The Thalassery edition of the International Film Festival of Kerala was indeed a breather that revived the vibrant public spaces. The latest editions of the reputed film festival showed that the audience and the movie lovers have always stood with democratic nature of art. The festival that had debuted in Kozhikode in 1996 reached Thiruvanathapuram before moving to Kochi once. However, Thiruvanathapuram has now become the permanent venue of the festival, celebrating the spirit of movies. The pandemic had robbed the public spaces off its charm and vigor and the IFFK has brought back life to it.
When it was decided to hold the festival in four different venues owing to the pandemic protocols, criticism that had the colors of regionalism arose from many corners. Thiruvananthapuram has been the venue of the festival for more than two decades as the city has lots of theaters and offers incredible infrastructure too. As the festival celebrates its silver jubilee, it has travelled across the state, erasing the physical boundaries. Moreover, the numerous film festivals could bring a transformation in the visual perception of the audience.
Celebration of movies
The third leg of the festival at Thalassery offered a spectacular cinematic experience to the cinema lovers of Malabar, by screening around 112 shows of 80 movies from around the globe. Not just the fabulous selection of movies but this year’s film festival grabbed attention for its impeccable organization too.
Thalassery got the chance to host the reputed film festival due to the pandemic situation. The organizers, movie lovers, audience and the people of the locality made sure that the true spirit of cinema is celebrated in all its glory. Amazing organization and the overwhelming participation and support from the public shows that the film festival in Malabar was a roaring success.
The tickets to the screenings of movies like Churuli, Kosa and The Man Who Sold His Skin were sold within a few minutes. The festival was held in a theater complex that has five screens and this was very convenient to the cinema lovers.
After a year of pandemic induced dullness, the IFFK made the public arenas buzz with life and color. The open forums became venues of productive discussions where ideas and opinions were shared without any inhibitions.
25 years of defining the artistic spirit of Malayalam cinema, the scope of OTT platforms and the need for local festivals were some of the topics at the open forums that saw amazing participation. Audience from Kozhikode, Wayanad, Kannur and Kasargod had taken part in the film festival that was held in Thalassery. Around 1500 delegates had participated in the festival. The unique culinary legacy of Thalassery too had impressed the delegates who found time to explore the fabulous tastes and flavors of the city. Movies weren’t scheduled for any late night screenings as the protocols were strictly followed.
Vocal for local
In the open forums, delegates and cinema lovers had vehemently argued for conducting IFFK at various venues across the state. Making Thiruvananthapuram the permanent venue of the festival was severely criticized by many. It was pointed out that the festival had originally begun in Kozhikode and was later moved to the capital.
Noted writers like MT Vasudevan Nair, T Padmanabhan and M Mukundan who spoke at the inauguration of the festival in Thalassery stressed on the need to take world cinema to every nook and corner. They batted for holding the film festival at various locations. Holding the festival in phases ensured amazing local participation, not only for the screenings but also for the discussions. Meanwhile, Chalachitra Academy chairman Kamal hinted that he personally preferred hosting the festival in phases at different locations. However, the government is all set to arrange permanent venues and other facilities for the high profile annual event. So, it is likely that the core idea of the festival would be to celebrate diversity rather than holding it at different venues.