Indo Cine Appreciation Foundation (ICAF), a registered Film Society, started organizing Chennai International Film Festival (CIFF) from the year 2003 and all the earlier editions have seen a gradual growth in terms of attendance as well as popularity. This year was the 9th Edition of CIFF.
There were 153 Films from 44 Countries (130 Foreign Films and 23 Indian Films) that were screened in this festival. 70 % of the foreign films screened were acclaimed movies which had participated in Cannes, Berlin and Venice Film festivals, thereby elevating the quality of movies screened at CIFF. In the Panorama section 11 films (Marathi, Telegu, Malayalam & Tamil) were screened, and 12 feature films in the Tamil competition. All these films were screened in 4 venues (Woodlands, Symphony, INOX & Sathyam) and 5 screens.
The highlights of this festival include but not limited to the following:
• The 9th edition of this festival started with a grand inaugural at the Woodlands Theatre on the 14th December. The festival was declared open by Information & Broadcasting Minister of the State Mr. Rajendra Balaji in the presence of internationally acclaimed Director Mr. Sekhar Kapur & our own Mr. Sarathkumar. There were traditional folk dance / drums and entertainment segments to add to the already glitzy function.
• This year, CIFF had around 4500 participants (there were 2345 online registrations and another 2000 passes were distributed to VIPs, Sponsors and well wishers)
• Four Panel discussions (in the name of Chennai Film Forum) on 4 interesting topics were conducted with distinguished speakers like Mr Anurag Kashyap, Ms Uma da Cunha, Ms Deepti DCunha
Mr Yogesh Karikurve, Mr. Hariharan, Mr.Ramani, Mr. Madhan, Mr. Bharadwaj Rangan, Ms. Suhasini Manirathnam, Mr. Vetrimaran, Mr. Kumararaja Thygarajan, Mr. Balaji Sakthivel & Mr. Dharani. These forums were well attended and had close to 1000 plus audience at Woodlands.The panel discussion was moderated by Ace cinematographer Mr. Alphonse Roy.
• Technology was utilized in the best possible manner. The CIFF website facilitated online registrations for delegates. There were also interactive updates on the social networking sites like Face Book and Twitter.
• There was an exclusive Travel & Hospitality desk which operated out of Hotel Savera, to take care of the Foreign & Indian delegates who participated in the Festival.
• We had 13 International delegates (Dr Laya Yourgou from Greece
Mr Jean Jacques Jauffret from France, Ms Maeda Kyoko from Japan, Mr Miaoyan Zhang from China, Dr Saad Mohmoud Shama from Egypt, Mr Reza Bahar from Germany, Mr Marcuz Krojer from Germany, Mr Naichi Ho from Taiwan, Mr Erich from Germany, Ms Antonia Grande. from Italy, Mr Pablo Perelman from Chile, Ms Aleksandra from Poland and
• We also had Delegates from various parts of our country, which included Mr Shekhar Kapur, Mr Anurag Kashyap, Ms Uma da Cunha, Ms Deepti DCunha, Mr Yogesh Karikurve, Mr Nilakanta, Mr Rajesh Pinjani
Mr Manoj Pillewar, Mr Jayaraj, Ms Karthika Nair, Mr Deepak Sharma, Mr Rafeeq Ellias, Mr Narayan, Mr Radhakrishnan
and Mr Gopeekrishna
• 40 Student Volunteers and 9 Faculty from the Visual Communication Department of New College helped in the Daily News Bulletin, Venue Management and in Introducing the Films to the audience
• Special Red Carpet screenings happened at INOX every evening from the 15th thru the 21st December. The red carpet screening was only by invitation to VIPs, Celebrities and the Who is who of Chennai.
• The CIFF award design contest was held at the Government College of Fine Arts. The Best design (which was used for the 9th CIFF Awards) won a cash prize of Rs. 20,000 to Mr. Nazar. This award was instituted and sponsored by QUBE / Real Image.
• The Movie Buff Award was given to the most passionate film buff of the 9th Chennai International film Festival. This is a web based award given to the person who watches the maximum number of movies, who also gives his / her personalized account of the movies watched, not exceeding 100 words. There were 302 entries for this award this year from 18 movie buffs. Considering that the content must be a personal note about the experience of viewing the movie, it was decided that the winner would be Mr. Surendhar from Padi,Chennai. He was called on stage and honoured.
• The closing Ceremony happened at the Woodlands Theatre on 22nd December in the presence of internationally acclaimed Hollywood producer Mr. Ashok Amirthraj along with Mr. Sarathkumar, Mr. K Balachander and the members of ICAF.
• Sahithya Academy winner Mr. Su. Venkatesan was honoured in the presence of the distinguished guests and Mr. Sarathkumar personally congratulated & presented him with a cheque for Rs. One Lakh for his achievement and contribution to Tamil Literature.
• The CIFF / QUBE Special Jury award was given to Mr. Bhaskar Sakthi (the writer and dialogue writer) for the movie Azhagarsamiyin Kudhirai. He was presented with the Award and a cash prize of Rs. One Lakh.
• The CIFF / QUBE Award for the Second Best film in Tamil Films Competition went to “Vaagai Sooda Vaa”. The director of the movie Mr. Sargunam and the producer Mr. Muruganandham were presented with the award and a cash prize of 1 Lakh each.
• The CIFF / QUBE Award for the Best film in Tamil Films Competition went to “Aadukalam”. The director of the movie Mr. Vetrimaran received the award and a cash prize of Rs. 2 Lakhs. The producer of the movie Mr. Kathiresan won a cash prize of 1 Lakh.
The 9th CIFF was organized by the ICAF primarily focusing on selection of films, working out logistics to transport the prints, obtaining permissions from the State departments, scheduling & screening of films at different venues, selection of Jury and selection of competition films. The ICAF was ably supported by a core team of 30 members from the Film Fraternity helping in News Bulletin, Hospitality, Student Volunteering, Sponsorships, Red Carpet Screenings and Dinner)
The festival ended with a happy note ….looking forward to the 10th CIFF next year ….bigger and better !!!!