Director Sanal Kumar Sasidharan, whose latest film Chola opened to rave reviews at its premier at Venice International Film Festival has decided to withdraw his film from the upcoming International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) due in December.
In his latest Facebook post, Sanal says, "Chola has been invited to the Kaleidoscope section in the 24th IFFK. I am much humbled by the invitation but I have sent a mail stating that I am withdrawing the film from the festival, protesting against its overtly biased and unprofessional way of selection process in the Malayalam Cinema Today section. I believe that, it would be huge irresponsibility from my part to participate in the festival which is openly biased and outdated in its selection process." The Malayalam Cinema Today section is scheduled to screen 12 films, including Jallikattu, Virus, Kumbalangi Nights and Unda.
Chola, starring Joju George, Nimisha Sajayan and Akhil Vishwanath, is a road journey of two teenagers who elope, and has been hailed by critics at film festivals worldwide. In his post, Sanal also hints about the theatrical release of the movie, "Chola will be released soon in theatres! I support the Reform the IFFK movement, a movement initiated by my fellow film makers in Indie cinema sector, though I am not part of that movement for personal reasons," he explains.
Sanal, who has been criticizing the way the Kerala Chalachitra Academy organizes the IFFK for some time for not promoting indie movies, had been conducting Kazhcha Indie Film Festival parallel to the IFFK in Thiruananthapuram.