Festival that unites
As the 17th International Film Festival of Kerala opens today there is no doubt regarding the benefits it has done both to the film makers and film lovers of the state, over the years. The festival has been a platform for all film enthusiasts to get together, watch films, discuss and appreciate them. It inspired our young film makers; for a film lover it offered novelty, variety, and class. If our critics waited for the festival with academic interest, the movie goers awaited it for entertainment and fun.
With over two hundred films to be screened in over a dozen categories, this year’s festival, too, promises to be a grand treat. The hosts could be proud this time as two of the fourteen pictures in the competition section are in Malayalam. Last year none of our films could make it to the competition section.
To the credit of the organizers three theatres-Kairali, Sree, Kalabhavan- have been renovated. Kairali theatre has been revamped to form a new mini theatre Nila. With this the number of government owned theatres hosting the festival has risen to four. State of the art audio facilities have been installed, offering multiplex like experience. The care taken to renovate the washroom facilities at the theatres also deserves appreciation.
It is unfortunate, however, that year after year the delegate registration remains a concern. This year, the newly introduced exclusive online registration has drawn much criticism. This system, many people think, is complicated as it requires several follow ups. The decision to restrict the number of delegates, and to discard open forum, an interactive session with the film makers and the public have also caused much furore.
The film festival is neither an exclusive stage for the film critics and serious film makers nor an event solely for public entertainment. A right mix of both these has been the highlight of the festival for years. In that sense, it is no good to take any steps that may alienate the spectators, waning the much acclaimed public participation.