Film Federation of India has been the Government’s umbilical link to the Indian Film Industry. Ever since one can remember, it has been customary for the Government to consult Film Federation of India before taking any decisions that could have adverse repercussions on the existing relationship, and/or the business of film making.
Till the turn of the 21st Century and, perhaps, a major portion of its first decade the Government regularly turned to the Federation in all matters concerning films including festivals and international cultural relations. Inadvertent oversights were quickly seen to and always remedied to mutual satisfaction.
Unfortunately, what was once a strong bond gathering strength for over half a century or so, is being severely tested, strained and threatened in the second decade of the 21st century. Today, Film Federation of India is either being ignored and/or sidelined. Without prejudice, it is our belief, that the top echelon in the Government is not fully conversant with the ground realities and is being mis-guided, or biased by information acquired by superficial research, information and from over-zealous, self-seeking individuals. At times from Non film trade bodies.
Case in point, being the current heartburn due to the neglect vis-à-vis IFFI 2015. For the first time in history, FFI has no representation in the IFFI Steering Committee; not even its President. This, added to the callous, insulting behaviour meted out to the FFI President and Vice President at IFFI 2014, has been a great source of embarrassment and shame. As if this was not enough the FFI President’s speech at the inaugural function was subjected to scrutiny. For over 4 decades FFI has been treated as a partner in IFFI/Filmostsav.
Government used to set up various committees, namely technical, theatrical, function, et al, which always included FFI delegates to guide and advise on various activities of the festival. No such committees exist now and if they do exist we are not aware of them. This smacks of Government’s total apathy towards FFI. A ministry official took exceptional delight in harassing FFI’s representatives in connection with handing over the invites.
In a hurriedly called Film Industry Coordination Committee Meeting by the Festival Directorate on October 27th, attended by FFI members, members of the Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE) - an important component of AIFEC, Indian Film and Television Directors Association (IFTDA), ire and resentment was expressed on Government’s callous attitude towards film industry members which also included cine employees. In the last festival a group of 200 cine employees was taken to attend the festival on invitation of the Festival Director in the Film Industry Coordination Committee Meeting. On landing in Goa, the group wasn’t even given delegate passes to attend the festival. Subsequent correspondence sent to the DFF by IFTDA remained unreplied.
A festival that is meant to celebrate film, ignores the film makers. Inadequate number of invitations for events; sometimes even none. Seating in far flung corners of the auditorium; while choice seats are give to non-film, administrative and other staff not connected with film making has been a sore point for last few years.
As a mark of protest against the step-motherly treatment meted out to FFI, as well as to the members FWICE it has been jointly declared that FFI and FWICE will not participate in IFFI this year. As per the missive given by FWICE, the Cine Artists will also not participate. The Producers, however, will not be restrained from entering their films at the festival as it is not our intent to hamper the functioning of the festival. This non-cooperation is also to extend moral support to the writers and film makers who have returned their awards.
Though some members insisted to totally boycott the festival, we are only resorting to the Gandhian way of ``ASAHYOG ANDOLAN ’’.
For Film Federation of India
J. P. Chowksey