IFFK at 20: New festival design reflects marriage of Kerala, cinema and art


Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 25: The official design for the upcoming 20th edition of the International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) takes its cues from both filmmaking philosophy and Kerala’s culture.

Prominent artist Ajayakumar noted that his concept drew inspiration from living traditions like the ‘Pookalam’ flower arrangements during the Onam festival as also Buddhist ‘mandalas’.

“The circular floral structure represents the universe made up of such integral elements as water (represented by the fish), earth (the snakes), air (the birds) and human beings (the eyes). Each is an integral part of the whole,” said the artist, a former principal of the College of Fine Arts here, who has held shows at, among other major platforms, the Kochi-Muziris Biennale. 

However, the moon and its many phases form the dominant and most pertinent image. “The various changes of the moon found in moon charts reflect the transformation of the dark and the light – the basis of cinematography,” he added.

The magic of cinema is imbibed in the shade, agreed Shaji N. Karun, IFFK 2015 advisory committee chairman. “Light and shade, along with sight and insight are the basics of filmmaking.”

The new festival design is full of such nuance, said the celebrated filmmaker. “For instance, the birds also represent an important IFFK motif – the Chakoram (Crow Pheasant) bird. In Sanskrit and Malayalam literature, the bird is depicted as sustaining itself on rays of moonlight.”

Much like how filmgoers gain illumination from a beam of light projected into a dark cinema hall.

“Thamasoma jyothirgamaya – from darkness, light,” said Bose Krishnamachari, renowned artist and co-founder of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale. “Darkness carrying the light. It’s very meaningful.”

As, he said, is the collaboration between the IFFK and art. “For a project like the IFFK to have the vision to explore how it looks through an artist’s eyes, it carries great meaning.”

“The importance of artistic intervention is there to see. Each imagery element (in the design) is important. Ajayakumar has used interesting imagery – the flower pattern with birds and fish as individual petals. It’s a like flower coming into bloom.”

Much the same can be said of IFFK 2015 as Kerala’s premier film festival prepares to come into flower on Friday, December 4.

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