Saturday, December 20, 2014

Screen festival

In 2003, a bunch of cinema lovers in Chennai formed the Indo Cine Appreciation Forum (ICAF) and staged the first Chennai International Film Festival (CIFF). After the first few years, the state government also lent its support to this festival and since 2008, the CIFF has been hosted with 'official' approval. The 12th CIFF started off on December 18 and will close on Christmas Day. 

This year, the CIFF is being played across four screens in the city: at Casino, at the two screens at Woodlands and at one of the INOX's screens and also at the Russian Cultural Centre. A quick look at the screening schedule tells us there are about 30 countries from where films are being screened - they include familiar names like the USA, UK, Russia and also a couple of surprising ones like Ethiopia, Finland and Kazakhstan. All told, over 80 films are packed into the week. 

The photo shows the Woodlands / Symphony cinema. Decked up with flags and buntings, it is evident that it is hosting a festival. Unlike the typical blockbuster release festivals, there are no 80-ft cutouts of stars or big banners announcing a film. The posters are small and you will need to look closely to identify the movies themselves. Woodlands is also hosting an exhibition - a series of photographs of stand-alone cinema halls by a couple of German photographers. Those photos were lovely, reminding us of a time when not only the movies, but the venues screening them were also works of art!

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