A still from Partha Das' Thirteen Destinations of a Traveller, an entry from India.
A still from Partha Das' Thirteen Destinations of a Traveller, an entry from India.

Cannes Film Festival 2021: Indian work-in-progress documentary running for Market prize

  • The Cannes Docs-in-Progress, part of the Cannes Film Festival that will commence on July 6, is a segment that showcases documentaries that are in progress. This year documentaries from India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Afghanistan will be part of this section.
PUBLISHED ON JUL 06, 2021 12:13 PM IST

One of the highlights of the Cannes Film Festival, whose 74th edition begins rolling this evening on the French Riviera by the Mediterranean Sea, is the Cannes Docs-in-Progress. This section is part of the Marche du Film (Market).

Every year, the festival partners with other organisations and festivals to showcase documentaries that are in progress and are seeking funding to finish a part of their of shoot or post-production work. These projects will also be competing for $11,866 prize and other awards.

This year, documentaries from India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Afghanistan are part of this docu section at Cannes.

India's Thirteen Destinations of a Traveller by Partha Das will feature. It narrates the story of two different journeys. The first is about a disabled, marginalised Muslim man in present-day India who struggles to change things, fighting economic hurdles, social walls and physical suffering to find love and compassion. But joy and peace seem to elude him.

The other journey shows thousands of Sufi pilgrims marching thousands of miles over many days to help humanity discover love.

Visuals from Partha Das' documentary at Cannes.
Visuals from Partha Das' documentary at Cannes.

Thirteen Destinations of a Traveller will be Partha's debut documentary feature. Born in Kolkata, he has showcased his audio-visual work in various art galleries and institutions including Lalit Kala, India; Alliance Française du Bengale; Modern Art Museum, Michigan and Cultural Institute of Portugal.

Afghanistan's Hezbullah Sultani’s feature documentary, also a debut effort, Birds Street traces Kabul's avian life. His camera zooms in on a tiny corner of the city that has not seen the country's terrible and tragic war or even a glimpse of modernisation. Birds Street producer Sahraa Karimi's Hava Maryam, Ayesh premiered at Venice 2019, played at Busan and was Afghanistan's Oscar entry in the foreign language category.

Munni helmed by Tahrima Khan Toni from Bangladesh has a dramatic element. It talks about a child bride, who grew up to be a football coach in an all-girl sports academy. Tahrima's earlier Colour of Water (2010) was funded by the British Council.

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We then have Devi from Nepal directed by Subina Shrestha that focusses on a once-upon-a-time guerrilla fighter who survived war time rape and decides to fight for justice.

The other docs-in-progress titles are from Canada, Italy, Chile, Palestine and France. The prizes will be announced on July 13.

The festival runs from July 6 to 17.

(Written by Gautaman Bhaskaran)

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