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India’s historic show at Cannes: Payal Kapadia wins Grand Prix Award for her film ‘All We Imagine as Light’

‘Sunflowers were the first ones to know’ – course end film by FTII student Chidanand S Naik (Director) bags ‘La Cinef’ Award

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All We Imagine as Light

India’s performance at 77th Cannes Film Festival has been phenomenal with 2 filmmakers, an actress and a cinematographer won top awards at the world’s leading film festival. As one of the largest film producing Nation with a thriving Film industry, Indian Film makers have fetched huge accolades at his years’ Cannes.

For the first time in 30 years an Indian film, Payal Kapadia’s ‘All We Imagine as Light’ which centers around the lives of two nurses, was nominated for the Palme d’or, the highest award in the festival. Kapadia’s film won the Grand Prix, the second position in the category. With this win Payal Kapadia, a FTII alumnus, becomes the first Indian to bag this prestigious award. This comes after 30 years when Shaji N Karun’s ‘Swaham’ competed for highest honour.

Payal’s film was granted official Indo-French co production status by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, under the signed Audio-Visual treaty between India and France. Permission for shooting of the film was also granted by the Ministry in Maharashtra (Ratnagiri and Mumbai). The film received Interim approval for 30% of the Qualifying Co-production expenditure under the Incentives Scheme of the Government of India for Official Co-production.

Also read: Bhaiyya Ji Review: Manoj Bajpayee’s 100th film reeks of mindless killings!

Film and Television Institute of India’s student Chidananda S Naik bagged the first prize in the La Cinef section for “SUNFLOWERS WERE THE FIRST ONES TO KNOW”, a 15-minute short film based on a Kannada folklore. This FTII film is a production of the FTII’s TV Wing’s One-year program where four students from different disciplines i.e. Direction, Electronic Cinematography, Editing, Sound worked together for one project as a year-end coordinated exercise. Before joining FTII in 2022, Chidanand S Naik was also selected as one of the 75 Creative Minds at 53rd International Film Festival of India (IFFI), an initiative of Ministry of I&B to recognize and support budding young artists in the field of Cinema. It is important to note that an India-born Mansi Maheshwari’s Bunnyhood, an animated film, bagged the third prize in the La Cinef Selection.

The Festival celebrated the work of world famous Director Shyam Benegal. After 48 years of its release in India Benegals’ Manthan, preserved at the National Film Archives of India (NFDC-NFAI under Ministry of Information and Broadcasting) and restored by the Film Heritage Foundation, was showcased at Cannes in the classic section.

The much renowned Cinematographer Santosh Sivan, known for his rich body of work in Indian cinema became the first Asian to be awarded the prestigious Pierre Angénieux Tribute award at the 2024 Cannes film festival in recognition of his “career and exceptional quality of work”. Another individual who made history at Cannes is Anasuya Sengupta as she became the first ever Indian to win the Best Actress award for her performance in ‘The Shameless’ in the ‘Un Certain Regard’ category.

Also read: Priya Mani on her chemistry with Ajay Devgn in Maidaan: “It just happened very organically”

Another independent film maker who shines at Cannes was Maisam Ali, also a FTII alumnus. His film “In Retreat” was screened at the ACID Cannes sidebar programme. It was the first time an Indian film was screened in the section run by the Association for the Diffusion of Independent Cinema, since its inception in 1993.

As we witnessed a historic year for Indian Cinema at 77th Cannes Film Festival, Film and Television Institute of India has a special reason for celebrating its accomplishments as its Alumni such as Payal Kapadia, Santosh Sivan, Maisam Ali and Chidanand S Naik shines at Cannes. FTII is an autonomous institute under Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India and functions as a society with the financial support from Central Government.

The priority of Central government to promote film sector by way of facilitation through single window clearance, joint production with different countries, supporting education in the field of Cinema through its autonomous institutes such as Film and Television Institute of India and Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute or multi-faceted efforts in establishing India as the content hub of the world all are bringing positive impact at National and International stage.

Also read: Kajol and Prabhudeva to unite after 27 years for Charan Tej Uppalapati’s action thriller

Further, this year The Bharat Pavilion set up by NFDC under the aegis of Ministry of Information and Broadcasting at the Cannes Film Festival was the centerpoint of a multitude of activities throughout the festival days. The Pavilion acted as a platform and a catalyst for Indian filmmakers, producers, film companies to discuss projects with international film corporations, producers and buyers, through a series of meetings and panel discussions. More than 500 B2B meetings were held at the Pavilion through the course of the festival, which hold the promise of future collaborations and co-productions.

It was also for the first time that India hosted the Bharat Parv in Cannes, an evening that celebrated India’s presence on the global stage as a content hub and an emerging creative economy. More than 250 delegates from across the world participated in this event that saw the official launch of the 55th IFFI poster.

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