Michael Douglas Honored with Lifetime Achievement Award as Festival Concludes

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PANAJI, India, Nov 29, (Agencies): Veteran Hollywood actor and producer Michael Douglas was honored with the Satyajit Ray Lifetime Achievement Award at the 54th International Film Festival of India as it came to a close on Tuesday. The two-time Academy Award winner, 79, said he was “humbled” and with everything going on in the world, the festival was “a reminder of the magic of moviemaking.” “Cinema is one of the few mediums that has the power to unite and transform us. It transcends divisions, whether that be geography, race language, and even time,” he said in his acceptance speech.

“Today our global language of cinema is more meaningful than ever,” Douglas added. “Endless Borders,” an Iranian film directed by Abbas Amini, won the Golden Peacock for best film at the festival held annually in coastal Goa, India’s scenic tourist hotspot. “The film is about how complicated physical borders might be yet nothing can be more complicated than the emotional and moral borders that you impose upon yourself,” the jury said in its citation. The film is about an exiled Iranian teacher in a poor village on the border of Afghanistan and Iran who becomes acquainted with a family fleeing Afghanistan under threat from the Taliban.

“In the context of what’s happening in the world right now, with the amazing conflicts that are going on, with the wars at our borders, it is very important to tell our stories,” said Indian filmmaker Shekhar Kapur, the chair of the international jury who’s directed movies including “Elizabeth” and the recent “What’s Love Got to Do With It?” “If we tell our stories to people and people listen to each other’s stories across borders, across everywhere, we understand each other.” The other members of the international jury were Spanish cinematographer José Luis Alcaine, French producers Jérôme Paillard and Catherine Dussart, and Australian producer Helen Leake. As one of the oldest and most prolific film industries in the world, releasing about 1,500 movies annually, Indian films enjoy a large domestic market. Films in regional Indian languages, most of them rooted in local culture, have also begun to find a foothold on the global stage. Earlier this year, India celebrated two Academy Awards – the high-energy best original song “Naatu Naatu” from the blockbuster Telugu-language action epic “RRR” and best short documentary “The Elephant Whisperers,” which streamed on Netflix

Productions
The Indian government, which organizes the festival, has announced a new incentive plan for foreign film productions to boost global collaborations. Douglas said Indian films were reaching a global audience thanks to the digital revolution and streaming services. “Whatever country you are in, good moviemaking is usually about something personal to your country, and then realizing that it has an international message. Everything is in the material and you have to make it for yourself,” he said during a session earlier Tuesday. The 54th International Film Festival of India opened on Nov 20, with Catching Dust by Stuart Gatt in Goa. Shekhar Kapur an Indian filmmaker served as chairperson of the international jury. This year a new award category ‘Best Web Series (OTT)’ award was introduced at the festival. 32 entries in 10 languages from 15 Over-the-top media service platforms were selected to compete for this award.

The festival closed on Nov 28 with the American biographical sports drama film The Featherweight by Robert Kolodny. In the ceremony Hollywood actor-producer Michael Douglas was honored with the Satyajit Ray Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Persian film Endless Borders by Abbas Amini, received the Golden Peacock Award for the best film; whereas Stephan Komandarev won the Silver Peacock Award for best director for the Bulgarian film Blaga’s Lessons. The opening ceremony on 20 November 2023, hosted by Karishma Tanna and Aparshakti Khurana was aired live on Colors TV and JioCinema. In this edition over 270 films from 105 countries are screened. Madhuri Dixit was felicitated with the ‘Special Recognition for Contribution to Bharatiya Cinema’ award at the festival. It was also streamed live on YouTube. The festival closed on Nov 28 with The Featherweight an American biographical sports drama film on professional boxer Willie Pep by Robert Kolodny. Mandira Bedi hosted the closing ceremony, which was also streamed live on YouTube, in addition to broadcast on Colors TV channel

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