International Film Festival of Kerala Starts Tomorrow - The New Indian Express

International Film Festival of Kerala Starts Tomorrow

Published: 06th December 2013 11:29 AM

Last Updated: 06th December 2013 01:32 PM

The stage is set, the city is buzzing with IFFK frenzy. It is truly a festival mood that we witness as we step into the city. Delegates, celebrities, film-goers from across the world will be in the city in coming days making it their home for the next 7 days to be part and parcel of the festival. And what has in store to welcome the avid film-goers is a plethora of national and international films.

Among the IFFK crowd will be newbies, die-hard participants who have been following it since its inception, others who visit as and when time permits, some others who come down to watch at least 2 films in between their busy schedule and so on. City Express talks to a few IFFK regulars and ardent film-goers from different walks of life about their IFFK experience and what this coveted festival means to them.

As a person who has been regular at both IFFI and IFFK from the very beginnings, Deedi Damodaran, script writer and film critic says, “I am a regular at the IFFI for the past 18 years and though I come for IFFK also, most of the times I cannot manage to attend it completely as I would be completely exhausted by then.

Plus most of the films that are screened at the IFFI will also be screened at the IFFK. So here I try to watch the films that I missed out at IFFI.” “IFFK on any day has the best package with academically rich films and it is a platform where films are taken very seriously. But unfortunately here the viewing experience is not that great. Not being a common venue it becomes difficult running from one place to another. That is one plus of IFFI, with its huge infrastructure and viewing experience the whole ambience is something.”

 Deedi further points out that at IFFK the motto is to make it possible for maximum number of people to view the films. People are willing to view sitting, standing, or sitting on the floor hence nobody misses out on a film. But at IFFI it is very strict with only delegates with reserved tickets are allowed into the theatre, she adds.

“A recent positive I have noticed in the IFFK is that there is no more divide between popular cinema and parallel cinema. Before the divide was very clear, but now all the different wings of cinema are willing to work together and interact with each other,” adds Deedi

For eminent literary critic and senior journalist with the Mathrubhumi daily P K Rajasekharan, this IFFK will be the very first he will be missing out due to work. As a person who has not missed out on any of the IFFKs he says, “More than seeing grey haired men and women on the festival premises my joy lies in seeing the young generation, especially the first timers who have not experienced the pleasures of viewing a real cinema come to the fest. My happiness lies in initiating such youngsters to follow the festival. It is something I strictly advice all my students too. I see this festival as a coming of age of these kids to real cinema. It is the most aesthetically democratic festival in the world which will open new vistas to these youngsters,” he says.

The festival means different things to different individuals. But at the same time there is a common point that connects them all and it the undying love for cinema or pure art. And it is no wonder why so many friendships and beautiful relations take birth here. Without doubt these relations bloom around a single focal point and that is cinema.

As a fervent film-buff what interests and attracts Shivaprakash a retired LIC officer from Thiruvalla, every year to the fest is the flood of knowledge that he gains from the films. And also the many good relations, he has earned over the past 9 years. “I was always interested in films, every aspect of it. For me film viewing is almost like information gathering. Each film teaches me a different aspect of film-making. If in one I notice the photography, in another it might be the music that thrills me and in yet another it might be the direction. Though not directly associated with film-making as an avid follower of films I can say I have gained a lot of wisdom about it over the years and I will very soon be attempting to do a script,” he says.

As a person who does a comparative study of various films from different countries and different cultures, he further adds that it is a good learning platform for students. “But last year I was not really impressed with the selection of the films and even before the last day people had started leaving,” he says.

“I am a person who have been associated with the festival ever since 2008. But for the first few years I was there on duty and it was only last year that I started seeing it seriously as a delegate. Being on duty you may not always get to watch the films but this year I was there the entire time.  Sometimes it was skipping court work that I attended the fest. One thing that the IFFK has earned me is some of my close friends who I met at IFFK. Then there are others who I meet regularly every year at the fest,” quips Annapoorna Lekha Pillai, a TV personality and a lawyer.

Praveen Anidil, actor, who has been attending IFFK since 2007, is coming down this year too from Bangalore to attend this multicultural fest. For him attending the fest has many dimensions, viewing the films, meeting the friends that he gained at this fest and above all being a part the IFFK panorama. “IFFK is almost like a get together for us film buffs. Among all the film festivals that happen in the country IFFK always stands out, because the quality of films that are screened and the participation at the fest is exceptional. It is also a platform for new film-makers,” he says.

 While he is all praise for the fest, Praveen does raise a few drawbacks too. The delegate registration system he says is very primitive and adds, he has lost money two times while he tried to register himself.

As a person who attended IFFI for the first time and has been attending IFFK since 2009, Ritwik Baiju, short-film maker and a post graduate in Visual Communications, says, “IFFI and IFFK are worlds apart, especially when you compare the infrastructure. But the quality of films is always better in IFFK and also the management is better here. And from my interaction with other delegates at the IFFI what I understood is that most foreigners and non-Malayalis prefer IFFK to IFFI.”

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