The Film Federation of India (FFI), the apex body of the film industry, has decided not to participate in activities of the International Film Festival of India in Goa in November to protest its being by-passed and not being called to any meeting of the Steering and other Committees.
In fact, it was informed about the Film Coordination Committee meeting as late as August-end by which time some major discussions that are normally taken at this meeting had already been taken by the Directorate of Film Festivals and IFFI Secretariat.
The Federation in its Annual General Meeting late last week in Mumbai where members from all over India were present unanimously decided that FFI will not participate in any of the activities of IFFI.
FFI has always been an essential component of the Steering Committee and its members actively involved in various other committees and sub-committees such as Theatre, Technical, Hospitality and others. But this has not happened in recent years and 'FFI can only assume that either the committees have been discontinued or FFI has been kept out of them.'
According to FFI President Vinod Lamba, 'it is now learnt that DFF has already taken all major decisions without calling for any joint meeting, or holding any discussions with the FFI; or even informing FFI.'
In fact, in 2011, the time honoured tradition of the Vote of Thanks being delivered by the FFI President at the IFFI opening had been done away with at the level of the DFF 'with no proper and timely information being conveyed formally to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry or FFI.'
The statement added: 'While this callous misadventure may appear to have been nipped in the bud and status quo restored, the deliberate mishandling of affairs at the Inauguration event itself conveyed a greater affront to the persona and position of the FFI President, prompting the Minister (Mrs Ambika Soni) herself to rush on stage to take corrective action.'
The IFFI by its very tenets is a festival held jointly by the Government and the Indian Film Industry, and the Film Federation of India being the apex body of the industry 'has been playing their part with total sincerity and efficiency.'
However, the same cannot be said of the Directorate of Film Festivals which has been persistently neglecting and slighting the FFI, in all matters that were once decided jointly.
FFI said that despite an assurance of remedial action, it seems that the insensitiveness seems to have gathered strength; instead of involving the FFI and through it the industry from the early stages, it seems that the DFF/IFFI Secretariat is bent on sidelining the industry in the major decision making processes, reaching out to it only in times of dire need of correcting embarrassing foul ups. At the same time, he stressed that the FFI has never shied from providing assistance.