Thiruvananthapuram, Dec 6: The long-awaited full-fledged state-of-the-art film festival complex will soon be a reality, said Chief Minister Oommen Chandy here Friday.
He made this statement while officially inaugurating the 18th edition of the International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) here Friday night.
"We, the government, are making efforts to identify a suitable piece of land to build the film festival complex and we expect it to happen shortly," said Chandy.
The chief minister emphasised the festival has reached newer levels and could be a reason why more than 140 films were released in the state this year.
"We now have our own people from the state to get international acclaim in world cinema. For the first time, IFFK will have a special section where Malayalam films would be marketed," said Chandy.
The chief minister presented a lifetime achievement award to veteran Spanish film personality Carlos Saura. Shabana Azmi who has received a record five National Film Awards for best actress was the chief guest of the evening. After the function, Israeli filmmaker Amos Gitai's "Ana Arabia" was screened.
Earlier in the day, screening of films began at 11 venues here. The state-owned Kerala State Chalachitra Academy has organised the event, which has seen the largest participation of more than 9,000 delegates. The festival, showing 217 films from 64 countries, will end next Friday.
The event highlight is a competition section for 14 films from Asia, Africa and Latin America. The winning movie gets the Golden Crow Pheasant Award with a cash prize of Rs.15 lakh ($30,000), to be shared by the director and the producer.
Veteran Mexican film personality Arturo Ripstein is the jury chairman. Film actress Gowthami is also on the jury.
With Chandy himself overseeing the conduct of the event, the state government has earmarked Rs.2.50 crore for the festival.