Iran's Beautiful bags Golden Peacock

| 09 December 2004 22:58 IST

Iranian film "Shahre Ziba" (Beautiful City), directed by Asghar Farhadi, was awarded the Rs.500,000 ($11,000) Golden Peacock here Thursday on the concluding day of the 35th International Film Festival of India (IFFI).

Thai movie "Beautiful Boxer" by Ekacha Uekrongtham won the Rs.250,000 ($5,500) Silver Peacock, while Russian film "Old Woman" and Iranian actor Faramarz Gharibian won Special Jury prizes, also worth Rs.250,000.

This year's jury, headed by south Indian filmmaker Mani Ratnam, included German Oscar winner Florian Gallenberger, Italian film critic Irene Bignardi, noted African artist and musician Moussa Sene Absa and popular Egyptian actor Mahmoud Kabil.

Goa meanwhile got its own prize, with Information & Broadcasting Minister Jaipal Reddy promising to hold the festival here again next year.

The 10-day event showcased some 200 movies under the "Cinema of the World", "Indian Panorama", "Asian Competition", "Mainstream Cinema", "Retrospective", "Tributes" and "24X7" sections.

Fifteen movies participated in the Asian Competition section, including two each from India, China, Israel, Russia and Sri Lanka and one each from Bangladesh, Hong Kong, Iran, Malaysia and Thailand.

The category "24X7" was to encourage budding filmmakers. Youngsters below 24 were given just a day to make films, which could be of 24 seconds to 24 minutes in duration.

"We will be back here in Goa next year", he said without spelling the status of Goa as the permanent venue for IFFI.

Screening of the controversial film 'Alexander' by Oliver Stone and an award presentation ceremony with actress Preity Zinta as the special guest marked the closing ceremony.

A musical concert by Goa's musical icon Remo, pop singer Hema Sardesai and internationally acclaimed drummer Bondo, along with various Goan artists, was also held on the occasion.

Over 4000 delegates, including 150 from foreign countries, participated in the event. A total of 175 films from 48 countries besides 40 films from Indian Panaroma section were screened during the 10-day event.

The choice of films, however, raised a lot queries. The international jury headed by Mani Ratnam, also observed that though it was a good idea to limit entries to the Asian competition section, organisers had the responsibility of ensuring that the films selected were of "high quality".

"It was necessary to make a clear statement that though the competition section was limited in geography, it was not limited in terms of quality", Mehboob Kabir, member of the international jury said here today.

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