Shabana Azmi, Kamal Haasan likely to inaugurate CIFF

Chennai, Nov 6 : Bollywood actress Shabana Azmi and actor-filmmaker Kamal Haasan are likely to inaugurate the 11th Chennai International Film Festival (CIFF) slated for Dec 12-19 in the Tamil Nadu capital, its organisers said Monday.

The eight-day extravaganza will see the screening over 170 films from across 55 countries, with special focus on award winning films from international film festivals such as Cannes, Berlin and Venice.

"We are bringing several coveted films from festivals around the globe. We received a good response last year when Amitabh Bachchan graced the closing ceremony of the fest. This year, we are planning to bring Shabana Azmi and Kamal Haasan to be part of the festival," E. Thangaraj, festival director, CIFF, told IANS.

"We have already spoken to Shabanaji, but she is yet to confirm. I'm hoping that she will at least make it to the closing ceremony. We are meeting Kamal Haasan tomorrow (Thursday) to extend a personal invitation. I'm sure he will grace us with his presence," he said.

For the fourth year in a row, CIFF has included a special competition section to honour the best Tamil films. As many as 12 films will battle it out for prize money of Rs.6 lakh.

Tamil filmmakers R.V Udayakumar, Sripriya and writer S. Ramakrishnan constitute the jury for the competition section of Tamil films.

"We have so far received five films in the Tamil feature films competition section. We have extended the last date for receipt of films to Nov 15. We have included a separate section to honour best Tamil films because we feel they deserve to be honoured on such platform," said Thangaraj.

A bouquet of critically acclaimed films such as Singaporean drama "Ilo Ilo", French drama "The Past", and Chinese crime-thriller "A Touch of Sin" will be screened in the world cinema section.

This year, CIFF will throw the spotlight on contemporary films from Turkey, Iran and Taiwan. There will also be retrospectives of French filmmaker Claire Denis, Hungarian film director Istvan Szabo and Serbian film director Goran Paskaljevic.

A specially designed poster for the 11th edition of CIFF was unveiled Wednesday.

--IANS (Posted on 06-11-2013)

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