Wednesday, March 11, 2020

IFFK Competition section

My phone stopped working around morning and I didn't bother to find the perfect angle for the charger. I can skip a few calls and a few people. Makes me feel better and normal.I have classes all day. The college i teach sometimes get me on my nerves since there is classes in the morning and evening.  Its hectic and makes me want to quit.My Academic head comes and ask me to send him a passport size picture. I open the desktop go to my mail and see a mail from Kerala Chalachitra academy. I imagine roughly the content of the mail. "your film is good ..blah ..blah ..blah ... but we cant select your film...better luck next time" I don't open the mail. The academic head stands next to me as i send him my passport picture. The one i took before leaving for Thailand. The one in which I look like a wild animal catching a beam of light whhile crossing a road. I open the mail again. 

"We are happy to inform you that your film Vrithakrithyilulla Chathuram has been recommended for screening in the International Competition Section of the 24th International Film Festival of Kerala to be held from the 6th-12th December 2019 at Trivandrum, Kerala.   ". 

I am silent. I turn around to my academic head and tell him. He asks me to send another passport size picture for some other thing. I am not excited. I should be.

I try to find the perfect angle to get charge onto my phone. i remember vaguely wishing if i had a good phone. There is enough charge and I started getting calls from my team mates. I am still not sure if the news is authentic. To be in the international film festival of kerala and that too to be in competition with jallikattu (the film of my favorite Malayalam director Lijo ) I should be excited. I am not. This happens to me. I am never in the moment. I am on a random trip in a good moment. Then i celebrate the memory.
Vysakh Reetha my associate comes to see me as we prepare for something related to post production of our film. I start to get calls from a lot of people. My wife had ordered a new phone. I will pay her back the money. Now  i can receive calls. i feel a lot better. How a small thing like a mobile phone empowers you. Then after 4 days and answering to some 25 calls it struck me. This is big. i am excited and overwhelmed. I am so excited I am shivering. This is a high. 

VC poster 1

Vrithakrithyilulla Chathuram poster 2 

the premiere

Director kamal speaking about our film 

To be in context IFFK 
The International Film Festival of Kerala (abbreviated as IFFK) is a film festival held annually in Thiruvananthapuram, the capital city of Kerala, India. This film festival started in 1996 and is hosted by the Kerala State Chalachitra Academy on behalf of Department of Cultural AffairsGovernment of Kerala. The festival is held in November or December every year and is acknowledged as one of the leading cultural events in India.[
Several national and international films have their premiers at the IFFK each year. Competition section is limited to 14 selected films produced in Asia, Africa or Latin America.[2] The festival also has a section devoted to Malayalam cinema

I am suddenly a filmmaker even-though I have been making content for the past 6 years now. This is a niche local circle. This is where malayali filmmakers want to belong. I am in it. We are in competition. There should be bliss but the excitement soon turns into a nightmare of depression and paranoia as it always happen with me and my mental state triggered by the slightest inconveniences. 

The fear of inevitable death had creeped in a few years back.  My associate director once said 'we need to keep ourselves alive till iffk". As a film lover and resident of trivandrum Iffk had opened up world cinema to us. I remember crowding around theatres to watch great films, engaging in conversation at indian coffee houses, secretly admiring filmmakers and their non-chalance. 
On the day of screening our 5.1 dcp didn't work - we had given dcp making to an idiot and he screwed it up and we didn't have budget to check in a theatre. The chalchitra acadamy also was not prompt in checking our files. We all felt bad. The film was well received and academy helped us rectify the sound. 

At the festival our film was greeted with joy. There was an overwhelming response. We had our international premier at the best place possible. T V channels were speaking to us continuously. Some said it was fluke while others said it was well deserved. Some loved the film ,some loathed.

We didn't win any awards. We were just in the moment. In the high. With the flow. 

Me and My associate director - Vysakh Reeetha

our team meeting the press

Syama our costume stylist and art director

me and Vysakh reetha at meet the director

Dignitaries on stage before meet the press

With channel 24

Pur cast and crew few minutes before screening

edtor Rakesh chherumadam at screening 

I got a momento for the film - memento 

Between technical malfunction we answer the crowd

Vishnu Prabhu . Nikhil, Shyamin, Sreelakshmi, Shreya

Syama's fangirl moment with Oorali martinand writer Unni and Zhinz 

Rakesh (editor) and Shyamin (second unit director)

Answering questions 

Zhinz Shan actor at IFFK


Our lead actress S Kukku and associate Director Vysakh R eetha 

Amma and Pirapancode Shantha at the Show 

With Doordarshan 

Interview with Athira from Indian express 

Interview with Athira from Indian express 

Meet the director event

To be in a competition - shooting a film with minimal resources (sony alpha and vintage lenses) on a minimal budget - to tell a compelling story - we have infact validated ourself as resourceful, creative, compelling storytellers and could compete with grand big major films. To be on a podium with all these big fishes itself is a kickass feeling.  We know what we did to get there. There is no IMPOSTER syndrome, There is no Dunning Kruger Effect - there is exhaustion from all the exerting and pushing oneself. Without a programmer , without any mentor from the festival, without any help some of us outsiders are here to represent our art. chalachitra academy deserves a big round of applause.

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