year, we signed an MOU with Goa college of Arts with the aim of supporting students in different fields of filmmaking, to consider it as a career.”
This year, the Society has inaugurated a renovated ESG Multiplex, which was originally built in 2004, and is now being launched with new technology and a new screen size.
Speaking to IANSlife about the common person’s engagement with the arts and cinema during these difficult times, Satija agrees that these forms became a lifeline in these lonely times.
“It can be said that during these trying times, one has turned to arts and cinema for respite from the loneliness the pandemic brought. People took online classes, whether it was to learn the guitar, keyboard or painting, people started expressing themselves. This pandemic made people dwell into themselves to find their hidden talent. However, there were various types of platforms that also got developed in terms of content which is being released through OTT, abundant of YouTube videos too started surfacing. This further democratised the process of entertainment in which now a person is not just limited to a particular place or a particular set up, or an ecosystem.”
“Furthermore, I’d like to emphasise on the fact that in these difficult times because we definitely needed some kind of emotional support to sail through, it was art and cinema that kept us going,” he concluded.
(Siddhi Jain can be contacted at [email protected])