‘Curated section has films that connect with heart and mind’: Shaji N. Karun

Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 28: The upcoming 20th edition of the International Film Festival of Kerala will feature 20 movies that have been handpicked by renowned director and chairman of IFFK 2015 advisory committee Shaji N. Karun.  

The films have been compiled into three categories: ‘First Look’ featuring debutant filmmakers from around the world, ‘Women Power’ on stories told from the point of view of women and ‘Based on True Stories’, which are movie adaptations of real-life people and events. 

“We were looking for movies that followed their own unique aesthetics and ways to tell their stories,” the National Award-winning director said. “The movies selected connect with the heart first, and then goes in for cerebral processing.”

With ‘First Look’, Karun envisioned a category that conceptualised how “the idea of new generation movies is conceived among global film fraternity”. “We carry around wrong notions about ‘new generation’ films and filmmakers. The term doesn’t encompass everything that is new or is made by young directors.”

“This category aims to create a reference point for our society to relate their idea of new generation films against how it’s understood elsewhere,” he said. In choosing the seven films in this category, emphasis was laid given to the directors’ selection and treatment of subjects in their first ventures and their takes on contemporary issues. This helped offset the technical handicaps some directors faced.

“I’ve seen some internationally acclaimed movies made only with a mobile camera. It is the creative expressions that the filmmaker imparts in those works that make them unique. Some of the movies have been under consideration for the Oscars or been highly rated and won prestigious awards at a number of international film festivals – even overshadowing established film makers.”

The ‘Women Power’ section was created to juxtapose the traditional patriarchal structures and biases against life through a woman’s eye. The seven films in this section – not all by women filmmakers – dwell on the female psyche.

“Women the world over are, in a way, caretakers of humanity. The labours they undertake to stitch family bonds together, the delicate care they give to provide for and sustain crucial social structures are vital. And all the more remarkable considering women are among the most vulnerable groups in our society.

“The films in this category address their universal pain, the importance of family and its bonds and also explore the lives of women from different cultural milieus all over the world.”

In the ‘True Story’ category are six movies that have followed the adage that ‘truth is sometimes stranger than fiction’. “Each has basis in real life events and experiences – which are narrated through visual expressions”. “It just shows that real-life incidents can be more dramatic than those thought-up.”

While Karun noted that the section and genre “may get classified as docu-fiction”, he said that “more the drama of a real-life incident, the creative energy used to identify a movie from that real-life experience is what I considered important while selecting movies for this category”.

The common thread to each sub-category is “identification of the humanness with its pleasure and pain by filmmakers around the world”, Karun added. “Their choice of visualisation – the sequence between yelling ‘action’ and ‘cut’ – was the prime consideration while selecting the movies.”

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