What the ongoing IFFK 2019 offers this year for film buffs

Volunteers make it a smooth affair at IFFK

About 275 engage in guest management to control crowds at the screenings

The IFFK space is long acknowledged to be where cinema meets its connoisseurs in a casual and friendly ambience.

Creating the mood of camaraderie is quite a task especially when 11,000 delegates come flocking to 14 different venues to watch 186 movies categorised into 15 categories. This apart, there is the media chasing the big names that otherwise would rarely come visiting the State with their films.

The work of the volunteers, about 275 strong, is what helps make the affair smooth enough to earn the festival its famous delegate-friendly tag.

Pooled from different institutions and organisations, these volunteers work in shifts to manage the various sections of the festival.

They are paid ₹500 a day for their work. Some are given the task of working in the guest relations team, mostly students of the Kerala Institute for Tourism and Travel Studies(KITTS) who could add the experience in their resume.

After interviews, tests

“About 190 from KITTS had applied for this, of which 70 were selected after interviews,” says Sahala Safar, who is stationed at Hotel Hycinth to attend to the festival guests there.

Alan Artek is an exception. “I am from the Gulf and am accompanying my mother who is here to undergo a surgery. I wanted to use my free time productively and hence signed up for this,” he says.

The ones in the media cell are mostly PG Diploma students of journalism and mass communications from institutes across the State. “We had to take a test to be selected,” says Seethalakshmi from Kerala Press Academy, Kakkanad.

Managing the crowd at the theatre entrances before the shows is the difficult part of the assignment for the volunteers.

The chaos at times get down to fisticuffs between the crowd and the volunteers, and a lady volunteer, a police officer working after duty hours, claimed that she was pushed and jostled during one such melee.

All the friction between the delegates and the volunteers makes way for casual camaraderie as the show ends. The volunteers catch up on movies or grab a meal at the various food counters in and around the venues or the food vans stationed outside.

Secretary, Kerala State Chalachitra Academy, Mahesh Panju says crowd management is something that the academy will look into next year when the festival is celebrating 25 years. The choice of the volunteers, delegates as well as the selection process of films for the festival will be given more care, he says.

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2020 12:39:17 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/volunteers-make-it-a-smooth-affair-at-iffk/article30280766.ece

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