Thiruvananthapuram: The 28th International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) kick-started at the state capital on Friday by expressing solidarity with the people of war-torn Palestine.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan virtually inaugurated the festival at a grand event held at the Nishagandhi open air auditorium. The event was presided by Minister for Culture Saji Cherian.
Vijayan said the festival uniquely "strives to stand in solidarity with the struggles of the Palestinian people", making it a rare distinction among film festivals.
The chief minister also said that by conferring the 'Spirit of Cinema' Award to Kenyan artist Wanuri Kahiu, the state was expressing its commitment to support those who strive for freedom and expression.
"Kenya's history is rich with struggles including the Mau Mau rebellion, a prominent uprising in the history of anti-colonial movements. Even though the occupying forces have left Kenya, remnants of colonialism still remain in that land. Wanuri Kahiu, as a socially committed artist challenging taboos and objections, embodies the spirit of the resistance against such remnants," Vijayan said in his virtual address.
Mayor Arya Rajendran presented the 'Spirit of Cinema' award to Kahiu.
Actor Nana Patekar, the chief guest at the festival, spoke at the event and expressed his eagerness to be part of Malayalam cinema.
More than 12,000 delegates are expected to participate in the eight-day festival where 175 international movies from 81 countries will be screened.
Movie Good Bye Julia, the first movie to be selected for the Cannes Film Festival from Sudan, was screened as the inaugural movie at this year's festival.
Seven films will be screened in the anti-colonisation package against the backdrop of heightened tensions in west Asia.
Fourteen movies will compete with each other in the international competition section and 12 movies will be screened under the 'Malayalam Today' section.
Noted Polish director Krzysztof Zanussi will be given the 'Lifetime Achievement Award' at the festival and his movies will be screened under the retrospective section.
Under the 'Country Focus' section six movies from Cuba will be screened. Special packages including contemporary masters, neo-Latin movies, and movies from women directors under the label, 'The Female Gaze' will be another attraction at the festival.
The movie that wins the 'Suvarna Chakoram' award will be given a cash award of Rs. 20 lakhs.
Several cultural and art shows are also planned as part of the festival at Manaveeyam Veedhi, the first nightlife centre in Kerala.
Coordinating with the IFFK, the Kerala Film Development Corporation (KSFDC) will be organising a 'Kerala Film Market', offering a B2B platform for the Malayalam film industry with international producers and co-producers.
KSFDC is also organising a cine expo at Tagore Theatre, the main venue for the 28th IFFK.