IFFK 2017: Heroes from behind the scenes

From staff to volunteers and independent artists, they ensure IFFK retains its charm amidst the ruckus.

Thiruvananthapuram: The volunteers at the IFFK silently work behind the scenes without ever getting to watch movies. For J. Sukumaran, who works with the Kerala State Chalachitra Academy, this is his 15th IFFK and he sits at the academy stall. He has not watched a single film at the festival though he has acted in ‘Kanyaka Talkies’ and many other Malayalam movies. He is too busy during the festival month that he would never get to watch a movie. The volunteers also lose track of time, not knowing that it was a Sunday that passed by. On Monday, one of the IFFK volunteers got a filmmaker ready for a screening scheduled on Tuesday. However, no one is complaining.

“We get to meet so many new faces,” says academy staffer G. Sasikala. This is her 12th festival. Some would be standing for hours to keep the event going. One of them, T.K. Divya, the cashier at the canteen on Tagore Theatre premises, had come to IFFK as a delegate around three years ago. Many of the volunteers who take care of guests said that it didn’t matter that they did not get to watch films. “This is a great chance to make friends from other countries. Some of them still keep in touch,” says R. Mohit, a volunteer. They are the ones with interesting tidbits about guests. MBA student Nikitha Mary Siprees shares how they speak like telegraphic signals to a foreign filmmaker who doesn’t know English.

Autorickshaw drivers, who ferry delegates from one venue to another, did not have time to stop and talk about how little time they had. They would start working at 9 a.m. and wind up by 8.30 p.m. If anyone thought that was long, they ought to speak to volunteers with airport duty. BBA student Clyde Fernandez, after his night shift transporting guests from hotel to airport, had returned to the hotel to help his friends handling guest relations. “The event will last for not more than a week. We can sleep afterwards,” he says.

Brush strokes to protect nature

If you visit Tagore Theatre premises, you will see a young man making the portraits of people on cloth bags. The artist, Vigil, does not take more than 15 minutes to complete the picture. Many gather around him only to watch him complete the work. “It is not just to make money that I started such a thing. In the 15 minutes I spend with the subject, I get to know about a new life, a bit about this new person. It is like a 15-minute diary. I might forget their names. However, the conversations are important,” he says.

He said that while painting on cloth bags was an idea his friends gave him, he has always ensured that he followed eco-friendly practices. “Like all true blue artists,” he says. He has created several installations with silencers and loudspeakers to convey messages against noise pollution. He says that the exercise is also part of his practice of art. After graduating from Government College of Fine Arts, Thrissur, he has been doing nature study and portrait study. He would paint every morning and evening only to study light. Not being used to painting on bags, initially he made some attempts before he got it right. “This is a competition with oneself,” he says.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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