Thiruvananthapuram: Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan inaugurated the 21st International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) at a function held at Nishagandhi and said that the international festival helps to boost the Kerala economy through the tourism sector. Culture Minister A.K. Balan presided and MPs Sashi Tharoor, Suresh Gopi, Mayor V K Prashanth, Chalachitra Akademi chairman Kamal, vice chairperson Beena Paul attended the function.

“World comes to Kerala for eight days. Films are source of entertainment as well as a platform to educate,” he said.The week-long gala gives a boost to the state’s economy also through the tourism sector as a number of foreign as well as domestic delegates flock here to attend the event annually, he added.

State finance minister T M Thomas Isaac said the state would witness an investment of Rs 2500 crore in the cultural sector in the next five years.Bollywood actor-director Amol Palekar, who was the chief guest, recollected his association with Kerala and shared the memories of Balu Mahendra-directed Malayalam movie ‘Olangal’ during 1980s, in which he played the protagonist.

Czech filmmaker Jiri Menzel, a master of portraying humanistic view of the world with sarcasm in his films, was conferred the IFFK’s Lifetime Achievement Award of this year by the Chief Minister.Navid Mahmoudi-directed Afghan movie ‘Parting’, which revolves around the hardships faced by refugees, was screened before a packed audience. An Afghan-Iran co-production, the movie was Afghanistan s entry for the Best Foreign Language Film for the 89th Academy Awards.

The ‘Gender Bender’ category, exclusively dedicated to third gender movies, is one of the major features of this year’s IFFK. ‘Rara’ (Chile), ‘Something Must Break’ (Sweden) and ‘Quick Change’ (Philippines) would be some of the movies to be screened under the category. The screenings will be held in 13 theatres. There will be a total of 9,000 seats across these theatres. As many as 185 films from 62 countries would be screened under various categories in the festival, scheduled to conclude on December 16.

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