The 17th International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) got off to a rousing start at Nishagandhi auditorium at Kanakakkunnu here on Friday with the audience being treated to a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

The viewers were transported to celluloid’s early days in the 1900s with a silent film, Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘The Ring,’ being screened and a live orchestra scoring the background music.

The score was composed and performed live by award-winning alto-saxophonist and British jazz sensation Soweto Kinch and his team in the auditorium, which was decked up to resemble the Roosevelt Theatre of Los Angeles where the movie was premiered in 1927.

Mr. Kinch was accompanied by Karl Rashid-Abel on the double bass/electric bass, Shaney Forbes on the drums, Robert Mitchell on the piano, Jay Phelps on the trumpet, Richard Henry on the trombone, and Paul Booth on the tenor sax/clarinet.

Minister for Cinema K.B. Ganesh Kumar said this was the first time that the orchestra, flown in exclusively for the IFFK, was performing thus for a movie outside the United Kingdom.

Refurbished complex

If the whirring sound of the projector and the screen on the stage created the ambience of yore, the first day of the week-long festival also saw the opening of the refurbished and re-equipped Kairali, Sree, and Nila theatre complex.

Inaugurated by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, the complex took a mere four months and Rs.3 crore to be completed by Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd.’s engineering wing and boasts a Rs.7.5-lakh silver screen and ultramodern projection and sound systems.

The festival, which will have more than 12 cinemas screening five films a day and present 198 films to nearly 8,000 delegates, will from Saturday have a special exhibition on Malayalam actor Sathyan.

The exhibition is part of the ‘Indian Cinema 100’ exhibition series being organised by the Films Division. The exhibition will also coincide with the 100th birth anniversary of Sathyan, showcasing a collection of his movies at Kanakakkunnu from 11 a.m. on Saturday.

Homage

The second day of the festival will also see the screening of P.N. Menon’s ‘Olavum Theeravum’ starring the late Jose Prakash. Part of the Homage category of the festival, the screening will be held from 6.30 p.m. at Nishagandhi auditorium, and will be open to the public.