Change of guard at helm of IFFK

Beena Paul, a veteran whose name has been synonymous with the IFFK, will no longer by the fest’s artistic director.

Published: 09th December 2022 05:09 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th December 2022 05:09 AM   |  A+A-

27th International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK)

27th International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK)

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: As the 27th International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) kicks off on Friday, there’s a major change of guard at the helm. Beena Paul, a veteran whose name has been synonymous with the IFFK, will no longer by the fest’s artistic director, a cap she donned for over two decades. Instead, Deepika Suseelan, a vibrant youngster who worked under Beena as the IFFK programme assistant from 2010 to 2013 and programme manager from 2014 to 2017, will lead the latest edition.
While some have, in muted voices, expressed dissatisfaction with the way the change was implemented, Beena said she had no qualms about it. “I have no issues. Changes are inevitable,” she told TNIE in her trademark composed manner.

Meanwhile, Deepa boasts of an impressive portfolio. She worked as the head of programmes at the International Film Festival of India for three years and curated its 50th edition in Goa. The experience with Beena helped her understand film curation better, she said.

“I started my career with her. Through her, I learnt how to deal with people, be calm and composed and organise things. In terms of film curation, every curator has their own individuality and the experience helped me develop mine,” she said. The change in leadership won’t affect the festival, asserted director Kamal, the former chairman of Kerala Chalachitra Academy. 

“Beena’s vast and rich contacts within the global film fraternity and among filmmakers have added to the festival. Of course, she was part of IFFK since its inception in 1998 directly and indirectly. We have always valued her presence in the fest. She was an inevitable part of IFFK. But changes must happen,” he said. He expressed confidence that Deepika will continue the practice of curating brilliant films.

Beena is credited with laying a strong foundation for IFFK special packages, a favourite of moviegoers. “It was when Adoor Gopalakrishnan chaired KCA that Beena joined as deputy director of festival. She was active in IFFK’s coordination even when the fest was conducted by the Kerala State Film Development Corporation. During my chairmanship, five festivals were held with Beena as artistic director. When cyclone Ockhi cast its shadow on the 22nd IFFK and during the Covid uncertainty, she stood steadfast in conducting the festival,” recalled Kamal.

However, sources said Beena was not properly notified of the change of guard. They said she could have been retained in another position so that her rich experience in film curation could be used. 

“There’s nothing wrong in the change. However, there are ways to implement it. The authorities could have done it gracefully. They could have also conveyed the decision to Beena in advance. She has worked for over two decades. She could have contributed to the festival,” said a source.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan will officially inaugurate the eight-day-long IFFK at the opening ceremony to be held at the Nisagandhi Auditorium at 3.30pm on Friday. British Film Institute Resident Pianist Johny Best will be the chief guest at the ceremony. Cultural Affairs Minister V N Vasavan will preside over the function. Jury chairman and German filmmaker Veit Helmer will also attend the function. General Education Minister V S Sivankutty will unveil this year’s festival book by handing it over to Transport Minister Antony Raju.

India Matters


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