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Kerala 10 opens with record breaking attendance expected

Kerala 10 opens with record breaking attendance expected
180 titles lined up in packed eight-day schedule

The 10th International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) gets under way this evening (Friday December 09) with the promise of record-breaking attendance following a new surge of interest in pure cinema here.
Officials told they expect last year’s figure of 6,300 delegates to be surpassed, despite the fact that the budget for organizing, running and promoting the festival has remained more or less the same for the past three years.
Some 180 titles, including 130 feature films, will be screened at seven venues dotted about the town of Trivundrum, capital of the state of Kerala at the south-west tip of this fascinating country.
Interest in the festival is maintained throughout the year by the event organiser, the Chalachitra Academy, which has a library of some 700 films which it rolls out to film societies and other interested parties at the rate of at least one a day throughout the year.
A new feature of IFFK this year is a two-day workshop entitled Script Marketing which marks the first phase of a year-long project to generate funding from overseas for promising new Indian scriptwriters and producers.
Chalachitra officials say the project marks a new direction for IFFK which is now not just a film viewing festival but a serious platform for promoting co-production of new cinema as well.
A further indication that IFFK has moved to a new level was revealed to today by Chalachitra Academy chairman and festival director, Mr K.T. Raveeekumar who said the number of films submitted for this year’s competition had doubled from 64 last year to a staggering 134 this year.
“I believe this is an indication that we have come of age now. Many of the submissions are connected with the Best Debut Film Award that we launched last year, but many more were simply submitted because the directors want to be shown at IFFK,” said Raveekumar.
The competition section comprises 14 films from South America (three entries), China (two entries), Egypt (one entry), India (three entries), Iran (2 entries), Japan (one entry), Sri Lanka (one entry) and Vietnam (one entry).
Competing films include Arizona Sun,(Argentina); I Love Cinema (Egypt); Kekezili: Mountain Patrol (China); Perumazhakalam (India); Guerilla Marketing (Sri Lanka) and Bride of Silence (Vietnam/Germany/Australia).
The competition jury is chaired by French film-maker Bernard Tavernier. Other members are: Ali Ozgenturk (Turkey); Piers Handling (Canada); Tahmineh Milani (Iran); and Ketan Mehta (India).
All of the films in competition were made this year and are either subtitled in English or were made in English language. English is the lingua franca of India. It is not commonly known that some 14 different languages are spoken here, each with a different alphabet. In addition there are scores of different dialects.
Outside the competition there are the regular elements of IFFK. World Cinema includes 42 feature films, all of which were released this year or in 2004. Indian Films Today includes seven titles, compared with six titles in the New Malayalam Cinema section. Malayalam is the language spoken in Kerala.
The Indian section has Parzania directed by newcomer Rahul Dholakia as its opening film. Filmmakers of repute like Jahnu Barua with Maine Gandhi Ko Nahin Maara, Girish Kassaravali with Hasina and newcomers like Suman Mukhopadhyay with Herbert share the screen and time in this section.
The Documentaries and shorts sections has some brilliant short films from Spain in addition to some feature-length works including Adoor Gopalakrishnan’s Kalamandalam Raman Kutty Nair.
There are three retrospectives this year. The main spotlight is on Godard as a tribute to his 75th year and his incredible contribution to film-making. Five of his films previously never screened in Kerala will be shown here this week.
Alongside Godard is a retrospective on Isabelle Huppert, and a third retrospective is on the Indian legend, MT Vasudevan Nair.
This year’s Contemporary Master spot goes to the highly original and very oriental South Korean movie-maker, Kim Ki Duc. (Asked which Asian countries he thought were currently producing the best films, Roman Polanski recently told to “keep an eye on Korea,” and he wasn’t referring to the North!).
The country focus this year is on Turkey where a package of fiery Turkish films from the 70’s and 80’s has been curated to show the problems that Turks faced within their country.
Alongside is a Young Turks package from Germany focusing on immigrant Turks today with their violent and passionate search for identity. It is a carefully chosen contrast between the traditional and the modern, between the parent generation of the 70’s and the youthful generation of the 90’s and post 90’s.
Women’s interests get a special focus in Beyond the Veil, a package of five titles from the Maghreb region which consists of 5 Muslim nations from North Western Africa. It mirrors the growing voice of women not only in the Muslim world, but also in the rough difficult terrains of the developing world, North West of the Sahara.
Also among the documentaries this year is a special section on Sports Films which will show how politics and social issues intermingle and influence sports issues from the earliest films made on sports. (ends 878 words)
by Jeremy Colson


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