Tucked within Kerala’s scenic splendour is a universe of cinematic riches often overlooked by popular film culture’s glittering appeal. These lesser-known film festivals in Kerala thrive like vivid colours on a cinematic flower in the heart of India’s cultural oasis, each with its own narrative. These festivals are more than simply events; they’re doorways to a world of storytelling, diversity, and artistic brilliance. Join us on a trip through Kerala’s undiscovered cinema gems.
Focus: Exploring documentaries and short films from across the world.
The International Documentary and Short Film Festival of Kerala (IDSFFK) opened its 15th edition in Trivandrum in August 2023. The festival will showcase more than 300 documentaries and short films from around the world over the span of six days. The International Documentary and Short Film Festival of Kerala is a popular platform for non-fiction film-making in India. The Kerala State Chalachitra Academy organizes it for the Department of Cultural Affairs, Government of Kerala, to promote a vibrant documentary and short film movement. The festival aims to showcase and reflect the ever-evolving nature of the medium in all its creative and resistance-oriented facets. It seeks to involve film professionals and audiences in programs encouraging dialogue and debates.
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Location: Thrissur, Kerala
Focus: Exploring diverse dimensions of identity and diversity through short and documentary films.
ViBGYOR is a creative cultural platform focusing on global films, thematic packages like “Kerala Spectrum” that highlight regional cinema, and films that address critical social issues. This festival promotes debate and understanding through various film shows, workshops, and conversations, culminating in a melting pot of cultural and cinematic perspectives. ViBGYOR is more than just a venue for films that address critical societal concerns. It addresses important issues to audiences and sparks conversations that can lead to good change through thought-provoking documentaries and storytelling.
Location: Thrissur, Kerala.
Focus: Showcasing a global array of films across genres.
IFFT has been a lighthouse for film enthusiasts since 2004, exhibiting films from 30 nations in varied genres such as children’s, adolescent, folk waves, and modern world cinema. The festival honours exceptional talent with awards for Best International Debut, Best Indian Debut, and Best Malayalam Debut, all contributing to a rich film experience. Children’s films, young films, folk waves, and modern world cinema are all part of the festival’s complex tapestry. This diverse selection assures that there is something for every film enthusiast, from the young and inquisitive to those who prefer unconventional storytelling.
Focus: Promoting digital videos and honouring excellence in documentaries and short fiction films.
SiGNS, founded in memory of director John Abraham, promotes alternative and experimental cinema. It is a significant venue for prospective filmmakers because it hosts the famous John Abraham National Awards, which recognize excellence in digital filmmaking. SiGNS is a haven for creative storytelling and experimental cinema. It is an essential forum for prospective filmmakers who want to break free from traditional cinema’s limits and explore new vistas in the digital sphere.
SYNE International Film Festival (SIFF)
Location: Muvattupuzha, Ernakulam, Kerala.
Focus: Celebrating international cinema through films, workshops, and seminars.
Since 2001, SIFF has provided more than just movie screenings, but we’re uncertain about its current status. The first SYNE International Film Festival was held in May of 2001. The film ‘The Cup from Tibet’ launched the First Film Festival and showcased 20 films over four days in Muvattupuzha, Kerala, 35 kilometres from Cochin. The festival also provided filmmaking workshops, professional seminars, debate forums, and educational initiatives such as screenings in rural and urban regions where access to international theatres is limited. The second film festival, held in 2002, was organized by SYNE in collaboration with the Muvattupuzha Press Club. For 800+ public film fans, the festival exhibited its debut film in Muvattupuzha Municipal Park. The event had 16 performances.
Location: Thiruvananthapuram, the capital city of Kerala.
Focus: Premiering national and international films, emphasizing diversity.
Since 1996, IFFK has been one of India’s biggest cultural events, debuting numerous national and foreign films. It includes a competition part with 14 films from Asia, Africa, or Latin America, along with a section dedicated to Malayalam cinema. This festival, organized by the Kerala State Chalachitra Academy, celebrates diversity in cinema and culture. IFFK recognizes these regions’ vast diversity of cinema and art by restricting the competition section to 14 films from Asia, Africa, or Latin America. It offers spectators a one-of-a-kind opportunity to immerse themselves in the narratives, customs, and creative endeavours of these various nations.
We hope you liked exploring the various film festivals in Kerala, where cinema transcends boundaries and connects us through storytelling. These festivals offer more than just movies; they promote dialogue and honour the unique fabric of our world.