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Thiruvananthapuram, Dec 9 – Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has said the aim of the International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) is to inform the world of Kerala’s solidarity with the struggling Palestinian people.

“Only a rare film festival can claim such a distinction. By honoring Wanuri Kahiu, who is fighting for the freedom of expression in Kenya, with the Spirit of Cinema Award, our position is clarified,” the Chief Minister said while inaugurating the Film Festival online on Friday evening.

Kenyan film director Wanuri Kahiu received the Spirit of Cinema award from the Thiruvananthapuram Mayor Arya Rajendran. Kenya’s history is rich with many struggles that have been written in golden letters in anti-occupation history like the Mau Mau Rebellion.

Although the occupying forces have left Kenya, remnants of colonialism still remain in the land. Wanuri Kahiu is a socially committed artist who defies such taboos and objections.

He said by honoring such artists, this film festival and our state is making our position on such matters clear.

Renowned actor Nana Patekar was the chief guest at the event. Nana Patekar said that although Malayalees and Maharashtrians speak different languages, the feeling is the same.

He further added that till date no one has invited him to act in Malayalam cinema and he hopes that wish can be fulfilled soon.

He jokingly added that the Academy Chairman Ranjith and film director Adoor Gopalakrishnan are bound to offer him a role now that he has come to Kerala.

The festival curator Golda Sellam introduced the cinema packages of the festival to the festival-goers.

V. K. Prasanth MLA, the district panchayat president Adv. D Suresh Kumar, International Competition category jury chairperson and Portugese film director Rita Azevedo Gomes, sound designer and film director Resul Pookutty, Chalachitra Academy chairman Ranjith, Kerala Cultural Activists Welfare Fund Board chairman Madhupal, government secretary of the department of co-operation, Mini Antony IAS, Academy vice-chairman Premkumar and Academy secretary C. Ajoy presided over the function.

The festival catalogue was presented to Madhupal by V.K. Prasanth and the festival edition of the Chalachitra Sameeksha magazine was presented by Resul Pookutty to Premkumar. The opening film Goodbye Julia was screened immediately after the official function.