Every year around this time, Goa is wrapped up in a whirlwind of movies and celebration thanks to the International Film Festival of India, or IFFI. For little over a decade now, Goa has played host to this iconic festival, with throes of people coming to Goa from across India and the world, to celebrate the amazing art that is film making. If you’re one of those people reading this right now, having come in from a different state, or maybe even a different country, chances are you’ve been planning this for a while and have everything sorted out. But on the off chance that you still need some help in getting around, here’s everything you need to know about IFFI 2019.
What makes this year special?
The first thing you need to know is that this year is no ordinary year for IFFI. In fact, this year, IFFI celebrates it’s Golden Jubilee which is 50 years of this amazing festival – and it’s an honour to have it celebrated in Goa. Today being day one means that there will be a grand opening event at the Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Stadium in Bambolim. The event is being hosted by renowned filmmaker Karan Johar and inaugurated by Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan who is the guest of honour. Also present at the event will be yet another legend – Rajnikanth, who is being conferred with the ‘Icon Of Golden Jubilee’ award. This year there will be over 200 films screened, of which 24 of them are already in the running for the Oscars. This year, there is also a special showing of 50 films by 50 women directors in celebration of IFFIs 50 years.
There are a number of key venues to keep in mind while attending movies at IFFI 2019. The first of these venues is Kala Academy. Not only is it a venue of film screenings (there are 4 screens set up to play movies), but it is the epicentre for all things related to registration. In case you haven’t signed up as a delegate or you need to collect your delegate kit, all that is taken care of at Kala Academy. You can also purchase movie tickets from Kala Academy as well. Throughout the festival, multiple films will be screened here as well, along with workshops and masterclasses.
After sorting out your delegate passes and kit bag, it’s time to head to the other venues. For a complete listing of movies, you can check out the official listings page and schedule here. Movies are being played at multiple locations this year. This includes the Inox multiplex in Panjim, the Maquinez Palace which is right next door, Kala Academy, and the Inox multiplex in Mall de Goa Porvorim. Shuttling between all these venues may sound difficult, but as long as you’re in Panjim, shuttle services are available to get you from one venue to another. Alternatively, you can consider renting a motorcycle as well which may be more convenient.
Boarding and lodging
There’s a very good chance that you already have this sorted out in case you’re travelling into Goa for IFFI 2019. However, in the event that something should go wrong, there are a number of options that you can consider while you’re in Panjim. If you’d like the 5-star luxury hotel experience, you can choose between the Goa Marriott in Panjim which is 10 minutes down the road from Kala Academy, or the Vivanta which is in the heart of Panjim, and walking distance from Inox and Kala Academy. Other hotels in Panjim include the Fortune Miramar and the Country Inn and Suites by Radisson. Apart from luxury stays, Panjim has a fine selection of guest houses, especially in the Fountainhas, Panjim’s Latin Quarter. These guest houses are usually very reasonable and often provide complimentary breakfast as well. Here are a few that you can consider:
- Hospedaria Abrigo de Bothelo
- Afonso Guest House
- Marquito’s Guest House
- La Maison Fountainhas
- A Pousada Guest House
- Casa Menezes
Exploring Goa while you’re here
The great part about being in Goa during IFFI 2019 is that every now and again, you may find yourself with a couple of hours of free time on your hands. This time is perfect to check out a few amazing places in Goa that are not that far from Panjim.
Explore Old Goa or Divar Island on an Electric Cycle: Right outside the parking complex opposite the popular Mandovi cruise boats, is the B:Live e-bike tour stand. From there, you can book a tour of Old Goa, Fountainhas, or even Divar Island, on an electronic cycle. These cycles are specially designed for comfort. They are battery operated which means if you get tired of cycling, you can switch on the motor and ride it like a motorcycle. Isn’t that fun?!
Explore the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary: If you’re a nature lover, then a trip to the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary in Chorao is a must. A quick ferry ride from Ribandar will get you to the island, where you will find the sanctuary very close to the ferry point. A nominal fee gets you in, where you can explore the mangroves, and if you’re lucky, spot a variety of birds and other creatures.
Museums: There are a few interesting museums that you can visit while you’re in Panjim as well. If you’re a history buff, you can visit the main Goa State Museum which was established in 1977, and contains departments including Ancient History and Archaeology, Art and Craft, and Geology. Alternatively, you can visit the smaller Archaeological Museum of Goa which contains ancient artefacts excavated in Goa, plus portraits from colonial times. Finally, there’s also the Indian Customs & Central Excise Museum which is a one-of-a-kind museum established to promote the appreciation of the evolution of the Indian Customs and Central Excise from ancient times.
Getting a bite in
Finally, the most important item in this quick guide is food. The days are going to be long, and you’ll definitely need to get a good lunch in. While you’re in Goa, you’ll want to do as the Goan’s do, and that means getting in a hearty fish thali. Goans love their seafood, and the fish thali is the perfect way to experience it. If you’re in Panjim and close to Inox, you could consider a short trip to Ritz Classic in Panjim City. Since it’s not very close, you can consider taking a pilot or rickshaw, unless you’re up for a walk.
On the other hand, if you’re at Kala Academy, you have a number of great options nearby. Down the road from Kala Academy is another Ritz Classic outlet at the Panjim Gymkhana, but if you’ve done that already, you can hop across the road, and enjoy a mouthwatering thali from the Bombil Restaurant, a quaint little place known for its very homely ambience. If on the other hand, you’re feeling adventurous and would like to select your own fish or crabs and have it cooked your way, then the seafood masters at Fisherman’s Wharf are just a few feet away. For more options, check out four of our favourite thalis.
As you can see, there is so much to do in and around Panjim during IFFI 2019. Not to mention the chance to watch movies for free at the open-air cinemas on Miramar beach and Jogger’s park in Althino. Every evening after 6 pm, there are also multiple festivities that take place along the Mandovi and in the Inox courtyard, including live bands, pop-ups, and so much more. We hope you have an amazing time at IFFI 2019. Do share your experiences in the comments below – we’d love to hear them!