THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The 23rd edition of the International Film Festival of Kerala is all set to kick off on Friday. Though the festival, which draws film lovers from across the globe, faced threats of cancellation in the wake of the recent floods, the IFFK is back and expected to keep viewers mesmerised with cinema stories from across the globe.
However, there is a lull in the arrival of the delegates. "The cold response from the film industry, shoe-string budget and hike in delegate registration fee have affected the flow of film buffs to the festival. This year, it is dull as there is not much happening here," said Reghu Vijayan, a regular at IFFK.But the organisers are positive and they say the delegate registrations are improving. "Around 7,500 delegates have already registered for the festival. We are expecting it to increase to around 10,000 delegates. Unlike the previous editions, we will not have any cultural shows at the opening ceremony. The overall expense has been reduced to half compared to the previous edition," said Kamal, director and chairman of the Kerala Chalachitra Academy.
As the theme of the IFFK is 'Rebuild Kerala', several cost-cutting initiatives were taken by the officials to keep it minimal. "We will be providing accommodation for the invitees. Travel expenses including flight charges should be borne by themselves. The jury panel will consist of Indian members," added Kamal.
Even as many youngsters embrace the IFFK in its true spirits, allegations are rife that several of them don't take the film festival seriously. "We appreciate the participation of youngsters. However, most of the time, many of them who are not serious about cinema attend the show leaving committed viewers without a ticket. We hope this year, things will be different," said Sukumaran Pillai, an IFFK delegate.
This year, the IFFK is being held without any funding from the government and is completely relying upon delegate fee and sponsorship. However, organisers assure there will be no compromise on the film content. The IFFK festival will be inaugurated by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan at Nisagandhi auditorium, Kanakakkunnu at 6 pm today. Everybody knows by Asghar Farhadi, Iranian director will be the opening movie. "There are 488 screenings scheduled in 13 theatres throughout the city. A total of 164 films from 72 countries will be screened at the festival. Even though there are no cultural performances, a tribute to the music maestro Balabhaskar will be performed," said Anand G, a volunteer.