Chennai International Film Festival

Chennai International Film Festival

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The 11th Chennai International Film Festival (CIFF) jointly organised by the ICAF ( Indo Cine Appreciation Foundation), Ms. Suhasini Maniratnam and various other celebrities from the Tamil Film Industry  turned out to be a 8 day carnival for film critics and movie buffs alike. It was a celebration of cinema in the real sense. A total of 165 films from 58 countries were screened at 8 different screens in 5 venues ( Abirami, Inox, Woodlands, Casino, Rani Seethai Hall) from 12th - 19th December.
The opening ceremony held at Venkata Subbarao Hall, Lady Andal School, Chetpet was graced by actors Kamal Haasan and Aamir Khan who stressed the need for film festivals as it would expose the audience to world films which in turn would help us to improve the quality of our films with innovative concepts and techniques. To a question on the possibility of Kamal and Rajinikanth joining together for a movie, Kamal Haasan jokingly replied that if it was feasible for a producer to afford both their paycheques, they would be ready to act as both of them weren't rich enough to act without any remuneration.
The 11th CIFF proved to be grander than the previous years in various ways. The number of countries that participated too were considerably high than the previous years. The Amitabh Bachchan Youth Icon Award was started this year and true to its name the first recipient of the award was the young and latest sensation, music director Anirudh. The CIFF anthem composed by  Prakash and crooned by Andrea was a peppy one and conveyed the essence of the long standing bonding of Chennai-ites with cinema.
The films from various countries proved to be a great platform for film buffs to catch a glimpse of world cinema. Personally, my favourite was the Japanese film "Like Father Like Son" which was a simple heartening emotional drama of a father whose affection alters between his own blood son and his brought up son. The film received a standing ovation from the audience at the Casino Theatre and the impact the movie created lingered in my mind for long. "The Past", a French drama by Iranian director Asghar Farhadi was yet another effusive film about a couple who are seen to be separated through divorce by mutual consent. I had missed out certain films such as Parviz (Iran), The Green Umbrella (Iran),and Blue is the Warmest Colour (France) which had an interesting storyline and kindled my curiosity. But I couldn't catch up with them due to conflicting schedules. 
Tamil Films were screened in the competition section and 12 Tamil films battled it out for the Best Tamil Feature Film (1st and 2nd) , and a Special Jury Award for Individual Excellence. The Tamil Movies that took part in the competition were Aadhalaal Kadhal Seiveer, 6 Candles, Thanga Meengal, Haridas, Paradesi, Mariyaan, Soodhu Kavvum, Ponmalai Pozhudhu, Kumki, Moodar Koodam, Annakodi, Moondru Per Moondru Kadhal. Thanga Meengal and Haridas bagged the first and second places respectively and the child artistes who acted in the films were given awards for their excellent perfomances.  Actor Atharvaa was given the Special Jury Award for Individual Excellence for his performance in Paradesi. 
Special Forum Discussions were also a part of the film festival and one of the discussions dealt with the concept of Crowd Funding and the panellists who joined the discussion were director Pawan Kumar (whose Lucia was made by the crowd funding technique), noted film critic Sudhish Kamath and director R.P. Amudhan. Director Pawan Kumar elaborated on the Crowd Funding process that he had adopted for his film Lucia. In this process, funds would be collected from the public through social networking sites and online agencies for making a movie and the contributors would be duly credited as Producers, Executive Producers, etc., on the basis of the amount they contribute. He also said that he had given all the contributors an individual online link of the film which they could suggest to their friends and relatives. The contributor would earn money when a person viewed their respective links. By this method, movie piracy could be controlled to a large extent. Director R.P.Amudhan and Sudhish Kamath said that they are in plans to make their film Riddles and X respectively by crowd funding.   
 This is the first time I have attended a film festival and being a student of Media, I certainly feel that it is a step ahead in the right direction as the event was entirely entertaining as well as enriching. With a new wave of offbeat, unusual movies striking the gold at the box office, such films festivals are really the need of the hour for the generations to come who are passionate about good cinema and want to try out something novel. Eagerly awaiting the bigger and grander 12th Chennai International Film Festival.   
Sachin Balachandiran

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