IFFK Movies

Action off screen

Every December, the city of Thiruvananthapuram gets ready for its annual rendezvous with cinema; the time when the russet-coloured crow pheasant, emblem of the Kerala Chalachitra Academy, soars high. All roads lead to the theatres. Misty mornings and twilights get heated up with passionate discussions on everything cinema.

Making this Festival a smooth and memorable affair are scores of people working behind the scenes of the IFFK. Most of them miss out on many of the films being screened but without them the festival would not have been this extravaganza, said to be the biggest of its kind in Asia.

MetroPlus meets some of the people who make the IFFK happen.

The IT connect

Members of Azinova Technologies

Members of Azinova Technologies   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

For nine years now, Azinova Technologies has been behind the software development and technical support of IFFK. A 100-member team, of which 25 are employees of Azinova, has been working round the clock to make the fete a hassle-free experience.“Now that there is one-time registration for a lifetime, the number of delegates crossed 6,000 on a single day and we had to stop the registration within two days of opening it,” says Shani L. Ganga, CEO and managing director of Azinova. The 21st edition comes with a lot of special features. “We have introduced Radio Frequency ID Card in place of the PVC card, which has an unique identification number. The cards are scanned at the entrance of the theatre using Near Field Technology (NFC),” says Shani. The movies watched by each delegate can be tracked and recorded.

Digital display boards in front of each theatre gives information about the movie being screened, number of seats reserved, number of seats already occupied and number of seats available in other theatres. Touch kiosks have been set up for booking and voting.

The decor

Hylesh, who has designed festival office

Hylesh, who has designed festival office   | Photo Credit: Athira M.

Hylesh completes a decade of his association with IFFK. His designs at the festival venue, especially the decor of the festival office, have always piqued interest. The eco-friendly 130-ft long and 40-ft wide festival office-cum-delegate cell at Tagore Theatre stands out for its simple, yet elegant design made of bamboo and jute. “The main problem was procuring quality bamboo. We needed the stems in both green and yellow shades and of the right length and shape. It took us five days to finish the work at the festival office,” he says.

In addition, his team came up with installations dedicated to the late Kavalam Narayana Panicker at the main entrance of Tagore. Besides a figure of the thespian, they designed elements like a banyan tree, a pond and temple to symbolise his verse, ‘Aalayaal thara venam’. The entrance of Kanakakkunnu grounds has a figure of ONV Kurup, with visual elements that evoke his famous lines, ‘Oru vattam koodi..’.

Designer’s palette

IFFK design by Priyaranjanlal

IFFK design by Priyaranjanlal   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

It is Priyaranjanlal’s second stint with the IFFK as designer. He has done “identity design” for the festival; his designs are used in all publicity material related to the fete, be it posters, bags, stationery, hoardings, festival book, handbook and the like.


Priyaranjanlal   | Photo Credit: Photo: Special Arrangement

“I have experimented with the nature of the logo. The crow pheasant, the festival bird, and the leather puppet, logo of the IFFK, have been seamlessly incorporated in the designs. They are projected in different ways on different surfaces without tampering with the basic character. The colours have been used in such a way to give a festive mood. The placement and composition vary from surface to surface,” he says.

Master of ceremonies

Team of anchors of IFFK

Team of anchors of IFFK   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

The current edition has 30 youngsters handpicked as anchors. Their main duty is to introduce the films to the delegates before almost every screening. Anchors will be present at seven screens, while rest of the screens will have recorded introductions. They also act as comperes at lectures, seminars and other sessions of the fete. “Nearly 100 applications were received from various colleges out of which 30 were selected for the grooming sessions. This involved giving them an overall idea about the festival, in addition to soft skill training, with lectures and sessions on voice control and management. They should have command over both English and Malayalam. They are also given assignments and elaborate information about guests, movies and filmmakers at the fete. They are prepared to handle any situation,” says Govind Radhakrishnan, who leads the grooming session.


Volunteers of IFFK at a training session

Volunteers of IFFK at a training session   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

IFFK volunteers fall into two categories- those who handle guest relations and hospitality and those who manage the crowds at theatres. “We had called for entries from youngsters and got over 250 of them, some of them from outside the city. They went through a screening process after which 75 of them - 50 men and 25 women - were selected. We chose those with communication skills and dedication. They handle every little aspect related to the guest they are assigned to, starting with their accommodation, travel, food and even hospital emergency, if needed. They have to be on their toes till the guest goes to sleep!” says Arjun Ayillath, who coordinates these volunteers.

Meanwhile 160 volunteers manage the crowd at theatres. “That includes college students, ex-servicemen and government employees. They have been given specific instructions on how to interact with the delegates whatever be the situation. These volunteers work in two shifts, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 2 p.m. till the last show. There are seven volunteers plus theatre employees at each cinema hall. They have been instructed to give special care to senior citizens and disabled delegates,” says Sivakumar, volunteer-in-charge.

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Printable version | Sep 24, 2021 8:05:12 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/Action-off-screen/article16783888.ece

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