The black film reel wound between the two discs rotated at a constant speed. With a magnifying glass in his hands, Anil Kumar had begun his hunt to find the two words-Bacami Ancera on the reel. A few seconds passed before he looked up from his magnifying glass and said with a smile “Kiss me again”.

At the Film Print Unit of the 16 International Film Festival Kerala here in the city, the members had just discovered the English name of an Italian Film selected for this year’s festival. However, the work was far from over for Anil Kumar and his team of Lab Technicians from the Kerala State Film Development Corporation. A film print is checked at least thrice during the festival- prior to the first screening, after the screening and before being sent back to the respective countries. With 193 films scheduled for screening, they know their hands are full until the festival ends.

The unit responsible for verification of the film prints plays a major role in ensuring that the movies are screened in its proper format. “When the film prints arrive from various countries, we have to identify the format of the film and confirm that they have subtitles”, explained S.Balakrishnan, Unit Chief who has been a part of the unit as early as 1988.

As soon as the pack arrives, the numbers of reels are checked to ensure that the package has the complete set of reels. The film prints then reach the checking table where that are classified according to the type of gauge (either 16mm or 35 mm). The format of the film is also decided which are classified into normal, scope, wide screen. The duration of the movie is determined, which helps the organisers to prepare the schedule list. Film prints are also checked for damages and a detailed report is given if any, added Mr.Balakrishnan.

“The sound system also has classification which can be mono, Dolby A, Dolby SR or Digital (DTS).It is based on this classification that one decides the theatres for screening”, said K.Gopakumar of the team reading from the white sticker that he had pasted on the film boxes after the classification.

Pointing to a number of colourful film print boxes stacked in a row, N.Prabhakaran Nair of the team said that sometimes they made use of split spoons (a protective case) such as those to keep the reels from any damage, as many film prints had no such case. Once they are classified, it is ready to be transported to the various venues. On its return from screening, they are rechecked again, he added.

“ The unit will function even after the festival ends as we are in charge of the final checking and packing the prints before being send back to the respective countries”, added Mr.Prabhakaran.