Thiruvananthapuram: A total of 50 films from around the world will have their India premiere during the 20th edition of the International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) that begins here on December 4, the event’s organizers said on Monday.
Nearly 180 films, including many award-winners and Oscar nominees, will be screened at 13 venues across the city.
Cinematographer-director Shaji N. Karun, the chairman of IFFK 2015’s advisory committee, said: “The line-up is a distillation of the most important films of the year. No mean feat considering we are the last film festival on the calendar and our budget is dwarfed many times over by other festivals.”
The IFFK has become a ‘must attend’ event for cinema enthusiasts, “because it benefits from a mature, literate film audience”, said Polish filmmaker Krzysztof Zanussi, referring to lay viewers who queue up in several thousands to grab a seat.
“The quality of any film festival is determined by the quality of the audience. If the audience is interested and cultivated, I can expect that more serious, better films will be watched, will be received,” he said.
This year, provisions have been made to accommodate 12,000 delegates — besides foreign attendees, jury and the media. The eight-day extravaganza has a budget of about Rs.5 crore.
People like South Korean director Kim ki-Duk, and Indian Canadian filmmaker Deepa Mehta have attended the festival in the past.
Mehta’s Oscar-nominated 2005 film “Water” had its Indian premiere as the inaugural film at the 10th IFFK. In 2012, her “Midnight’s Children” premiered at the 17th IFFK.
“The International Film Festival of India (IFFI) is good in many ways, but it has an imported audience,” Zanussi said.
“I don’t count many locals among the audience in Goa (and) there is usually a wall between you and the public.
“At IFFK, young people approach me and prove in the conversations I have with them that they have seen my films. That they care. That it’s not just for a picture or an autograph. This I can respect,” he said.
This year, there will be an annual retrospective on French-Romany director Tony Gatlif.
Dariush Mehrjui, who was part of the Iranian new wave movement of the 1970s, will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award this year.
The competition section is restricted to films from Asia, Africa and Latin America.
The best feature film will win the Suvarna Chakoram with a cash prize of Rs.15 lakh, while the best director will receive the Rajata Chakoram and a cash prize of Rs.4 lakh.