The section features the best of contemporary cinema from Afro-Asian and Latin American countries.

The competition section of 16th International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) might have grabbed headlines for the wrong reasons.

Festival organisers hope that the artistically rich palette of films being screened in the section will succeed in wooing the discerning festival audience.

The void created by the absence of Malayalam films is expected to be made good by the eleven films featured in the section. The films promise to bring to the silver screen a cocktail of powerful emotions that transcend all kinds of barriers by showcasing the best of contemporary cinema from Afro-Asian and Latin American countries. The strong representation of young directors, including four debutants, is guaranteed to breathe freshness into the section.

Renowned Chilean film-maker Pablo Perelman's inspirational tale The painting lesson, award-winning Columbian documentary film-maker Carlos Ceaser's film The colours of the mountain, A stone throw away by debut Mexican director Sebastian Hiriyath and noted Argentine director Carlos Sorin's The Cat Vanishes are the films from Latin America.

From Africa there is the Swahili film Dreams of Elibadi that deals with the issue of HIV AIDS and life in urban slums. The film is directed by the duo Nik Reding and Ka Mau Wang Dung. Black Blood, the second feature film by Chinese director Mian Shang also portrays the dark world of HIV-infected people living on the fringes of society. Iranian film Flamingo No.13 directed by debutant Hameed Rasay offers a different take on love in the backdrop of flamingo hunting. Turkish film Body directed by noted film-maker Mustafa Nurl follows the life of a porn star. Director Oscar Alper's film Future lasts forever tells the story of a music student's encounter with her own past as she follows the trail of the traditional Anatolian music of Turkey.

Giving tough competition to these foreign entries are the Indian films At the end of it all by Aditi Roy and Delhi in a day directed by Prashanth Nair, both debut directors. While Ms. Roy's film is about an estranged young man who discovers his mother and her life after her (the mothers' death), IT-entrepreneur-turned-director Prashanth Nair's film is a satirical take on the lives of the upper-middle class.

K. Kunhikrishnan, chairman of the IFFK preview committee for Indian films, which shortlisted the Indian films for the competition section, said Indian films that found a place in the Competition Section, including those that where later eliminated, exuded youthfulness and cinematic brilliance.

“Our committee viewed a total of 129 films, including 29 Malayalam films. I must say that I am proud of the Indian Cinema and Malayalam Cinema sections of the festival this year. We found it difficult to eliminate many films, especially Bengali and Marathi films,” Mr. Kunhikrishnan said.