The 16th edition of the Chennai International Film Festival (CIFF) began yesterday, with the opening ceremony at Kalaivanar Arangam, Triplicane. The festival opened with the screening of the Japanese film Shoplifters, which won the Palm d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.
This year’s festival was inaugurated by five women – dance master Kala, filmmaker Gayathri Pushkar, sound engineer Geetha Gurappa, costume designer Poornima Ramasamy and art director Jayashree Lakshminarayan, who lit the lamp. Foreign delegates from various countries were present.
The president of CIFF, Kannan, spoke at the event and said they had compiled some of the best films in the world. The festival will run for eight days across six venues, including the NFDC where a red carpet has been organized. 150 films from 59 countries will be showcased.
Chief Minister Edappadi K Palanisamy had earlier announced an increase in this year’s annual subsidy for the festival. “We have been allotted a budget of Rs 75 lakh this year. Hence this year’s edition of the festival will be a better version,” said Kannan, thanking the government for its gesture.
He also added, “The International Film Festival of India (IFFI) held at Goa has more than Rs 25 crore at their disposal, whereas we operate within a budget of close to Rs 1 crore. Despite the monetary constraint we have tried our best to make this a success.”
A film on the Oscar-winning sound designer Resul Pookutty will be screened at the festival this year. For the first time, a film from Zambia is part of the screenings. Keeping with tradition, the festival will also showcase nine short films made by students of MGR Film and Television Institute.
This year’s edition will have a separate section for Tamil films, announced Murai, Joint Director of the Indo Cine Appreciation Committee, the festival organiser. Jury for CIFF will comprise of filmmakers Vikraman and Gayathri Pushkar and journalist Sukanth.
Foreign delegates from Australia, Taiwan, Japan and other countries spoke at the event.
The delegate from Japan received applause when he said this year marked the 20th anniversary of the release of Rajinikanth’s Muthu in Japan. A digitised version of the movie released in the country recently.
He also said, “Baahubali 2 released in Japan this year and went on to become successful. This shows that South Indian movies can draw Japanese audience into theatres.” He then introduced Shoplifters – the Japanese movie that opened the festival.
From the film industry, filmmaker Gayathri Pushkar attended and spoke at the event. She recalled her college days when she used to come for the festival with her filmmaker husband Pushkar.
The event closed with the screening of Shoplifters. Directed by the Hirokazu Kore-eda, known for Like Father, Like Son (2013), Nobody Knows (2004) and Still Walking (2008), Shoplifters is about a poverty-stricken family who adopts a girl they find on the street.