The silver jubilee edition of the International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) will officially kick-off on February 10 adhering to strict COVID-19 health protocol in the backdrop of the pandemic, the Kerala State Chalachitra Academy said.
For the first time in the history of the festival, the venues have been divided into four different regions of the state—Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam, Thalassery and Palakkad—due to the pandemic. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan will inaugurate the festival at 6pm on Wednesday at the Nishagandhi auditorium here, followed by the screening of the inaugural film, 'Quo Vadis, Aida?
The Academy said prominent guests from across the world will join the festival online and the five-day first phase of the festival will conclude on February14. "The festival is scheduled to run between February 10 and 14 in Thiruvananthapuram, February 17-21 at Ernakulam, February 23-27 at Thalassery and March 1-5 at Palakkad.
The inaugural ceremony and the award distribution functions will be held in Thiruvananthapuram and Palakkad respectively. The festival duration has been reduced to five days of screening, in six theatres, at each venue, a release issued by the Academy said.
Every delegate and official taking part in the festival are being subjected to free antigen tests organised by the academy, in association with the state Health Department. "Only those who test negative will be allowed entry into the festival venues.Delegates can also gain entry by producing a COVID-19 negative certificate, issued not more than 48 hours prior to the entry.Theatres will strictly adhere to all Covid protocols," the Academy said.
As many as 80 films from over 30 countries will be screened this year. Of the 14 films in the International competition, Lijo Jose Pellissery's 'Churuli', which is a world premiere, and Jayaraj's 'Hasyam,' will feature from Malayalam.
The 25th edition of the IFFK will also witness new filmmakers making their mark with their intriguing movies.
"As many as 10 new filmmakers from Malayalam alone will be exhibiting their works at this years festival. Besides, several newcomers from Tamil, Hindi and a variety of foreign languages are also ready to showcase their talent," the release said.
The festival will kick start with the film 'Quo vadis, Aida?' by Jasmila Zbanic. This film, which was nominated for the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, is a war drama set in a small town called Srebrenica, Bosnia.
Zbanic received the Silver Lion Award for Best Director for the movie at Venice. The film also bagged numerous other awards and nominations, and its presence makes it a major highlight of the 25th IFFK.
Debut director Kavya Prasad's Vaanku will screen under the category 'Malayalam Cinema Today'.
The film is an unorthodox take on the traditions which the Muslim community follows. A total of 18 films, including four films in the International Competition category, will be screened on the first day of the festival.