Sheethal J Raj
The fourth edition of the International Documentary and Short Film Festival of Kerala will showcase an exquisite range of films, diverse and unique in their treatment and thematic concerns. While the IFFK focuses on extremely professional and specialised artistic products, IDSFFK bears testimony to the increasing accessibility and affordability of the media technology.
IDSFFK presents a confluence of talents from both professional and amateur streams. Over 170 films will be screened in the competition and non-competition categories. The Festival has shortlisted over 65 films for the Competition section covering long documentary, short documentary, short fiction, animation, music videos and campus short film categories. Shri Arun Khopkar, prominent filmmaker and scholar, and the prominent Malayalam film director, Shri Shyamaprasad, will be jury chairpersons for the documentary and fiction segments respectively. Other jury members include Ayesha Kagal, Sophy Sivaraman, Githa Hariharan and Umesh Kulkarni.
Suhasini Mulay, who earned her spurs as a documentary maker and actor in films including Mrinal Sen’s Bhuvan Shome, is the chief guest for the Inaugural this evening. A documentary filmmaker with over 60 documentaries and 4 National Awards to her credit, the Festival will screen two of her documentaries, Bhopal: Beyond Genocide and Talking Peace. ‘Running in the Family’, a series of Home Video productions curated by Pankaj Rishi Kumar would be a major attraction this time. Live footages from their homes are used by filmmakers for films like Grandpa with a Movie Camera by Neus Ballus, The Dust by Ashim Ahluwalia and others whose films are featured here. Films under distinct categories – Framing Science, Women Films, films by Indian diaspora, the Best of the Clermont-Ferrand Festival and Archiving Television – provide diverse approaches to filmmaking.
The Festival also pays homage to the eminent filmmaker Mani Kaul and Chinta Ravi, the thinker-filmmaker from Kerala. As in the previous years, Campus Films will draw a larger audience, and this time four films showcasing fresh talent and creative energy have secured a place in this category. The inaugural film ‘Old Partner’ by Lee Chung-ryoul, a widely accepted documentary from South Korea, will set the tone for the five day event. ‘A Pestering Journey’ by K R Manoj, an account of the two major pesticide tragedies that struck India recently, is by far a narrative with a purpose. ‘The Open Frame’ by Chetan Shah, and ‘Vertical City’ by Avijit Mukul Kishore are a couple of documentaries that have already caught public attention.
Navroze Contractor, the renowned cinematographer and associate of Mani Kaul, has produced a long documentary on the broom-makers in Rajasthan titled, ‘Jharu Kartha’ which will be screened at IDSFFK. ‘Thattumporathappan’ (Lord of the Attic) by Sudevan, ‘Unstable’ by Ritwik Mukherjee and ‘Kal’ by Manjunathan Subramanian are a few films that figure in the fiction section. A handful of interesting productions feature in the Animation and Music video genre.
Apart from these, film lovers can also dedicate time for seminars and conversation sessions on topics of relevance and of concern to the industry. Discussion forums will put the spotlight on the various aspects of science in Indian Television and the pedagogical implications of documentary filmmaking.