The festival will honour Iranian filmmaker and women’s rights activist Mahnaz Mohammadi with the Spirit of Cinema award.

Mahnaz in a white top with her curly strands left lose, a pair of glasses on her face, looks seriously at the cameraMahnaz Mohammadi / IFFK
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Of the 185 films that will be screened at the International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK), 32 are directed by women from 17 countries. The 27th edition of the festival which will be held between December 9 and 16 in Thiruvananthapuram will honour a woman filmmaker with the Spirit of Cinema award. The felicitation was introduced in the last edition of the festival held in March this year, and the award was presented to Kurdish filmmaker Lisa Calan. In this edition, Iranian filmmaker and women’s rights activist Mahnaz Mohammadi will receive the award on the inaugural day of the IFFK.

Mahnaz's first documentary, Women without Shadows, told the story of homeless and abandoned women in a shelter home. She has directed several other documentaries including Travelogue, in which she interviews on a train, people who are leaving Iran. Son-Mother is her first fiction film which follows the story of a widow with two children who receives a marriage proposal that could help her financial situation. 

“Women have always been the biggest minority in the world and cinema can be used as a medium to talk about their pain and to try to make a difference,” Mahnaz told the IFFK media centre in an email interview. “Fearlessness is not something you have by birth but what you need to acquire,” she added, explaining how she had no other way than to pave a path for herself in life.

Among the other films by women directors, 25 will be screened in the World Cinema category, and two in the Malayalam Cinema Today category. The world cinema films include Klondike, directed by Marina Er Gorbach, a film that traces the lives of Ukrainian women. Other notable films include Mia Hansen Love's One Fine Morning, Maryam Touzani's The Blue Caftan, Valentina Maurel’s I have electric dreams, Marie Kreutzer’s Corsage, Alli Hapazalo’s Girl picture, Carla Simon’s Alcarra, and Julia Murat’s Rule 34.

Claire Denis’s film Both sides of the Blade is scheduled under the Auteur Odes category and Nandita Das’s Zwigato is included in the kaleidoscope section. Two films that Agnes Hrantizky co-directed with renowned Hungarian filmmaker Bela Tarr -- The Turin Horse and Werckmeister Harmonies -- will also be screened at the IFFK. Bela Tarr is also the winner of the Lifetime Achievement award this time and there will be a retrospective of his films at the IFFK. The award will be presented on the closing day of the fest.

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