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IFFK has lost its uniqueness: Shaji N.Karun 
 Story Dated: Thursday, November 29, 2012 23:17 hrs IST 
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Shaji N.Karun
Panaji (Goa): Seventeen years after its inception, the International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) has failed to discover its own soul and instead of progress it's sliding towards doom, renowned director Shaji N. Karun said to Manoramaonline here Thursday at the ongoing 43rd International Film Festival of India in Goa.

The Busan (South Korea) film festival and the IFFK had come into being in the same year – 1996. While Busan festival has taken major leap and established itself as a prominent world event, IFFK's plight is pathetic. Even in its seventeenth year we are unable to track a film festival. It's a debacle. While events like Busan film festival are moving forward, we are going backwards, Shaji N. Karun said.

He also said that the debates and discussions at the IFFK are also witnessing a major regress in standards.

“It's heard that Open Forum has been opted out from Thiruvananthapuram festival this year onwards. Active discussions and good debates should be part of any film festival. IFFK's inability to establish its identity has reflected in the discussion fora too. Rather than engaging in creative deliberations it was being made as platform to deface and insult each other. Those who aspire for making it a successful event in Kerala this year should seriously ponder upon why such a situation has emerged.” he said.

On being asked about his friendship with noted Korean film maker Kim Ki-Duk who attended the Goa film festival, Shaji N. Karun said that the friendly relation began after Kim watched the latter's film 'Vaanapratham'.

“The friendship grew thereafter. We were here together in Goa for two days. It's here that I came to know Kim was a good magician. While sitting in his room he demonstrated some magic trick like lifting wine glass up in air from the table without physical contact, bringing flowers out of his head etc.” he said and added that the Korean director has also assured him of his presence at IFFK, Thiruvananthapuram in 2014.

The infrastructure of Busan festival has surprised even the Festival majors like Cannes. The main venue named Busan Cinema Center sprawls across 30,000 sq m which includes a 4000-seater open-air auditorium. It was built at a cost of over 140 million USD. There are four state-of-the-art theaters (LED) besides a vast media centre, archive and a conference hall.

Meanwhile the IFFK is conducted mostly in rented theaters some of which even the basic amenities. The promise of a headquarters complex exclusively for Chalachitra Academy and the film festival has been doing rounds for over a decade but it's yet to materialize. Chasing different movies at different theaters located afar from each other has been a major hurdle for delegates attending IFFK, he said.
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