THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: As Ali quickened his pace in the long-distance run to win Zahra a pair of shoes, the viewers at Kalabhavan theatre rose in their chairs, hooted, clapped and urged him to do it fast. Silence fell in the screening room when Ali accidentally won the first prize, however hard he tried to remain third to win the sneakers.
‘Children of Heaven’, the Iranian film which has been a hit in the film festival circuit, was being watched by some 400-odd students from the city’s many government schools. Despite the English subtitles, which few understood, the film won their hearts.
It might be the first time a local body in the State has gone in for a children’s film festival. ‘Drishya’, the two-day film fest for children organised by the City Corporation for the maiden time at Kalabhavan here, is for many reasons something to cheer about. Primarily, for the enthusiasm it generated in hundreds of kids for an experience they rarely get. And for the novelty of the project that offers an opportunity to children to view international cinema and to kindle their interest in the medium.
On Friday, they were shown ‘Penkutty’ and ‘Meals Ready’, two short films, and the features ‘Children of Heaven’ and Charlie Chaplin’s ‘The Kid.’ On Saturday, they will be shown ‘Colour of Paradise’, an Iranian film by Majeed Majidi; the French film ‘Red Balloon’; and the Japanese movie ‘Dreams.’ And if time permits, a couple of short films too.
‘’We did not expect the children to respond so positively. They understood the movie, though they could not read the subtitles. Leave aside international films, most of the children are not even taken to theatres by their family. But they had a wonderful time and experience,’’ said Pradeep, coordinator of ‘Drishya.’
The event was inaugurated in the morning by film-maker T K Rajeevkumar at Kalabhavan theatre. Corporation officials said that since it was a maiden venture, it might have its hiccups.
But in the coming years, it would grow into a children’s version of a fest on the lines of the reputed International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK), they promised.