In the past few months, several film festivals across the globe have either been held virtually or in a hybrid fashion. But Chennai International Film Festival (CIFF), which was pushed from December last year to this February due to the pandemic, will be a complete on-ground event. The fest will kickstart on February 18.
“Everything has opened up now. The government has allowed 100 per cent occupancy in theatres. So, we decided to host the festival in a safe, but engaging way. We will be following all the SOPs — masks and sanitisation will be mandatory, there will be staggered screening and proper social distancing,” says AVM K Shanmugam, one of the committee members of the parental body of CIFF, ICAF.
What will also be new this year is the masterclass, conducted by some of the best in the film industry. “VFX specialist Srinivas Mohan, who has worked on Bãhubali, and CG artist Arul Murthy, who has worked on some of Shankar’s films, including I, will be part of the masterclass. Editor Ruben needs no introduction. We also have Balaji Mohan, who started as a YouTube filmmaker and delivered some really good films on the big screen. KV Anand is an encyclopedia when it comes to cinematography and scriptwriting. Music director D Imman, actress and acting coach Kalairani, DOP Rahthnavelu, writer S Ramakrishnan, audiographer Udhayakumar, costume designer Daksha Pillai and wildlife photographer Udayam Kalyana Sundaram will also be delivering masterclass sessions for a live audience. We’ve got some of the most talented people to give an insight into the functioning of the film industry,” he says.
Another highlight, Shanmugam says, will be the involvement of students from colleges across the city. “We reached out to several colleges in the last two months through Madras University. We formed a group, consisting of students from VisCom department. We have been sharing links of at least two-three world films with them, so that they can broaden their horizon,” says Shanmugam, adding, “They will be attending the masterclass sessions as well. We have also invited students from film institutes. Till now, we have about 200 students alone, who’ve registered for the masterclass. The idea is to get the next generation of crowd coming in and give them access to some of the best international films. We want to make CIFF a truly international film festival. Chennai should become a destination for people from Southeast Asia to come and be a part of a film festival of international standard.”
A tribute for namma SPB!
“We are planning to honour late singer SP Balasubrahmanyam from the chamber. There are plans to host talks as well, as part of the opening ceremony. We are yet to firm up the line-up of events,” says Shanmugam.