Controversies apart, this time the International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) will open new vistas of world cinema to the viewers, promises Adoor Gopalakrishnan. With the master craftsman at the helm, it will be a rare opportunity for movie-buffs to interact with the well-known auteurs of world cinema.
Films which won critical acclaim at the three big festivals - Cannes, Berlin and Venice - will form the backdrop for IFFK as these films are being screened at the fest. Though final confirmation is yet to be received, it’s expected that in all probability, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, winner of 2014 Palme d’Or - the most coveted prize at the Cannes Film Festival - will be present at IFFK. Other than Ceylan, a couple of other big names from Turkey, the country in focus this time, will also be part of the fest. Turkish filmmakers Reis Celik, who is part of the jury, and Mehmet Eryilmaz will also attract movie lovers. Interactions with noted filmmakers will provide viewers an opportunity to further explore the visual world of cinema.
“Conversations with master filmmakers will be the highlight at the festival this time. Marco Bellocchio, the lifetime achievement award winner of 2014, will be another focal point,” he says. Bellocchio, along with Pasolini and Bertolucci, make some of the prominent filmmakers of the post neo-realistic cinematic generation.
And there are some tempting retrospectives on show too. “The retrospective films on Hungarian director Miklos Jancso will definitely draw movie buffs. Another name featuring in this secton is Buster Keaton of the US, the silent comedian and a great performer. The retrospectives will provide a real treat for the viewers,” Adoor adds.
Chinese filmmaker Xie Fei, chairman of the International jury would be another towering presence at the IFFK this time. And then, there will be noted Sri Lankan filmmaker Sumitra Peries known as the Poetess of Sinhala Cinema, who will also attend the Aravindan Memorial Lecture. “It’s going to be a rare and exceptional gathering of filmmakers from across the globe where film enthusiasts will get wide exposure to the window of world cinema. Controversies are not going to affect the quality of films being screened at the festival,” says the veteran filmmaker.
Having said that, Adoor reiterates that most of the recent controversies were unnecessary. “We are trying to put in place a new system which is essential to maintain the quality of the festival. Can you imagine a scenario where even jury members are not able to watch the competition films! I first introduced the system of delegate passes at IFFK, which was later followed by majority of the film festivals in the country,” Adoor observes.
As per the new system, a delegate can book three films in advance. “The viewers won’t be allowed to sit on the floor or watch the movie standing. You have to enter the theatre within the prescribed time limit. And there will be no empty seats. If you don’t reach within the fixed time, the seat goes to those standing in the queue. Once the movie is over, you should immediately vacate the seat. The attempt is to ensure that genuine film lovers are able to watch the movies in a comfortable atmosphere,” he explains.
Though earlier a decision was taken to limit the number of delegates, later delegate passes were issued to all those who registered online. “This time the delegate registration has hit a record number as the credibility of the festival has gone up. That’s why we have decided to include two more theatres thereby ensuring 1500 seats more. Some of the best films are being screened at Nishagandhi in the evening where about 3,000 delegates can watch these films,” he says.
Going by what Adoor Gopalakrishnan envisages, the momentum will not stop with IFFK. Going further, it would usher in new changes to the world of Malayalam cinema. The Adoor panel which recently submitted its recommendations to the state government has made a number of ambitious proposals including setting up of a theatre complex, Cinema Centre, a movie-library with archives, a Regulatory Authority and a film-fund exclusively for these purposes.
In an attempt to promote cinema in general, the Adoor panel has proposed financial support to independent filmmakers so that producers won’t shy away from quality cinema. “There are some very promising filmmakers coming to the fore. And many of them are not able to make it simply due to financial constraints. We have placed elaborate proposals before the government. Now, it’s for them to take the final call,” Adoor signs off.