She reached out for a Spanish-English dictionary and rifled through the pages saying, “I need to find this word. I have to describe it right.” Francisca Silva refused to make do with an erroneous translation when asked how she found Kerala and her first-time experience in the country. “There it is,” she exclaimed, indicating the word, ‘amazement.’

Ms. Francisca’s film, Ivan’s Woman, is being screened in the competition category at the International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK). Despite the blazing heat of the noonday sun, the young Chilean film maker’s face lit up while recounting her experience here so far, be it an evening on the Kovalam beach or a visit the city zoo and museum. She said while travelling, she made it a point to venture out on her own, walking through the city to get the feel of it, rather than being chauffeur-driven from one point to another. .

“It is so different from my country. The dress, the weather, the people, and of course, the food,” Ms. Francisca told The Hindu.

She said her country was at the forefront of human development and economic and cultural freedom as compared to her neighbours. “There is peace,” she stated simply, adding that the future looked bright for young film-makers, especially taking into consideration the fact that both the government and film aficionados in Europe were investing in the development of Latin American cinema. Religion, she said, did not possess an overwhelming control in driving the country’s socio-cultural changes and she admitted to being fortunate to belong to a generation of women who even spearheaded the country’s key reform initiatives.

“There are vast disparities in Chile, between those immensely wealthy and those who are worse off. Education and health are expensive and there are a few namesake policies adopted by the government for education. But these are not well implemented,” she said. Touching upon a recurring line of thought among film-makers this season — on the influence of Hollywood — Ms. Francisca too feels that the new generation of film-makers in her country had to stave off this threat.

“The essence of Chilean cinema now is profoundly personal, dealing with family and relationships,” she said.

Ivan’s Woman is based on the true story of a young Austrian girl’s kidnapping in 1998. It explores the relationship between the girl and the kidnapper.