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The jury has decided but not divulged

As IFFI 2016 comes to a close, it is also time for the jury to decide which films have won the coveted prizes in the respective competition sections. The jury members soeak about their decisions and experiences at the Festival.
Janice Rodrigues| NT BUZZ
Every competition section of every film festival has been through the tough procedure of being scrutinised, discussed and finally come upon a winner, all done by a select group of people called the ‘Jury’. IFFI 2016 has an eclectic mix of filmmakers as the jury, which is not seen often as many a times the juries consist of people who are in the financing side of the business.
Writer and director, Ivan Passer who served as a chairman to the jury opened the press interaction saying that he had a very satisfying experience: “We had 22 films to judge from, some were very good, some were delightful. But the room where we had the screening in was very cold, so that could have affected our judgement. It made me realise how different our world is, with movies from countries all over the world come together; the world is different in culture and language. The entire experience was very good, we had a very good working relationship, and it was a satisfying experience.”
Cinematographer Larry Smith said: “The process was a good one; we came to a common ground and made the process simple. The films were all very different, but we managed to choose one. We were as objective as we could be.”
Filmmaker Nagesh Kukunoor sharing his experience as a jury member said that he had a wonderful working environment and that the sheer diversity of the films was exemplary of what world cinema has to offer. Film and documentary maker, Leila Kilani added that the atmosphere was warm and the thing that amazed her was the kind of storytelling that she saw in all these competition movies.
Yugoslav filmmaker Lordan Zafranovic spoke of the films, saying they were a wonderful set of films and that the language of films brought together the diversities of the whole world. “This jury was unique as it had four directors and one writer, they know the process of filmmaking unlike in other juries where there are financers and producers a part of it and the jury would have no clue about filmmaking, but it’s not the same about the jury here. This was more like a global family,” he added.
When asked how they came to a conclusion, Ivan said he acted as the deciding factor: “we were five people, if two were supporting one film and the others were in support of the other film, then I would cast my vote and thus I would break the tie, we would discuss the film, and come up with a common opinion.”
The jury was ecstatic about the diversity of the films that were screened however, they also pointed out that there were a few similar themes running through the movies. “Several dealt with homosexuality as a subject, but otherwise were very different, another few dealt with the generation gap within families, between tough fathers and children who were very liberal,” said Ivan. Larry Smith added that what he noticed was that filmmaking is an evolving business, “The evolving storytelling, technology used are all common factors that are seen in the films, they are about stronger fundamentals that make it all good works.” Lordan added that the filmmaking process has changed a lot today and that is what he has seen in the films: “compared to what it was in the early years, we have left the old way of making films, we now shoot a lot and take it back to edit.”
Upon being asked to comment of the selection of the films for the competition section, Nagesh Kukunoor responded, “I don’t think we can comment on that, I feel if the pre-selection jury found these films good enough to be a part of the competition we should respect that.” Further commenting on the fact that many of the films chosen were products of debutant directors, he added that “the choice was fantastic.” Ivan was in support of films as a whole saying “there is nothing that can be termed as a bad film. I’ve never seen a bad film; you take back something from every film you watch.”
Leila was asked being a director who is female, what her thoughts were about the films and if there were any gender dynamics within the jury to which her response was curt, “there was no gender issue in our conversations; we were looking at the emotions and the aim of the films. Also if we don’t stop looking at a film as a woman director or a woman issue, it would offend me. They are all films and have to be looked as that.” Speaking about the festival as a whole, Larry said: “It is a very good experience, it is a festival you should be proud of.”
Finally speaking about the selection of the prize winners, without revealing much, Ivan said: “I hope that we didn’t do injustice. When you see a set of films, some impact you more than the others depending on your personal preferences.” Nagesh added saying “There is zero objectivity when it comes to jury decisions. We’ve tried to execute our job to the best of our ability, just to be fair to the person on the other side, as we know what it is to be there.”

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