Thiruvananthapuram: The 27th edition of the International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) got underway here on Friday in a colourful opening ceremony with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan voicing against attempts to turn movie galas into tools for the propagation of narrow ideologies.
Instead of traditional lamps, the Chief Minister officially launched the eight-day-long festival by switching on the professional arc light towards the audience at Nishagandhi open auditorium here, which is hosting it for the first time in the history of the annual event.
Stressing the significance of film festivals, he said such events not only provide an opportunity for entertainment and enjoyment of movies but also reflect on human life and circumstances across the globe.
”It is a time when attempts are being made to turn film festivals as tools for the propagation of narrow ideologies,” he said.
Pointing out the inability of Iranian filmmaker-activist Mahnaz Mohammadi to receive the ‘Spirit of Cinema’ award due to the travel ban, Vijayan recalled her recent words that she was treated as a criminal in her country as she is a woman and a filmmaker.
If the work of a filmmaker even caused a ban on her travels, imagine how much her films have disturbed the authorities there, he said.
Mohammadi’s episode also reveals the prevailing circumstances in countries that believe that a certain clan or community is superior and set up governments based on such beliefs.
Real freedom means the freedom to live without any fear and events like film festivals and related progammes should be able to ensure that liberty, he added.
In the absence of Mohammadi, Greek filmmaker and jury member Athina Rachel Tsangari received the honour on the Iranian director’s behalf.
Belgian-French film ‘Tori and Lokita’, which won the Cannes 75th Anniversary Award this year, was screened at the open auditorium.
This year’s IFFK would see the participation of around 12,000 delegates and 200 filmmakers, organisers said.
Serbia will be the focus country with six distinguished films from contemporary Serbian cinema slated to be screened during the festival.
This year, the festival for the first time will be focusing on films from the silent and early talkies era and five silent films will be screened accompanied by live music.
There would also be a screening of G Aravindan’s ‘Thampu’ in the reinstated classic category and a special screening of Adoor Gopalakrishnan’s ‘Swayamvaram’ which would be celebrating its 50th anniversary.
Apart from screening of the varied selection of movies from across the globe, the festival will also feature two photo exhibitions — one of well-known photographer Punalur Rajan and the other chronicling the career of actor Satyan.
There will also be open forums, panel discussions and cultural programs, including musical performances by leading music bands and musical performances by leading music bands, during the eight-day festival, the organisers added.