From a week-long festival attracting film buffs and celebrities, the recently concluded eighth Chennai International Film Festival (CIFF) grew into a notable event, drawing not just film personalities but also eager groups of college students.
The college students accounted for 25 per cent of the 2,000 registrations this year. Last year, the total registration was 1,200. Unlike last year when most of the students were from the M.G.R. Film and Television Institute and select city colleges, this edition of the CIFF saw students from across the State. Colleges in Madurai, Coimbatore and Tiruchi had chosen the best of their students from departments such as visual communication and mass media and sent them for the festival.
For K. Vishnupriya, who attended the CIFF for the second consecutive year, this year's festival exceeded all expectations. “I always aspired to become a filmmaker. This was a step in that direction … meeting international filmmakers was a learning experience,” says the student of PSG College of Arts and Science, Coimbatore. Her parents, who are medical practitioners are regulars to the International Film Festival of Kerala, observe that CIFF has every chance to become India's best.
“Most of them stayed here for all the nine days and had been active participants in discussions with film personalities,” observes E.Thangaraj, the festival director and secretary of Indo-Cine Appreciation Foundation, which organised the festival.
Celebrity attendances also saw an increase this year, especially at the red-carpet shows organised for invited guests almost every evening. The attempt was to encourage film personalities to watch world cinema and also facilitate discussions between them about the films. According to Mr.Thangaraj, the red-carpet shows managed to attract a lot of film actors and directors, who were not seen in earlier editions of CIFF.
If the discussions between the students and film personalities are nothing new to CIFF, interactions with top-notch international filmmakers were certainly a fresh addition. This year, over 15 films were added to the ‘Presentation' category, which had discussions with the filmmakers or actors of the movie post screening.
This year's foreign delegation for the Presentation category included two filmmakers from Venezuela, three from China and one from Argentina. From the Indian film industry, two directors from Bollywood, one from Kolkata, five from Karnataka, and seven from Malayalam film industry participated.