Due to the Coronavirus pandemic that has been going on for the past six months, many major film and TV related shoots and events have been postponed. The Academy was one of the first to postpone its annual event i.e. The Oscars. The BAFTAs and the Golden Globes followed suit. Now, while the Toronto International Film Festival is still on track to do a socially-distanced even in September, the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM) has rescheduled its dates.
The IFFM announced that this year’s festival will move from August to late 2020 due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Going into the further detail, the press release stated that while keeping proper public health in focus, the festival will have a compact schedule spanning from October 30 to November 7. The festival is retaining the Short Film Competition and the popular dance competition for now and the much anticipated Gala will take place in 2021.
Previously, the festival has hosted masterclasses with acclaimed stars like Raju Hirani, Rani Mukerji, Karan Johar, Rima Das, Zoya Akhtar, Onir, Vijay Sethupathi, Nag Ashwin, Kabir Khan, and many others. This year the IFFM has created a Film Club where fans of Indian movies can enroll for a virtual masterclass with leading filmmakers which will be moderated by Rajeev Masand. It will work like a book club where the participants will be asked to watch a classic film and then talk with the filmmaker about it. Registrations are open right now and will accommodate 100 early bird users.
IFFM Festival Director Mitu Bhowmick Lange said,
“This is a unique intimate way for film lovers to stay engaged, entertained and educated while at home in these unprecedented times. We already have a strong line up of filmmakers from various parts of India. Well-known film journalist Rajeev Masand will moderate the session as heopens the film and its maker to a world of questions from curious fans.”
Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley said,
“Social distancing doesn’t mean social disconnection and through the screen we can continue to be inspired by stories and perspectives from across the globe. I applaud the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne team for its commitment to continuing to bring the IFFM spirit to film lovers and for pivoting to a new model for 2020 in response to these challenging times.”
In 2019, the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne celebrated its tenth anniversary and Shah Rukh Khan was awarded an honorary doctorate. In February this year, IFFM hosted an event in Mumbai where Khan awarded the four-year scholarship named after him to Gopila Kottantharayil Bhasi from Thrissur, Kerala. Here’s to hoping that the king shows up during this year’s festival as well even if it is virtual in nature.
Cover image courtesy: Indian Film Festival of Melbourne/Hardly Anonymous