THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: An ambitious plan to have a digital film archive in the state will turn a reality by September this year. The international film study and research centre and digital film archive are coming up at the KINFRA Film and Video Park at Kazhakootam. By January next year, the offices of the Chalachitra Academy also will be shifted to the new facility, top officials of the Kerala State Chalachitra Academy said.
The facility is coming up on a three-acre campus and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan will inaugurate it on September 11, academy secretary Mahesh Panju said. It was in June 2017 that the state government laid the foundation stone for the project. "By then, the library and allied facilities at the academy office will be shifted to KINFRA Park. By January, once the International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) is over, the remaining sections also will be moved there," he said. The Chalachitra Academy office is presently operating out of rented premises in Sasthamangalam.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the 11th International Documentary and Short Film Festival of Kerala (IDSFFK) on Friday evening, Cultural Affairs Minister A K Balan had mentioned that the government intended to name the new facility after actor Sathyan.
The Chalachitra Academy has written to the National Film Archive of India (NFAI) requesting digital copies of Malayalam films in its possession. The Pune-based NFAI itself has embarked upon the
Rs 597.41 crore-mammoth National Film Heritage Mission aimed at conserving some of the finest films made in the country which include works in Malayalam as well. In fact, in 2016, The NFAI had promised support to the state’s efforts to establish a full-fledged film archive of its own. The Chalachitra Academy has also approached the film producers’ association and other cinema organisations for archival material, Mahesh Panju said.
Though the project was estimated at Rs 2 crore initially, the cost is expected to cross the Rs 4 crore mark. Apart from acting as a repository for Malayalam films, the archive and research facility will preserve literature and documents on cinema such as screenplays and posters. The KINFRA park facility will have, among other things, mini-theatres for screening films, libraries and conference halls.
Sathyan or J C Daniel?
While Cultural Affairs Minister A K Balan announced on Friday that the digital film archive will be named after Sathyan, there is a demand from some corners that it should commemorate J C Daniel, the maker of Vigathakumaran who is often dubbed the father of Malayalam cinema. Another section, meanwhile, has taken the stand that controversy should be avoided by not naming the facility after any one individual.