Shiju Balagopalan, an independent Malayalam film director, has voiced concerns regarding the selection process of the 28th International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) on his Facebook profile. Balagopalan, the director of the Malayalam film “Eran” (The Man Who Always Obeys), recently submitted his film to the festival and expressed dissatisfaction with how it was handled.
The IFFK (International Film Festival of Kerala) is a highly regarded film festival that showcases a diverse selection of films, particularly from India and the world. Every year, filmmakers eagerly await the festival’s announcements, hoping their works will be selected for screening. This year, Shiju Balagopalan’s “Eran” was one such entry.
In a social media post, Balagopalan expressed his concerns about the festival’s selection process and detailed his dissatisfaction with the way “Eran” was handled. He questioned the methods used by the Selection Committee of the Kerala State Film Academy, which is responsible for reviewing all submitted films.
Director Shiju raised several points of contention:
- Online Screening: He claimed that all submitted films were provided as online screeners and Google Drive links for viewing by the Selection Committee. While Balagopalan acknowledged that this method can sometimes lead to buffering issues, he also pointed out that downloading films would ensure a smoother viewing experience for the committee. As a result, he questioned why the festival organizers chose not to use the online links provided.
- Lack of Transparency: Balagopalan expressed his disappointment with the lack of transparency in the selection process. He pointed out that the festival had not used the online links, but instead opted to download and present the films. He argued that this approach does not offer the same level of convenience for the committee.
- Verification of Submissions: Balagopalan also questioned the process by which the festival verifies the digital evidence associated with submissions. He claimed that there was no information available on this matter.
Here is his post:
In response to these allegations, the Kerala State Film Academy, which organizes the IFFK, issued a statement defending its selection process. The academy confirmed that every submitted film was screened by the Selection Committee and noted that the online screeners and Google Drive links were indeed used.
The Academy explained that the decision to download films, rather than stream them online, was made to ensure the best viewing experience for the Selection Committee. This, they argued, minimized potential issues such as buffering.
Regarding concerns about transparency and verification, the Academy asserted that the digital evidence about this process could be verified during the working days of the current week, demonstrating their commitment to fairness and accuracy.
The controversy has now garnered attention from the filmmaking community and film enthusiasts, sparking discussions about the intricacies of film festival selection processes and the need for transparency. Shiju Balagopalan’s concerns and the subsequent response from the Kerala State Film Academy have brought these matters into the spotlight during the lead-up to the 28th IFFK.