The curtains went up at the capital on Friday for the 28th edition of the International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK). Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan addressed the gathering through a recorded video, as the State Cabinet is taking part in the Navakerala Sadas, a mass outreach programme.
“The IFFK stands tall with the biggest festivals across the country in its unwavering political content. The package of films expressing solidarity with Palestine is an example for that. Only a few festivals have expressed such solidarity,” he said
Mr.Vijayan hailed Kenyan filmmaker Wanuri Kahiu, the recipient of the Spirit of Cinema Award at the festival this year for taking on the censorship regime in her country.
“Though imperialist forces have left Kenya, the colonial hangover still remains in that soil, evident in the censorship of artists and filmmakers,” he said.
Thiruvananthapuram Mayor Arya Rajendran presented the Spirit of Cinema Award for the year to Kenyan filmmaker Wanuri Kahiu, known for using her cinema as a struggle against the conservative values prevalent in her home country.
‘Vessel for stories’
“Cinema is the language of love, of life. Stories were created before us. As filmmakers our joy is to express these stories. There can never be a film that is banned or censored because the story comes before the filmmakers. These are stories of human experience and existence. My film Rafiki may live in exile now, but I know one day it will come home to Kenya. Filmmakers and storytellers in this country and beyond will find a way to be vessel for such stories,” said Ms. Kahiu.
Actor Nana Patekar, chief guest of the function, thanked the people of the State for the warmth and love extended to him.
“I came here for the first time 32 years ago for a film shooting. Nothing hasn’t changed in the socio-political scenario since then. People think more with their heart. So, it is easier to communicate even if the languages are different. It has to be like this. I have been part of the film industry for the past 50 years, but till today not a single filmmaker from Kerala has approached me. I think I need to improve,” he said.
Minister for Cultural Affairs Saji Cherian presided over the function and spoke through a pre-recorded video. The inaugural event began with a tribute to Communist Party of India (CPI) State secretary Kanam Rajendran, who passed away a few minutes before the inaugural event.
After the ceremony, the opening film of the festival, Goodbye Julia, the debut film by Sudanese filmmaker Mohamed Kordofani, was screened to a packed audience.