In India, the International Film Festival was for the first time organised in 1952 in Bombay. It was a non-competitive festival. The fortnight long festival was held with effect from 24th January 1952. Twenty three countries including India participated, in addition UNO also participated. 52 feature films and 115 other films (documentaries, scientific films, cartoons, puppet and Education and children films) were screened. A special feature of the inaugural function of the festival was the screening of the first film shown in Bombay by the Lumiere Brothers in 1896. The construction of open-air theatres for screening the films was another special feature of the festival.
Second IFFI: – The second International film festival of India was held in Delhi, from 27th October to 2nd November 1961. This festival was also non-competitive.
Third IFFI:-The third International film festival of India was held from 8th – 21st January 1965 at Delhi. The festival was inaugurated by the then President Radha Krishanan. The third festival happened to be the first competitive festival ever held in India. It was graded ‘A’ category by the Paris – based Federation International de Producers de Films (FIAFP). With this recognition the festival in India came on par with Cannes, Berlin, Venice, Karlovy Vary and Moscow festivals.
Fourth IFFI:- The fourth International film festival of India was held in Delhi from 5th – 18thDecember 1969 and was inaugurated by the then President V. V. Giri. Thirty four countries participated in the fourth IFFI. The Government of India instituted national film award in this edition of the Festival. Thirty such awards were classified under three sections- films as art, films as communication and special shorts films.
Fifth IFFI:- The Fifth International film festival of India was held at Delhi from 30th December 1974 to 12th January 1975. Following the international recognition of 3rd IFFI, India adopted, at its fifth festival, a permanent insignia. This comprises a representation of the peacock, India’s national bird, with a permanent motto of the festival ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ (The whole world is a family). The same year it was also decided to hold a non-competitive festival of films (Filmotsav) alternating with IFFI.
While the Filmotsavs were orgnaised at major film – producing centres of India, IFFI was held in New Delhi only.
The significant change in the 12th IFFI held in 1989 was that it was made non-competitive following a decision taken in August 1988 by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting that festivals in future will be non-competitive and all festivals would be called International Film Festival of India (IFFI). Hence the festival held in Calcutta was called the 21st IFFI instead of Filmotsav 90. Another important decision taken in June 1989 was that the IFFI will hence – forth be of 10 days duration only.
Then onward the venue of IFFI kept moving to major cities across the country. The 27th IFFI was held in New Delhi. After many years, the competition was revived on a limited scale. The section on ‘Asian Women Directors’ was made competitive.
The last IFFI held in New Delhi was its 34th edition from October 9-19, 2003. The 35th IFFI was held in Goa for the first time from November 29 to December 9, 2004, making Goa the permanent venue. Since then IFFI is being held in Goa every year.
(Based on information available from DFF, PIB releases and RRTD)
Picture of the peacock taken from the PIB press release of 3rd IFFI
Picture of the peacock taken from the PIB press release of 4th IFFI