KOCHI/THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Eight film directors on Friday approached the Kerala High Court challenging the decision of the selection committee of the 24th International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) to reject their feature films.
Sunil Kumar Sukumaran and seven other film directors filed the petition alleging their films, sent for entry in the ‘Malayala Cinema Now’ section, were rejected without viewing them. They said eight selected in the category are commercial films, which have already been released both in theatres and online. The Kerala State Chalachitra Academy (KSCA) provides a grant of `2 lakh to each selected film for supporting and encouraging good filmmaking in the state.
The petitioners said awarding the grant to commercially-successful films will defeat the very purpose of organising the IFFK.
They also alleged the selection committee included five members of the KSCA general council which is illegal. Hence, they sought a directive to conduct the selection of feature films in a transparent manner by a committee excluding KSCA members.
The court issued a notice to the KSCA and the selection committee members.Activist Sunitha Krishnan accused the committee of “arbitrarily” rejecting Raktham, the movie she produced. She and her husband and the movie’s director Rajesh Touchriver alleged the organisers not even opened the film they had sent online.
“Never in my wildest imagination I thought that a prestigious film festival treats work of art so shabbily!,” Rajesh tweeted. A similar complaint was made earlier by Bengali film maker Indrasis Acharya after his film Parcel was rejected. KSCA dismissed the allegation. Academy secretary B Mahesh said Raktham was rejected because it was sent in 2017 under a different name. “The rule clearly states that no previous entry or its modified version would be considered again.” said Mahesh.
He said Parcel was rejected because Indrasis had sent multiple application under different names. He said around 40 films were rejected by the jury for various reasons. Venu Nair, Sunil Kumar, Santosh Babusenan, Pratap Joseph, Sajan Rehman, Siddique Paravur and Vinod Krishnan were the directors who had filed the complaint.The case will be heard on November 17.