Indian actor-director-playwright Nandita Das will be on the San Sebastian Film Festival jury. The festival runs from September 18 to 26. Das was part of the 2005 Cannes Film Festival's Competition jury, and also served on the Festival's Cinefondation Shorts Jury in 2013.
Das -- who is now planning to make a movie on Saadat Hassan Manto, the renowned Pakistani short story writer -- first helmed Firaaq in 2008 with celebrated actors such as Naseeruddin Shah, Deepti Naval, Paresh Rawal and Nawazuddin Siddiqui. The film conveyed the aftermath of the 2002 Gujarat riots through the eyes of a variety of men and women -- some victims, some perpetrators and some observers.
Das was seen during her initial screen years in movies such as Fire and Earth. She developed into a fine performer doing films in several languages (Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, Odia, Marathi, Tamil, Malayalam and English), and with directors as famous as Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Shyam Benegal, Mani Ratnam, Santosh Sivan and Jag Mundhra among others.
Her range of roles has been fascinating. Das was a poor destitute in Azhagi, a rape victim in Bawandar, a spinster in Naalu Pennungal, a village lass in Before the Rains, a soldier of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in Kannathil Muthamittal... and the list goes on.
The San Sebastian Festival jury will be chaired by Danish actor-director Paprika Steen, star of films such as The Celebration, The Idiots and Mifune. All these were part of Dogme -- a kind of cinema mooted by directors like Lars Von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg, who wanted to take film back to its roots. No props, no make-up and no artificial lighting. Steen won the Best Actress Award at Karlovy Vary in 2009 for Applaus and also at last year's San Sebastian Festival for Bille August's euthanasia drama, Silent Heart.
Another member of the jury is London-based producer-turned director Uberto Pasoloni (The Full Monty). He won the Best Director's prize for Still Life, which was part Venice's Orizzonti or New Horizons some years ago.
Some others on the panel are Italian cinematographer Luciano Tovoli, who lensed Michelangelo Antonioni's The Passenger, and Paris-based producer Julie Salvador, who co-produced Alain Resnais' 2012 You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet.