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Michael Douglas honoured at International Film Festival of India

Hollywood actor and producer Michael Douglas speaks to Indian film producer Shailendra Singh at a session on the last day of the 54th International Film Festival of India in Goa (Vineeta Deepak/AP)
Hollywood actor and producer Michael Douglas speaks to Indian film producer Shailendra Singh at a session on the last day of the 54th International Film Festival of India in Goa (Vineeta Deepak/AP)

Veteran Hollywood actor and producer Michael Douglas has been honoured with the Satyajit Ray lifetime achievement award at the 54th International Film Festival of India.

The 79-year-old two-time Academy Award winner said he was “humbled”, and added that 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,” Douglas said in his acceptance speech.

“Today our global language of cinema is more meaningful than ever,” he added.

Hollywood actor and producer Michael Douglas and Indian film producer Shailendra Singh at a session on the last day of the 54th International Film Festival of India in Goa
Hollywood actor and producer Michael Douglas and Indian film producer Shailendra Singh at a session on the last day of the 54th International Film Festival of India in Goa (Vineeta Deepak/AP)

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, which came to an end on Tuesday.

“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 has 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 Jose Luis Alcaine, French producers Jerome 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.

Festival attendees take selfies at the venue of the 54th International Film Festival of India in Goa
Festival attendees take selfies at the venue of the 54th International Film Festival of India in Goa (Vineeta Deepak/AP)

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 for The Elephant Whisperers, which streamed on Netflix.

The Indian government, which organises 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 realising 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 on Tuesday.