Eminent Manipuri director Aribham Shyam Sharma inaugurated the fifth edition of International Film Festival of Thrissur (IFFT), the second largest film festival in Kerala on Friday. Sri Lankan film Akasa Kusum, which won the Silver Peacock at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI), Goa, was the opening film. Director Prasanna Vithanage introduced the film to the audience. Kerala Revenue Minister K.P. Rajendran delivered the keynote address at the function.
Organized by Thrissur Chalachitra Kendram, the five-day festival will screen nearly 50 films from 12 countries in two venues: Goergettan's Ragam and Elite International Auditorium. The main focus of the fair is an Arab package of five films from West Asian countries like Egypt, Algeria and Morocco.
Masters and Classics, Children"s films, Young films, Beyond Universe, Folk waves and Contemporary World Films are the major sessions in the fest.
The Contemporary World Cinema section will include Wayne Wang"s A Thousand Years of Good Prayers (U.S.), Sergei Dvortsevoy"s Tulpan (Kazhakhstan), Laurent Cantet"s The Class (France), Carlos Reygadas" Silent Light (Mexico), Nadine Labaki"s Caramel (Lebanon) and Juan Antonio Bayona"s The Orphanage (Mexico).
In the Indian session, films by renowned directors Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Girish Kasaravalli (Gulabi Talkies), K.P. Kumaran (Aakashagopuram) and T.V. Chandran (Vilapangalkkappuram) will be screened.
The festival will pay tribute to late Egyptian director Youssef Chahine by screening his films An Egyptian Story, The Land and New York. Chahine, whose films criticized political oppression and Islamic extremism in Egypt, died last year. The festival will also honour Tapan Sinha, doyen of Indian cinema, with the screening of his Kabuliwala.
A retrospective of the works of Youseff Chahine, David Ofek and Aribam Shyam Sharma (Sanabi and Ishanou) will be screened. An exhibition of paintings by Damodar Nambidi, film workshops and lectures will be part of the fair. Pavithran Memorial Lecture will be delivered by Bhavani Somaiya, former editor of Screen, on Monday.