Thiruvananthapuram: It is raining new filmmakers in Kerala, going by the number of entries to the 23rd International Film Festival of Kerala. Out of 12 films selected for the 'Malayalam Cinema Today' section, 10 are by debutants. These were chosen from 93 submissions, of which 57 were new filmmakers.
Never before has the start of a new era been spelt so legibly. "We were wonderstruck by the huge number of new filmmakers. This has never happened in the history of IFFK," says Kerala State Chalachitra Academy chairperson Kamal.
The academy had plans to include more young filmmakers, but the number of submissions exceeded its expectations.
It had changed the rules and regulations of IFFK to increase the number of films in 'Malayalam Cinema Today' from seven to 12. Of the 12, the academy had decided that six must be the first or second film of a filmmaker, but it ended up choosing 10 films by new filmmakers.
The phenomenon was not limited to this section. "The academy had made a conscious decision, after a consultative meeting in which filmmakers like Dr Biju suggested that there should be more representation from younger directors. However, over the previous years, we have seen a lot of new filmmakers coming up. In fact, even in the international competition section, a considerable number of entries are from new filmmakers," says academy vice-chairperson Bina Paul.
One of the factors that favoured the entry of new filmmakers is the digitisation of filmmaking. "Now, many are willing to experiment. There are more independent films. Earlier, filmmakers would eagerly wait for their chance to be directors. They would mature to the role of a director after studying filmmaking at institutes or assisting other directors. Now, many learn filmmaking while shooting their films," says Kamal.
That has not affected the quality of films at all, according to him.
He reckons that the selection committee must have found it tough to make its choice. Among films it let go of was the national award winning 'Alorukkam.'
The Malayalam debut films are 'O"ath' by P.K. Bijukuttan, 'Parava' by Soubin Shahir, 'Udalazham' by Unnikrishnan Avala, 'Bilathikuzhikal' by A.K. Vinu, 'Eeda' by B. Ajithkumar, 'Kottayam' by Binu Bhaskar, 'Humans of Someone' by Sumesh Lal, 'Sleeplessly Yours' by Goutham Surya and Sudeep Elamon as well as 'Ave Maria' by Vipin Radhakrishnan. Debutant Zakariya's 'Sudani from Nigeria' has been selected in the international competition section. If it wins, this will truly be the film festival of debutants.