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Behind the glitz, glamour and the red carpet

Date: 

  • July 31, 2014

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Behind the glitz, glamour and the red carpet
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IN PROCESS is our blog section that describes the essentials of putting up the festival; these include bureaucratic hassles, details of co-ordination with different agencies, the effort involved in sourcing films, gathering local support and other similar logistical challenges.


Sana Rizvi is the Festival Manager of the 3rd edition of DIFF. She has worked previously at both Abu Dhabi and Dubai International Film Festivals


When people learn that I work at film festivals, their eyes suddenly light up and the usual response is exultation: ‘Oh! It must be so glamorous to hang out with movie stars and watch films all the time.’ Contrary to popular belief however, working for a film festival is not very glamorous at all. Of course, you do get to watch amazing films and interact with passionate artistes, but these are merely the visible components of the grand festival exercise.

A film festival demands months of planning, organization and coordination of various departments – while always attempting to accommodate (inevitable) last-minute changes in these. Quick thinking and an ability to handle high-pressure critical situations are skills that do one much good: seemingly trivial matters like a missing, absent guest or the delay in the arrival of a guest’s dress can throw off the entire schedule of the festival, and so, one must be equipped with effective plan-Bs.

With a festival like DIFF, the managerial assignment is devoted to instituting a solid organizational structure – which will then help various departments, such as programming, marketing, volunteers, box office, hospitality and operations – run smoothly and efficiently. This framework will not only benefit the festival for various upcoming editions, but also help streamline its collaboration with various organizations that work to promote the indie scene in India.

Twelve weeks remain between now and DIFF 2014 – the work of the festival team will now center around implementing the outreach programme, implementing our marketing strategy within the local community and outside, finalizing the schedule for this year, liaison with necessary government officials and partners, building a sustained presence online and solidifying the volunteer programme.

The work involved in instituting a volunteer department at DIFF is significant – it involves the creation of an active strategy to reach out to volunteers, finalising all the needs of the various departments (and accordingly), assigning tasks to the various volunteers; apart from framing a guidebook for volunteers and planning an orientation programme for them. Needless to say, a well-organised volunteer army translates to a well-organised festival

On the closing night of a festival, I have this moment when I just stand still and all the hard work, chaos and tears of the past months flash before me like a time-lapse video. I then snap back in to the present and look around me to find myself in a magical space that has been created by a team that really believes in film as a medium that helps institute dialogue between communities. This is the reward I am seeking with DIFF 2014 as well.