The 24th International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK), scheduled to be held in Thiruvananthapuram next month, has run into rough weather after eight directors approached the High Court on Friday with a petition alleging that their films have been treated unfairly by the Kerala State Chalachitra Academy.
The petition alleges that the Academy’s screening committee did not even view their feature films properly before dismissing them for screening under the ‘Malayalam cinema now’ category. The HC, after accepting the plea, sent a notice to the Academy.
The eight filmmakers who approached the HC on Friday were Sunil Kumar Sukumaran, Satheesh Babusenan, Venu Nair, Prathap Joseph, Santhosh Babusenan, Vinod Krishna, Sajas Rahman and Siddique Paravoor.
“In the section to ‘Malayalam cinema now’, the selection has to be made from 93 films which the selection committee claimed they viewed in 12 days, which is impossible even if the average length of films was only 90 minutes. This will require 14 hours of film viewing every day with 2 hours of lunch and refreshment breaks. These data should prove that the selection panel either did not see a large number of films or saw only small portions of films,” the petition claimed.
“This is highly improper, unethical and a grievous injustice to the makers of these films,” it read.
The petition also alleged that out of the films that were eventually selected, 8 are commercial and have been circulated through online mediums and theaters. “The said selection will defeat the very intention of conducting the IFFK,” it said.
Earlier this week, Indrasis Acharya, the Bengali filmmaker who directed ‘The Parcel’, had complained to IFFK that his film was not viewed by the Academy before it was turned down for public screening at the festival. “I had uploaded my film on Vimeo and had sent IFFK the link. When I saw my film was not on the list of films selected for screening, I checked Vimeo to see if they had viewed the film. The person who uploads the film can see whether the person to whom the link was sent has seen the film or not. That’s when I realised they had not even watched the film,” he told IEMalayalam.com.
“They told me that they had downloaded my film on September 19 from Vimeo. But I had disabled the download option. If they had watched the film using the link I sent, I would have gotten the notification from Vimeo. I strongly believe they haven’t watched the film,” he added.