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My job is to further propel Malayalam cinema to global spotlight, says curator Golda Sellam


The French film producer and consultant, Golda Sellam, is the first foreigner to hold the position of curator at the International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK). Despite having only three months to curate films for the world cinema section, Sellam is content with the process and has a clear plan for the task entrusted to her: to further promote Indian cinema, especially Malayalam cinema, to a global audience.

"We can start by reaching out to the international film market. The crux lies in the selection of films. Carefully curated films bear the tag 'Malayalam films' at the international level, so the selection must be impeccable," she notes.

"Malayalam is a challenging language. Despite having English subtitles, language could create a barrier between foreign viewers and a nuanced appreciation of the cinema. For some foreign festivals, Malayalam may need to be translated into English and then, for instance, into Spanish or French. The quality of the film could be lost in translation. This needs to be addressed," she points out. Sellam hopes that the subtitle issue can be tackled by bringing it to the attention of filmmakers and producers, providing them coaching, and seeking the help of agencies.

In her opinion, collaboration with foreign companies will benefit Malayalam films in the initial stage, and co-production could be reserved for the next phase.

"I am delighted that we are focusing on women filmmakers and the content of the films they create," she adds. She takes particular pride in the 'The Female Gaze' section, which screens eight films, including 'A Letter from Kyoto' and 'Tiger Stripes.'

Golda Sellam first attended IFFK as a jury member ten years ago and was surprised by the overwhelming response from the audience. "Now it has grown by leaps and bounds. The democratic process in the selection of films and the organization of the event makes me happy. It's an amazing experience, and I am eagerly looking forward to providing more visibility to Malayalam films on the global stage," she says, keeping her fingers crossed.

Sellam had previously worked with the European Commission as a film consultant to launch film co-productions and with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for African cinema.