A year ago, 206 films were screened at the yearly International Documentary and Short Film Festival of Kerala (IDSFFK), spread over five days. In June 2019, the three venues of Kairali, Sree and Nila in Thiruvananthapuram are together screening 262 films, over six days. The 12th edition of the festival began on Friday and the official inauguration was done by Governor P Sathasivam, in the presence of Minister AK Balan and Kerala Chalachithra Academy office bearers, conducting the fest.
Everyone that lit the inaugural lamps spoke highly of the fest, the governor noticing the increased media attention that appeared to suggest the popularity that IDSFFK has gained through the years. â€śMalayalam cinema has been a benchmark of quality and creative thinking in our country. IDSFFK has brought a boom in the opportunity for screening the bold expressions of burning issues,â€ť he said.
Last year, the Academy had announced that the film winning the best long documentary award at the festival would qualify to go to the Oscars. This was not received well by filmmakers in Kerala, since there was not a single long documentary selected from Kerala that year. Bina Paul, Academy Vice Chairperson and artistic director of the festival, said on Friday that the short films and documentaries in the competition category are open to only those from India. â€śMost important reason for this is the importance we are placing on encouraging documentary and short filmmakers within India to boldly and creatively tell their stories,â€ť she said.
Academy Chairperson and festival director Kamal spoke about living in difficult times and needing such spaces of dissent that the IDSFFK offers.
There are 54 films in competition, under three categories: short fiction, short documentary and long documentary. There are also campus films, animation films and music videos. Filmmaker Madhusree Dutta, whose work 7 Islands and a Metro is one of the first Indian non-fiction films to be commercially released, is receiving the lifetime achievement award this year.