IFFI 2023 winners: Persian film ‘Endless Borders’ wins Golden Peacock, Rishab Shetty honoured for ‘Kantara’

Additionally, Hollywood actor-producer Michael Douglas was bestowed the Satyajit Ray Lifetime Achievement Award at the closing ceremony of IFFI, while ‘Panchayat’ Season 2 clinched the inaugural award for best web series

Updated - November 28, 2023 10:04 pm IST

Published - November 28, 2023 09:17 pm IST

A still from ‘Endless Borders’, Rishab Shetty

A still from ‘Endless Borders’, Rishab Shetty

Persian film Endless Borders by director Abbas Amini was feted with the prestigious Golden Peacock Award for Best Film at the 54th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in Goa.

The nine-day festival concluded with a grand closing ceremony and the announcement of the awards at the Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Indoor Stadium in Panaji on Tuesday evening.

A total of 15 films comprising 12 International and 3 Indian films competed for the prestigious Golden Peacock.

Veteran filmmaker Shekhar Kapur was the Chairperson of this year’s international competition jury that also included Spanish cinematographer Jose Luis Alcaine, French film producers Jerome Paillard and Catherine Dussart and Australian film producer Helen Leake.

Endless Borders charts the journey of Ahmad, an exiled teacher in Iran whose destiny collides with a Hazara Afghan family feeling the rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan.

In a citation, the Jury said, “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. Film festivals, after all, are about crossing borders and in the case of this film, the director has crossed political borders at the cost of his own freedom.”

Iranian actor Pouria Rahimi Sam was named as Best Actor for his role in Endless Borders. The Jury chose Rahimi for “for the richness of acting and interacting with his partners, children and adults in challenging shooting conditions.”

Bulgarian filmmaker Stephan Komandarev won the Silver Peacock for Best Director for his film Blaga’s Lessons. The film centers on Blaga, a widow whose moral compass is shaken after falling victim to telephone scammers, highlighting the vulnerable lives of today’s senior citizens in post-communist Bulgaria.

A still from ‘Blaga’s Lessons’

A still from ‘Blaga’s Lessons’

French actress Melanie Thierry was honoured with the Silver Peacock for Best Actor (Female) for the period thriller Party of Fools.

Kannada actor and filmmaker Rishab Shetty bagged the Special Jury Award for his pan-Indian blockbuster Kantara. Released in 2022, Kantara explores the conflict between tribals and encroachers in a fictional village in Dakshina Kannada. A first-look poster of the film’s much-anticipated prequel was recently unveiled.

Kurdish filmmaker Reger Azad Kaya received the award for Best Debut Feature Film of a Director for the drama When the Seedlings Grow. The film portrays a day in the life of a yogurt seller and his daughter and how their paths intersect with a lost boy, against the backdrop of the conflict in Syria.

Popular comedy drama PanchayatSeason 2 won the inaugural OTT Award for Best Web Series. The category has been introduced in IFFI to acknowledge and encourage India’s thriving streaming sector.

Additionally, Hollywood actor-producer Michael Douglas was bestowed the Satyajit Ray Lifetime Achievement Award at the closing ceremony of IFFI. The award was presented by Goa Chief Minister Dr. Pramod Sawant along with actor Ayushmann Khurrana.

Douglas, known for iconic American films such as Fatal Attraction (1987), Wall Street (1988), and Basic Instinct (1992), attended the closing stages of IFFI with his wife and fellow actor Catherine Zeta-Jones and their son Dylan.

“With everything going on in our world today this festival is a reminder of the magic of movie making. Cinema is one of the few mediums that has the power to unite and transform us,” Douglas said, thanking Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Minister for Information and Broadcast (I&B) Anurag Singh Thakur for the honour.

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