‘Ayam bandhurayam neti ganana laghuchetasam, Udaracharitanam tu vasudhaiva kutumbakam’
(Extract from the Vedic scripture Maha Upanishad, meaning ‘One is my brother and the other is not – is the thinking of a narrow-minded person. For those who are broad-minded, liberals, or noble people, the entire world is a one big family.’)
Nothing exemplifies the Indian notion of non-violence and peaceful coexistence as ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’, the phrase in which the IFFI and its theme are rooted.
The 1st edition of IFFI was organized by the Films Division, Government of India, with the patronage of the first Prime Minister of India. Held in Mumbai from 24 January to 1 February 1952, the Festival was subsequently taken to Madras, Delhi and Calcutta. In all it had about 40 features and 100 short films. In Delhi, the IFFI was inaugurated by Prime Minister Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru on 21 February 1952.
Since its beginnings in 1952 the IFFI has been the biggest event of its type in India. Subsequent IFFI’s were held in New Delhi. From the 3rd edition in January 1965, IFFI’s became competitive. In 1975 the Filmotsav, non-competitive and to be held in other filmmaking cities in alternate years, was introduced. Later, Filmotsavs were merged in IFFI’s. In 2004 the IFFI was moved to Goa. Since then the IFFI has been an annual event and competitive.
The IFFI aims at providing a common platform for the cinemas of the world to project the excellence of the film art; contributing to the understanding and appreciation of film cultures of different nations in the context of their social and cultural ethos; and promoting friendship and cooperation among people of the world.
The IFFI’s founding principles centre on discovery, promotion and support of filmmaking of all genres – thus bringing together the diversity of the forms, aesthetics and contents.
The Festival is an assembly of people and nations where the world’s greatest film artistes hold hands with emerging talents on an equal footing. It is also a forum for film professionals to communicate face to face with film lovers around the world.
IFFI aims to nurture, encourage and inspire Indian cinema and introduce it to the world outside as well as the many audiences that coexist in this vast and diverse country. With rapid technology changes, the importance of this festival will only grow as it will bring viewers and filmmakers together and expose them to emerging technologies and the challenge of the emerging new media.
New interactions are envisaged; new strategies would be formulated so that with each edition of the IFFI, the viewing experience is enhanced, enlarged and enriched.