A bouquet of over 138 films from 19 countries will be screened at the first Chennai International Short Film Festival that opens today

“A French village postman has to adapt to the new technology — air mail! He has to speed up his rounds to meet a new, tighter schedule, greet his customers, deal with a bicycle with a mind of its own and, of course, have a drink and a dance in the village pub.”

This story was told in 16 minutes flat by the iconic French filmmaker Jacques Tati, who carried the film with his brilliant flair for physical comedy.

School for Postman (Ecole Des Facteurs) made in 1947 is one of the eight French films in the bouquet of over 138 films from 19 countries at the first Chennai International Short Film Festival organised by the Chennai Academy of Motion Picture between February 20 and 23 at the Russian Centre, Kasturi Ranga Road, Alwarpet and the SRM Sivaji Ganesan Film Institute Auditorium, Jawaharlal Nehru Road (near Vadapalani signal). The curtains for the festival go up on Thursday evening at the Russian Centre.

The festival supported by the Madras Management Association is an initiative to support and encourage short filmmakers with limited avenues to showcase their films.

“We received over 350 entries despite being the first year,” says Srinivasa Santhanam, festival director. “We have three categories — world competition for short fiction films, a world competition for short documentary films and a world competition for short animation films. The films are no longer than 20 minutes. The non-competitive segments include contemporary films from Turkey, a country focus from France, Films from Estonia, apart from Indian Panorama and the World cinema section,” he explains. Over 42 short films from India will be screened at the festival.

A three-member jury comprising actress Rohini, editor Sreekar Prasad and actor-director Abishek will announce the winners of the competition section at the closing ceremony on February 23.

Though entry is free, delegates will need to register at the festival office 21/11, first floor, 3rd Cross Street, Seethammal Extension, Teynampet.

“Delegate registration is free for film society members, students from film Institutes and those studying visual communication, members of film industry associations, artistes and government officials,” Santhanam adds.

For details, email programmercisff@gmail.com or call 90032-58256.