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Annual film jamboree IFFI has not benefited Goa's Konkani film culture

The Hawk
August14/ 2022

Panaji: International Film Festival of India (IFFI) came to Goa in 2004 and glittered the capital city with lights and infrastructure, however, local actors and filmmakers are still looking for the hope that film culture would get a boost and people would come to theatres to watch Konkani films produced locally.
Stakeholders from the local film industry say that IFFI has not helped them to propel.

According to them, if people come to watch Konkani films in large numbers, then they would not even require assistance from the government to produce films. Presently, the film production has come down and a maximum of two to three films are being produced, though there are more than 10 filmmakers.
Actor Rajdeep Naik told IANS that the film culture in Goa came to a standstill since IFFI has come as the government is only promoting IFFI and films shown during the event.

"The government has not released our assistance (for film production) since 2016. The budget is allotted but money is not disbursed. At least late Manohar Parrikar (former Chief Minister) would have done something if he would have been with us today. Now they are doing nothing. We are suffering as we produce films and do not get the money from the assistance scheme," Naik said.

"If money under the scheme is given regularly through the Entertainment Society of Goa (ESG), it can be invested and recovered. Even if people go and watch Konkani films in theaters, then there would be no need for a government scheme. For that film culture should be developed first," he said.

Filmmaker Jitendra Shikerkar said that people have not taken Konkani cinema seriously. "We have to spend more on creating the Digital Cinema Package before releasing it in theaters. This is not affordable to us. It becomes very difficult for us," he said, adding that this forces them to release films in drama halls.

"People are not getting the feel of theaters in drama halls. But we can't afford to release films in theaters," he asserted.

"The ESG scheme has started again. Money was disbursed to films produced before 2015... even this year the government has sanctioned Rs 2.5 crore under the scheme. However, there is less support from people. If people come and watch films then we would not require government support," he asserted.

"IFFI has not benefited us, those who come for IFFI do they watch Konkani films? They don't watch our films. Only our audience can support us. They should support Konkani cinema," Shikerkar said.

"Many have commented on social media that they should support Konkani cinemas, but in reality, they don't come. We have a populace of 15 to 16 lakhs, even if two lakh people come to theaters. Then we can produce good films," he added.

He said that a maximum of two cinema productions take place in Goa as investment has become a risk. "We have technical teams, but we are dependent on creating sets and lights from outside (Mumbai)."

Filmmaker Rajesh Pednekar said that government assistance is not coming in time. "I had done my film in 2016, today we are in 2022, but still I have not got my money from the scheme. They don't give priority to our applications," he said.

He said that the disbursement of the scheme should take place at pace. "Actually reimbursement should be done. There is no process here. Even if the provision of two crores is done for this scheme, then it is enough for the films produced in Goa."

He said that Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant should have a meeting with filmmakers and listen. "We have got inspiration from IFFI," he added.

He further said that at least 50,000 people should watch the film to get back the money invested in production.

Similarly, filmmaker Suchita Narvekar said that the politicians are just giving speeches and in reality don't work to implement schemes. "Goan film industry has not benefited from IFFI. We can only watch films in IFFI," she noted.

"Even one lakh people don't come to theaters to watch Konkani films, had such crowd received we would have got encouragement and would have become financially strong," she said.

Narvekar said that the government failed to disperse the amount under the ESG scheme for film production. "The process is lengthy. If someone borrows a loan for film production then he will definitely suffer, which is happening," she said.

Filmmaker Joywin Fernandes said that IFFI has not benefited Konkani films and culture. "We have not benefited out of IFFI. We are not getting proper support from the government. The scheme which was started is also not functioning well. In the future nobody will dare to produce Konkani films if the situation remains as it is," he said.
He said due to rising costs to show films in theaters, he is forced to release films on YouTube.

Chief Minister Pramod Sawant recently said that the state is trying to develop the film culture and film industry in Goa. "We are supporting Konkani and Marathi films. If we get support from all of you, then we will develop film culture well. Goa has given many actors to the Film Industry," Sawant said.

He added that the ESG is working to grow the film culture in Goa.