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Democratising cinema

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AT THE HELM: Kerala State Chalachitra Academy vice-chairman V.K. Joseph, left, and chairman K.R. Mohanan.
AT THE HELM: Kerala State Chalachitra Academy vice-chairman V.K. Joseph, left, and chairman K.R. Mohanan.

N.J. NAIR

Kerala State Chalachitra Academy plans to widen its activities to popularise cinema among all sections of society.

The Kerala State Chalachitra Academy is gearing up to launch a new film initiative to take classics to all sections of society. Academy chairman K.R. Mohanan and vice-chairman V.K. Joseph strongly feel that one might come across good cineastes among the weaker sections of society too. The academy has charted out an action plan, starting with the 11th International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) in December, to popularise the classics. "The main aim of setting up the academy was to create a new culture that appreciates good cinema, and make it accessible to all those who want to see the best of world cinema. This was obvious from the pioneering initiative; the first festival of 100 films held in Kozhikode under the aegis of the Kerala State Film Development Corporation in 1995," recollects Mohanan.The late E.M. Sreedharan took the first step by allocating Rs.10 lakhs in the State budget for an international film festival in 1996. "The idea to launch an international film festival cropped up in an informal chat with `aniyettan' [E.M. Sreedharan] in the early nineties. He had an avid interest in Afro-Asian and Latin American films and wanted to popularise such films in Kerala. The stature of the festival started growing with the setting up of the academy and now IFFK is being reckoned as one of the notable festivals on the international circuit," says Joseph.Though Mohanan and Joseph are votaries of serious cinema, they plan to create a milieu conducive for the healthy coexistence of all kinds of cinema. "The academy is aware of its limitations in making a direct intervention in the industry, but we can play the role of a catalyst to promote healthy trends in the larger interests of society. We can don the role of an opinion leader and cultivate an audience that appreciates good cinema," says Mohanan.

Appreciation courses

"After IFFK, we plan to organise festivals, appreciation courses and interactive sessions with media professionals on the campuses for teachers and students. Such programmes will help youngsters whet their skills and motivate them to go in for different ventures. "Film clubs have also been planned on the campuses. The motto is to teach cinema through viewing and equipping students to make good films," says Joseph.Festivals of classics will be organised in district and taluk head quarters. Libraries, which have a strong presence in rural areas, can be made a venue for bringing together cinema enthusiasts and organising screenings, says Mohanan.The 11th IIFK promises to be a bonanza for cine buffs. As many as 143 films, which represent a cross-section of world cinema, would be screened at the festival. While the academy is looking forward for the cooperation of the fraternal organisations in Malayalam cinema, both Mohanan and Joseph feel that film-makers and technicians of Malayalam cinema should evince more interest in the festival and ensure better participation, so that they can imbibe the latest developments in international cinema. The festival is a window to the world and there should be a deep involvement of the Malayalam film and television industry, they say.

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