Goa film fest opens to packed audience

Aimed at showcasing the best of Indian cinema, the country's flagship international film event — the 43rd international film festival of India (IFFI) —opened amid tight security cover.

IFFI, which is expected to host a record number — of over 12,000 delegates (30% more than last year) — is already a commercial success having generated around R7 crore from sponsors and the government.

The event gains significance as the country is celebrating 100 years of Indian cinema. According to a senior official in the organising committee, IFFI is a major driver of tourism in Goa. "The amount of publicity which comes with IFFI translates into actual tourist arrivals in India from both outside and within the country," said an official associated with IFFI.

This year, IFFI expects participants from Australia, Poland, Canada and some East European countries. Oscar award-winning director Ang Lee's film Life of Pi was the opening film that drew a packed crowd.

 Speaking on the occasion, information and broadcasting minister Manish Tewari said: "The government is taking a number of steps to nurture the Indian film industry and to promote India as a destination for film shooting. To commemorate this impressive march of Indian cinema, the government of India has been organising various events within India and abroad."

In order to promote the beaches of Goa, IFFI will be screening films at over half-dozen well-known beaches, the official said. "The aim is to provide un-hindered access quality cinema to the common masses as well as tourist in Goa. Last year, a similar exercise was undertaken in football fields," he said.

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