The 25th edition of the International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) begins. However, for the first time in the history of the festival, the venues have been divided into four different regions of the state – Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam, Thalassery and Palakkad – due to the pandemic.
The festival will be inaugurated on Wednesday, 6 pm, at the Nishagandhi Auditorium by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, followed by the screening of the inaugural film Qua Vadis, Aida?, a co-produced war drama film written and directed by Jasmila Zbanic.
The festival is scheduled to run between February 10 and 14 in Thiruvananthapuram, February 17 to 21 at Ernakulam, February 23-27 at Thalassery and March 1-5 at Palakkad. The festival duration has been reduced to five days of screening, in six theatres, at each venue. While the inaugural ceremony is held in Thiruvananthapuram, the award distribution function will be held at Palakkad.
As many as 80 films from over 30 countries will be screened this year. No foreign delegate will be participating in the IFFK this year. Allied programmes of the festival, including Meet the Director, Master class, press meets and participation of foreign guests will be through virtual platforms.
The festival will have all the major categories, including International Competition, World Cinema, Malayalam Cinema Today, Indian Cinema Now, Kaleidoscope, Retrospective and Homage.
All the films selected for the festival will be screened in all the four regions. Four films will be screened in each theatre daily. Ten films have been selected to the International Competition section. The movies include Los Nombres De Las Flores, Casa De Antiguidades and Desterro. While Pinki Elli?, Barah by Barah and Kuthiraivaal are some of the films in the Indian Cinema Now category, See You Soon, Gramavrikshathile Kuyil and Vaanku are part of the list in the Malayalam Cinema Today category. Mayar Jonjal, Vasanthi and Biriyaani are some of the movies in the Kaleidoscope category.
Admission to theatres will be entirely on the basis of reservation and seat numbers will be provided during reservation. Entry to the theatres will be only after thermal scanning. Theatres will be sanitised after each screening.
The Kerala Chalachitra Academy organised free antigen tests for delegates and volunteers. "Only those who test negative will be allowed entry into the festival venues. Delegates can also gain entry by producing a COVID-19 negative certificate, issued not more than 48 hours prior to the entry. Theatres will strictly adhere to all Covid protocols," the Academy said. On Monday, 11 of the 623 delegates screened for Covid, reportedly tested positive.
Meanwhile, eminent French-Swiss filmmaker and critic Jean-Luc Godard has been chosen for the Lifetime Achievement Award in this year’s IFFK. The proponent of the French New Wave film movement that paved way for transformation of world cinema, Jean-Luc who has over 45 movies to his credit, was a filmmaker who changed the visual language of the movies through cinemas like Alphaville, A Woman is a Woman and so on. The IFFK will pay homage to 10 eminent personalities including actor Irrfan Khan, filmmaker Kim Ki Duk and cinematographer K Ramachandra Babu.
To mark the silver jubilee of the IFFK, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan is said to release a commemorative postal stamp and first day post cover at the inaugural function.