The government has not yet zeroed in on the land to construct a permanent venue for the International Film Festival of Kerala. Land adjacent to Hotel Mascot was requested, but the PWD refused to hand over the plot
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Seems like the wait for a permanent venue for International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) in the city will get longer. The plan was to set up a festival complex with top-class facilities, modelled on the lines of IFFI and other major film festivals.Even as the government plans to withdraw the proposal to construct a complex at Chithranjali Studio in Thiruvallam following stiff opposition from cultural heavyweights, including Adoor Gopalakrishnan, uncertainties exist over the alternative location. The demand was to set up the complex within the city itself.
Though Cultural Minister A K Balan requested five acres from the PWD land adjacent to the Mascot Hotel at PMG Junction, PWD Minister G Sudhakaran has expressed his dissent in giving the land, sources said. The 10-acre land, which housed the old office of the PWD, is in a state of abandon now.According to the officials of Kerala State Chalachitra Academy, the new location has not been finalised yet as the PWD refused to give away the land near Mascot Hotel to the Academy.
“We had prepared a Detailed Project Report (DPR) for the construction of the festival complex at Chitranjali. In fact, we were about to start the construction at Chitranjali in August. But, Kerala State Film Development Corporation refused to give the land at the last minute citing that it would affect the green on the studio premises. It was then that we identified a suitable location at PMG Junction. However, we lost it too. Now, the ball is in government’s court,” said a senior official close to Chalachitra Academy, on condition of anonymity.
Promise still on paper
Earlier, A K Balan has assured the delegates during IFFK that the festival complex would be a reality by 2018. During every edition of the fest, the government would promise the audience a permanent venue, but nothing materialised yet.
Visak Nair, a filmmaker and a delegate for past 15 years, said: “If the government wanted to make a film city at Chitranjali Studio, then why not club it with the festival complex. It would be a great experience in a space dedicated for cinema alone. But, at the same time, I am not against making the film complex inside the city because it will ensure basic infrastructure for delegates who come to watch the cinema”, he said.
The 23rd edition of the festival will be held in December. Though Tagore Theatre has been considered as the main venue, the delegates need to travel from one theatre to another. IFFK, one of the biggest annual events in Thiruvananthapuram, is held across 10 to 12 cinema theatres within the city.
An earlier plan to establish the permanent facility at Akkulam did not go down well with film buffs as the festival, which attracts some of the best works from across the world, has come to be closely identified with the city. There were also reports that Kerala State Chalachitra Academy had decided to construct the facility on government land at Kowdiar. But, that land has been given as lease to UAE Consulate.