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Journeys into the unknown

`Journeys,' the first film festival on travel was held in the capital city.

An Odyssey into the unknown yet enchanting lands; going back in time and journeying to the present, experiencing different environments, cultures and habits, getting acquainted with people in their habitats was what `Journeys' was all about.

The brainchild of the Department of Tourism, Government of Kerala and Kerala Institute of Travel and Tourism studies (KIITS) in association with Kerala State Chalachitra Academy and the Institute of Journalism, Press Club, `Journeys' - the first International Travel Film Festival, which was held in Thiruvananthapuram from September 9 to 11 was indeed a novel concept.

It was the first of its kind in Kerala and it brought together two spheres - film and tourism.

Four main themes

The promotion of film making related to travel and tourism being the prime objective, the film festival, through the medium of documentaries, short films, spots and multi-media presentation, effectively showcased the four main themes of travelogues - destinations, nature, culture and heritage.

While renowned director Gautam Ghose's five-hour travelogue `Beyond the Himalayas' was an expedition through the enchanting Silk Route, the travelogue `Siberian Diary - days at Apanas,' by Michael Pilz from Vienna, Austria, focussed on the meditative experience of newly discovered spaces.

Films like `Dubai: Welcome to the 21st Century Arabia,' produced by Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, Government of Dubai, `Seoul - where modernity bows to tradition' by Dr. Susan Sharma of the Indian Wildlife Club and `Orissa - the undiscovered pearl' by Media Intermix Enterprises, gave glimpses of the tourist attractions in these places. Kunal Verma's `Call of the Wild' documents the wild life of the three major forest reserve areas of North-Eastern India such as Kaziranga, Sunderbans and Namdabha.

The livelihood and survival issues of forest-dependent communities against the backdrop of ecosystem destruction, interdependence of tribal communities on the forests for livelihood and healing purposes were examined in K.P. Jayashankar and Anjali Monteiro's `Jungle Tales' and Mike Pandey's `Kalpavriksha - Legacy of the Forests.' `Mazha' (Shiny Abraham) and `Monsoon' were beautiful documentations of the monsoon season in Kerala.

A strategic marketing tool that would go a long way in promoting Kerala Tourism, according to the Secretary of Tourism, E.K. Bharath Bhushan.

Devayani Medhekar

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