German filmmaker Herzog honoured at IFFK opening

Kerala film festival

German filmmaker Werner Herzog.

The 68-year-old doyen of new wave cinema who is attending a film festival in India for the first time was conferred the life time achievement award by Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan.

Five films of Herzog, who is widely acknowledged for his concept development and characterisation, will be screened at the festival. The filmmaker said he did not feel like having neared the end of his career despite being bestowed with the lifetime achievement award.

“The life of a filmmaker is eternal. I completed two short films and two feature films last year and working on my third one now. Kerala has been inviting me for the past five years but could not make it owing to work commitments,’’ he said.

Besides Herzog, actress of yesteryear Waheeda Rehman and Jnanpith Award winning  Malayalam poet O N V Kurup were also honoured at the inaugural function. The Iranian film “Please Don’t Disturb” by Mohsen Abdolvahab was later screened as the inaugural film.

In all, 207 films from 83 countries will be screened at the 8-day festival which will see as many as 120 guests, including 70 foreign delegates, attending it. Minister for Cultural Affairs M A Baby pointed out that IFFK boasted of an exclusive and popular competition section restricted to films produced or co-produced in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

The festival will witness the best of world cinema, documentaries, short fiction, retrospectives, homages and tributes. Retrospectives include those of German great Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Malayalam director T V Chandran, French director Olivier Assayas, Mexican director Maria Novaro and Thai director Appachatpong. Eight films to commemorate 200 years of Latin American Independence, eight films from three Central Asian republics and six films based on the Spanish dance form of Flamenco are the other highlights.

African-American filmmaker Julie Dash will head the jury which also includes Kazakh filmmaker Ermek Shinarbaev, Mexican film director Maria Novara, Thai film director Apichatpong Weerasethakul and Indian script writer Sooni Taraporevala. The prize money has been increased this year to Rs 15 lakh to be shared equally by the filmmaker and producer of the film winning the Golden Crow Pheasant Award.

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