At the opening ceremony of the 10th edition of International Documentary And Short Film Festival Of Kerala, Pinarayi Vijayan, the chief minister of Kerala, declared his solidarity with the filmmakers whose documentaries were banned by the Ministry Of Information Of Information And Broadcasting. “We will continue to provide platforms to those who raise voices of dissent in a democratic way,” said Vijayan. “We are committed to protect the secular and democratic ethos of India… A ban is not end of the road for artistes,” he added.
The central government had refused to give a censor exemption to three documentary films to be screened at the film festival – The Unbearable Being of Lightness, by PN Ramachandra on the death of Rohith Vemula and ensued protests; In the Shade of Fallen Chinar, by NC Fazil and Shawn Sebastian on the violent conflicts in Kashmir; and March, March, March by Kathu Lukose on the JNU protests. The filmmakers had approached the Kerala High Court to get the ban revoked, but the court dismissed their plea saying that the filmmakers had no locus standi to file the case. It said that only the Kerala Chalachitra Academy, who is the organiser of the festival, could file a plea on the issue.
While Vijayan urged the filmmakers to make use of online platforms like Youtube which is free from censorship hassles, AK Balan, Kerala state minister of culture, said that the state government would plead in the case moved by the directors of banned films in Kerala High Court. “The government has decided to join the case and convey its opinion”, he said.
The IDSFFK will feature 210 films, out of which 77 are in the competition category. Sakhisona, a short film produced by FTII and directed by Prantik Basu, was the opening film at the festival. A fantasy tale, Sakhisona had won the prestigious Tiger award at International Film Festival Of Rotterdam in February 2017.
This year’s Filmmaker In Focus is Mai Masri, the Palestinian filmmaker who is known for her poignant documentaries set against the backdrop of Israel-Palestine conflicts. Five of her films – Children of Shatila (1998), Frontiers of Dreams and Fears(2001), Beirut Diaries (2006), 33 Days (2007), and 3000 Nights – will be screened at the festival.
Another filmmaker in focus is Vipin Vijay, the Malayali filmmaker, who is known for his highly stylized and experimental films like Chithrasoothram (Image Threads) and The Egotic World.
Featured Image Courtesy: Firstpost