Low-key IFFK kicks off with high spirits

Low-key IFFK kicks off with high spirits
Candles were lit in solidarity to rebuild Kerala by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and other dignitaries during the inaugural ceremony. Photo: Gopika K P

Thiruvananthapuram: The 23rd edition of International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) kick-started here without glitterati and cultural performances as Kerala is recovering from the floods. Though the usual extravaganza was curtailed, the festival promises the film buffs an array of films from across the globe.

Nishangadhi auditorium in the capital city was filled with movie lovers including foreign delegates. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan inaugurated the opening ceremony of the week-long festival by lighting the traditional lamp and candles were lit in solidarity to rebuild Kerala.

Bengali filmmaker Buddhadeb Dasgupta was the chief guest of the function and actor-director Nandita Das was the guest of honour.

Low-key IFFK kicks off with high spirits
Iranian filmmaker Majid Majidi was presented the Lifetime Achievement Award at the event. Photo: Gopika K P

The festival, which was earlier called off due to the Kerala flood, has the theme 'The Human Spirit: Films on Hope and Rebuilding'. Six movies will be screened under this category.

Kerala yet again proved that the havoc caused by the floods hasn't dampened the spirit of cinephiles in the state. “Though our state has faced the worst floods ever in the history, we are overcoming it by staying together. Cultural events like our film festival shouldn’t be affected as films reflect human values and therefore it is important for this generation. Art is a way to sustain the humanity,” said the Chief Minister.

Iranian filmmaker Majid Majidi was presented the Lifetime Achievement Award at the event. Receiving the award, Majidi said that he expects the kindness from the audience over any other award.

As the festival is conducted at a limited budget without any government funding, the Academy was forced to increase the delegate fees to Rs 2000.

“The government upheld the spirit of collective filmmaking even when we are going through a rebuilding phase,” said Kamal, chairman of Kerala State Chalachitra Academy and festival director of IFFK. Pointing out the constitutional threat Kerala is facing at times, he said that the festival will help everyone shed the baggage of preconceived notions.

Low-key IFFK kicks off with high spirits
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan inaugurated the opening ceremony of the week-long festival. Photo: Gopika K P

While the ceremony was kept brief, Nandita Das congratulated the citizens of Kerala for letting the spirit of the film festival continue. “The festival remains very special for me as my first film was shown here 22 years ago and my first directorial debut was screened 10 years ago. Attack of divisive forces is always present everywhere. It is important to fight without being violent. Art and cinema are so powerful that it could spark ideas and challenge prejudices,” she said.

Other guests included Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Resul Pookutty, Ministers AK Balan and Kadakampally Surendran, Sibi Malayil, Bina Paul, Rani George IAS, Mayor VK Prasanth and many other renowned filmmakers.

The Spanish film 'Everybody Knows' directed by Oscar award-winner Asghar Farhadi was the opening film screened at the auditorium here.

The city will witness the harmony and aesthetic vibrations of celluloid on and off the screen as 164 films from 72 countries have arrayed for the extravaganza.

14 films will compete for this year's International competition section in which two are Malayalam movies- 'Ee.Ma.Yau' and 'Sudani from Nigeria'.

Majid Majidi is the jury chairman of the competition category. Nandita Das' 'Manto' which was first screened at Cannes earlier this year is another highlight of this season's IFFK.

As this year marks the 100th birth anniversary of the Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman, IFFK has a special package of eight of his movies for the screening.

The films will be screened every day from 9 am and will go on until midnight. The delegates can reserve the seats one day prior to the screening.Reservation facilities for the delegates have already started for December 8th shows. 'IFFK 2018' app for reservations can be downloaded from Google Play Store.

Other events like Open Forum, In conversation, panel discussions and seminars will also take place during these seven days at various venues.

The festival will conclude on December 13.