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International jury reflects on cinema

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With a culturally diverse and illustrious jury, the International Film Festival of India 2017 has been playing out on a grand global scale. Jury chairman of IFFI, National Award-winning Indian filmmaker, Muzaffar Ali, who has been associated with the festival for a long time, began the International jury press conference by acknowledging that IFFI has grown in content, size, quality and participation this year.

Talking about his experience this year, Muzaffar said: “We are looking forward to a great quantum leap in this realm of festivals which showcase world cinema. For it was a great experience to work with such distinguished jury members, and right from the beginning it was like a beautiful sense of bonding that we created. It was like a big orchestra coming together and each one of us shared moments of our lives through these films that we have seen. It was a very cinematic experience.”

He added that each jury member shared a lot of beautiful moments from their life through the films that they were seeing.

Associated with the prestigious Asia Pacific Screen Awards and the only female juror, Maxine Williamson said: “It’s really a privilege to be at IFFI. I have been following this festival strongly for the last ten years. We as a jury had a wonderful time and journey. The films were strong. I was really happy to see regional cinema in the competition. It is a strong competition and so it’s difficult for us to come to a decision.”

When asked about the experience and difficulty in grading films, Maxine said: “The experience was a very positive one. The films were shown in great quality so all of the films in the international competition should be very proud for being selected in the festival. Also there was significance of time and discussion amongst us about each film’s grade.”

Academy Award-winning production designer, Roger Christian lent his insight on the importance of festivals and said: “I do a lot of festivals. I do as many as I can because with the demise in the world of independent cinema, it’s very hard for any filmmaker especially new ones to get their films shown. The only place is a festival now. A festival exposes films. Like an echo, the word-of-mouth goes out and it gets picked up.”

Talking about his experience at IFFI, multiple award-winning Russian cinematographer, Vladislav Opelyants said: “It was a great experience. My English is not very good but we are talking in cinematographer’s language. That language is only of emotions. Thank you India, I’m glad to be here.”

Acclaimed Israeli actor and director, Tzahi Grad talked about getting to know other cultures through the festival. On being asked about judging films that belong to different cultures the filmmaker, he said: “First of all we look at it as cinema. How it affects you. It’s easy to feel it. Many films had several ideas that managed to switch our opinions.”

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