Kerala Chalachithra Academy Chairman and filmmaker Ranjith thinks even OTT platforms are star-driven. Most of the prominent OTT platforms, he observes select films based on their leading stars. The industry will greatly benefit if OTT picked content-driven films. Ranjith who recently took over as the Chairman of Kerala Chalachithra Academy was attending Calicut Press club’s Meet the Press programme.
He also revealed the latest awards included at the IFFK.
From the world cinema section, those who make films based on survival will be awarded the Spirit of Cinema award from Kerala. The first Spirit of Cinema award will be presented to Kurdish director Lisa Calan, for making films against terrorism despite losing both her limbs to an ISIS bomb attack. The IFFK will start on March 18th.
During the inaugural function, Chief Guest Lisa Calan will be awarded a cash prize of Rs 5 lakhs as part of the Spirit of Cinema award by the Chief Minister of Kerala. Lisa Calan, who lost both her legs in the IS bombing in Istanbul in 2015 in the wake of the atrocities perpetrated against Kurds, was nominated for the IFFK's first Spirit of Film Award in recognition of her continued presence in the film industry.
Lisa Calan, who returned to cinema with prosthetic legs after 6 years of treatment, co-directed ‘The Language of the Mountain’ and ‘Peace’ in 2021 with her friend and native Reza Byram.
Her latest directorial is ‘Siseban’ which has been scripted by her. Ranjith also confirmed that in the coming years, more such filmmakers who have such stories of survival will be considered for the Spirit of Cinema award. Until now, the IFFK has always awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award to the legends from World cinema. From this year onwards ‘The Spirit of Cinema Award for Survival’ will also be presented along with that award.
According to the Chairman, this year IFFK will be focusing on students and as part of this programme more passes will be allotted to those between the age group of 18 and 25 years. It’s been proven that usually, students are the ones who watch the most number of films and also take part in serious discussions about cinema at the IFFK. The academy has also spoken to hotel owners at Thiruvanthapuram to offer budget rooms to youngsters attending IFFK. The academy has also decided to provide lunch for around 1000 students who attend the IFFK.
Which theatre complex in Thiruvananthapuram will become the permanent venue of IFFK?
World over International film festivals are always conducted in select cities. The IFFK Headquarters is at Thiruvanthapuram. But it is unfortunate that even during the 26th edition of IFFK, we are still relying on private theatres to screen films. That’s why we are planning to construct a theatre complex exclusively for the IFFK Film screenings. We have received a positive response from the government and cultural department. Along with making the theatre complex a permanent venue for IFFK, we are also planning to convert IFFK into a pan-Indian International film festival.
Looks like Kozhikode is being neglected even at IFFK's regional fairs?
Lack of theatres is one reason we aren’t able to conduct IFFK’s regional fairs in the city. This is an issue prevalent all over Kerala. Just to get private theatres for a week itself is a huge deal. Kozhikode is one city that requires a large avenue to display its rich cinema-theatre-music and dance and cultural shows. Kozhikode corporation needs to take the initiative. Then more such fairs will be possible.
Do you think OTT will be beneficial for cinema?
All that a filmmaker wants to see is to showcase his creation to the world. In that respect, OTT is very productive. But unfortunately, even OTT is very star-driven. And most of the prominent OTT platforms are picking films based on their star value. If more content-driven films come on OTT, the industry will greatly benefit. ‘Home’, ‘Thinkalazhcha Nishchayam’ are films that utilized the potential of OTT and greatly benefited from it. Their success is proof of that.