Titles from more than 14 countries will be screened at the 11th International Documentary and Short Film Festival of Kerala, which will be held in Thiruvananthapuram from July 20-July 24. Organised by the Kerala State Chalachitra Academy, an autonomous body under the state government’s Department of Cultural Affairs, the festival will open with Ai Weiwei’s refugee-themed documentary Human Flow.
This year’s festival line-up includes films from Australia, South Korea, Argentina, Qatar, France, Spain, Canada, United States of America, United Kingdom, Japan and Germany, among others. In all, 34 international films, including Cyril Aris’s The President’s Visit, Fernando E Solanas’s A Journey to Fumigated Town, Jérémy Comte’s Fauve, Mike Hill’s Hippocratic and Youssef Nasser’s Sculpting in Time, will be screened at the festival.
Nine Indian films will compete in the long documentary category. These include Hemant Gaba’s An Engineered Dream, about the pressure at coaching institutes in Rajasthan’s Kota, Debalina Majumder’s documentary on queer love In Fact…, and Shilpi Gulati’s Lock and Key, which is set in a rehabilitation centre for drug addicts in Punjab. Surabhi Sharma’s Phir Samm Pe Aana, an examination of Hindustani Classical music and Piyush Shah’s Varanasi-set Third Infinity. Also on the list are Beeswaranjan Pradhan’s Tribal Scoop and Anushka Meenakshi and Iswar Srikumar’s Up, Down and Sideways, a musical portrait of rice cultivators, Kasturi Basu and Mitali Biswas’s SD: Saroj Dutta and His Times and Ramani RV’s Santhal Family to Mill Re-call, which sheds light on the works of sculptor Ramkinkar Baij. Seven films will be screened out of competition.
The short documentary competition section will feature 21 films, including Jasmine Kaur Roy and Avinash Roy’s Amoli, Sajeed Naduthody’s Mangroves: Nature’s Hardy Foot Soldiers, Sumanth Kuduvalli’s The Naga Pride, and Samarth Mahajan’s We, The People.
The short fiction film category includes 28 films, among them Umesh Bagade’s Anahut, Abhilash Vijayan’s Katha Theeruvolam, Kabeer Khurana’s Religion for Dummies, and Koel Sen’s Valay.
There’s also a Campus Films section, for movies produced by students from educational institutes in Kerala. Five out of the six shortlisted films are in Malayalam: Shankar G’s Orukkam, Nikhil Sudersanan’s Nayatt, Niranjan C’s Pakal Kinav, Gokul R Nadh’s Ida and Sreedev Suprakash’s Bridge. The sixth film, which does not have dialogues, is Vishnu Pradeep’s Hegemony.
The Curated Films section comprises five segments. Five Press Service Broadcasting Trust documentary films will be screened under a segment titled “Engaging With Sexualities”, while six documentaries will be screened in the Cinephilia segment, including Jacques Richard’s biography Henri Langlois: Phantom of the Cinematheque and Kamal Swaroop’s Rangabhoomi. There is also a segment dedicated to Iranian short films.
In addition to these, more than 60 Indian titles will be screened outside competition in the Long Documentary, Short Documentary, Short Fiction, Animation and Music Video categories.
Filmmaker Anand Patwardhan will be honoured with a lifetime achievement award at the festival and eight of his documentaries will be screened under the Curated Films section. Lata Mani’s films will be screened in the Filmmaker in Focus segment.