Monday, November 20, 2017

Everything you need to know about attending IFFi

I could have called this article the “ultimate guide to attending the International film festival of India,” but I didn’t want it to sound cocky, but after reading it I hope you feel that way.
Films like food, help us understand the socio cultural vibe of a place. Food for me will always be the best place to discover a country, state , locality or even a religion, but films come in a close second.

IFFI is not just about movies, it is about stories from around the world. Last year I saw a film about the public health system in Nether lands (I Daniel Blake) and one about a woman instagramer in Saudia Arabia who hides her face(barrakah meets barrakah), IFFI to me is about travelling to lands I haven’t yet travelled to, meeting people and understanding cultures while sitting in a darkened hall, and that’s why I write about a film festival on my travel blog. A film festival is the quickest way to travel the world.

I have been attending IFFI in Goa for 4 consecutive years now, and over the past few years have gathered few tips and tricks on the way to finally have the most paisa vasool experience of the film festival, but even before I started attending IFFI as a cine enthusiast delegate, I have been a secret admirer of it from afar for 10 years now.


So, now that you are convinced about attending IFFi, you might wonder...

I love movies, but can anyone attend IFFI?

Yes! Absolutely. For years, I thought IFFI was only for the film walas; people who attended film school, or work as actors, or in some way related to the movies. Anyone can attend as a ‘cine enthusiast’ provided you register. How do you register? Just fill in an online form at IFFIgoa.org somewhere in October , and the process is tedious the first time around, because you have to scan in your proof of address, and proof of identification, but in later years it is a breeze because you have already done it once. There is a paragraph where you need to fill in your credentials, and that’s the one that had me stumped for years! Then I just filled “ I love movies, I watch a movie every other week, and I also write film reviews on my facebook profile.” So, yes honestly you can write anything, that you belong to a film appreciation club (of one) or anything.

Can I register at the venue?

No. You have to preregister, read above answer how.  They don’t give away delegate passes on site. But, you can get day delegate passes. That pretty much allows you entry for that day , and movies featuring on that day. But, you don’t get the awesome freebie bag, and movie literature that goes with it, or the cool badge. For two years, I did a day delegate pass at Rs 300 a day, Until I gathered enough courage to fill the online form and pay Rs 1000 for 7 day pass in 2014. I don’t want you to make the same mistake , thus the blog.



Great ! I registered. Now what?
Now, you get a mail, with one code to collect your Badge , and the kit. You can collect it on the first day of the festival, or a day prior. You will also get a login ID and a password, for you to do online login, where you can see all the movies there are, read reviews and see the schedule of movies. You cannot show up at the hall without a ticket. You don’t need to pay to buy the movie tickets, but you still need the pre booked ticket. Ticket bookings start a day in advance, do it online, or go to INOX near the ESG building and get them there.
last years movie stash. 

There are so many movies , how do I choose?
Ah, now my tips. There is so much and so little time. You get to get tickets for three movies a day, that means 21 movies in 7 days. At 1000 rs for 21 movies, you have already gotten yourself an awesome deal.But, if you follow some of my tips you can squeeze in 5 movies a day as well. Here are my top tips on choosing which movies to watch .
a.       Award winning movies: Find out which movies made the cut at other film festivals, and try and watch those. (they will almost always be worth your time)follow guys like Sachin Chatte, or the IFFi website to know which award winning movies are playing at IFFi that year.

b.      Watch foreign films: Hindi, marathi, Hollywood movies will always be available on the small screen, television or on Hotstar , Netflix. Watch something which you cannot otherwise Netflix, like Iranian movie about a lawyer who becomes an Acid victim, or the first Saudi Arabian movie about Instagram, visit an exotic land, through their movie.
c.       Once you see the schedule choose movies according to the time that suits you, say you want to watch something at 5 in the evening, and there are 7 venues (7 movies to choose from), check the IMDB ratings of all the movies, and go for the highest one. Or watch all there trailers on youtube and choose the one which looks the most interesting. ( I do this every night during IFFI, for the next days films)
d.      Choose movies playing in the smaller halls : Now here is a top tip. There are 7 halls for IFFi, but not all of them seat equal number of people. Some halls have a seating of around 1000 people (kala academy) while others seat around 100 (maquinex palace), so buy tickets for the small halls. Why? Because 5 minutes before a movie is to be screened, the hall is opened for non ticket holders. A big hall like kala academy is rarely filled up and you can be fortunate enough to get in even if you didn’t pre book a ticket.
e.      Ask: Almost everyone at IFFi loves movies, and I have always wondered why we don’t have a people’s choice award at IFFi, but since you have to queue up 15 minutes prior to the movie screening, you meet a lot of people while you wait in line for a movie, or when you are drinking a soda between movies, or while you stand in line to pick up next days tickets. Ask what others saw and what they liked, what was not worth wasting time on. Many of the films are rescreened on other days, and you can always catch it again. this year I am keen on watching the bread winner, but I haven’t gotten the tickets (it's housefull) so will have to wait for it to screen again on day 4, which it is, and hopefully get that.

f.        Ask your media friends: which brings me to my next point. Say you did all the above and realised there is one movie you absolutely must watch, but the tickets are over , remember a show is never housefull. Insider information has it that almost 20 % of tickets are kept for media , and I have enough media friends to know that the almost NEVER attend any movies! why? Because they are busy getting interviews of directors, and film actors or clicking pictures to actually spend 110 odd minutes in a movie hall. So ask them if they will get you the tickets in their name. (PS I hope I get a media pass next year, so I don’t have to do that, but until then this is a top tip)

So anything else I need to know? Like what do I wear , or what should I eat, can I get my own food, and where do I stay…?

Whoa, so many question! Why not ask these in the comments below, and I will get back to all of you , but very quickly:

WEAR: comfortable shoes, a lot of running between venues, and a lot of standing around in queues. Wear something nice of you want to get noticed.

EAT: there are a few staqlls around, and its fun to catch up with friends between films, but honestly during IFFI, I am all about living breathing eating movies, and since I am working full time while attending, I miss out on dinner most of the time. I finish work by 7 so we watch back to back movies of 8 and 10 show, and if I can I catch one in my lunch break at 2 o clock as well. No food or water is allowed in the venues unfortunately.

STAY: stay in Panjim, and if you can there are plenty of hotels, hostels on the road from INOX to Miramar circle, stay on that road , so that you can walk to the venues, becuae public transport in Goa is all but non existent, and hiring a scooter (which I did one year) is very scary, because there is literally no parking available anywhere. But residents of Goa, are sweet enough to give you a lift , especially if you are wearing your delegate badge and are a girl.
my article in the newspaper in 2014


late night movoies after 10 ? yes please! post working two shifts at work, and putting toddler to bed, yes, anything for the IFFI experience.

Any other super tips?
Yes, attend the movies which say world premier, or one where the schedule says has a ‘red carpet’ or ‘cast members’ attending. You get to watch the film with the acors and directors, and after the movie, can ask them questions too. Sometimes get pictures and autographs too.
Attend the Masterclasses, which have a lot of technical details for film students and filmmakers, but also for the general public, like this year they have something on Commercial cinema by Farah Khan .

An IFFi supplement paper called the Peacock is an invaluable companion, while you wait in line , or are seated in the halls, and waiting between films, or even as a souvenir to take back of the film festival. It has interviews, and movie tidbits, and all things IFFI.

Hope you found the tips useful. IFFI is one of the best times of the year for me read about it HERE, I have previously written about what to EAT, and what to WEAR at IFFI.