Thiruvananthapuram: The 19th edition of the International Film Festival of Kerala got off to a glittering start here today with the screening of Eran Riklis's Israeli movie 'Dancing Arabs'.
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy lit the traditional lamp at a ceremony in the Nishagandhi open-air auditorium marking the inaugural of the week-long movie gala.
An array of dignitaries from cinema and cultural fields attended the function, in which Italian director Marco Bellocchio was presented with the lifetime achievement award.
Tawfeek Barhum, main actor in 'Dancing Arabs' was also present during the inaugural ceremony.
State Minister for Cinema Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan said government has planned to digitise old-Malayalam classic films.
Touted as one of the most sought-after regional movie galas in the country, IFFK will screen as many as 140 handpicked films in 10 different packages including International Competition, World Cinema, Contemporary Master, Retrospective, Indian Cinema, Malayalam Cinema Today, Country Focus, Jury Films, Chinese and French Film Packages.
Veteran Chinese director Xie Fei will chair the jury panel of the competition section this year which also comprises Lawrence Kardish, Klaus Eder, Reis Celik and Sumitra Bhave.
Festival fever gripped the state's capital city with delegates from and outside the state beginning to arrive.
A record participation of over 9000 delegates are expected during the festival this time, Kerala Chalachitra Academy, the organiser of the festival, said.
The festival will conclude on December 19.