India's Chidananda S Naik wins Cannes La Cinef first prize for Sunflowers Were the First Ones to Know - Hindustan Times
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India's Chidananda S Naik wins Cannes La Cinef first prize for Sunflowers Were the First Ones to Know

By | Edited by Ananya Das
May 24, 2024 08:50 AM IST

Chidananda S Naik said that his team had only four days to make Sunflowers Were the First Ones to Know. He added he was asked not to make this film.

At the 77th Cannes Film Festival, Chidananda S Naik's Sunflowers Were the First Ones to Know won the first prize of La Cinef for best short on Thursday, in a major triumph for India. The first prize for Chidananda is India's second in five years. Ashmita Guha Neogi, also from FTII, won the award for her film CatDog in 2020. (Also Read | Naik on his film screening at Cannes: I don’t make films to achieve something)

(L) A still from Sunflowers Were the First Ones to Know; Chidananda S Naik poses for the camera.
(L) A still from Sunflowers Were the First Ones to Know; Chidananda S Naik poses for the camera.

What Chidananda said about his film

Speaking with Variety, Chidananda said, "We had only four days. I was basically told not to make this film. It’s based on folklore from Karnataka [in India]. These are the stories we grew up with, so I was carrying this idea since my childhood."

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About Sunflowers Were the First Ones to Know

The filmmaker made the film at the end of his one-year course in the television wing of the Film and Television Institute of India. The film is based on a Kannada folk tale about an old woman who steals a rooster, plunging her village into perpetual darkness. The Cannes Film Festival awards a 15,000 euro grant to the first prize winner.

The 16-minute short fiction film premiered at the film festival on Tuesday afternoon. Sunflowers Were the Last Ones to Know was one of 18 titles judged by a five-member jury chaired by Belgian actress Lubna Azabal.

Who won La Cinef 2nd and 3rd prizes

The third prize in the La Cinef competition went to Mansi Maheshwari's animation film Bunnyhood. Born in Meerut and an ex-student of NIFT Delhi, Mansi made the film as a student of UK's National Film and Television School. The film festival awards a 7,500 euro grant to the third prize recipient.

The second prize was shared by Out of the Widow Through the Wall, directed by Columbia University's Asya Segalovich, and The Chaos She Left Behind, made by Nikos Kolioukos of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece. The Cannes Film Festival awards an 11,250 euro grant to the second prize winner. The awarded films will be screened at the Cinema du Pantheon on June 3 and at the MK2 Quai de Seine on June 4.

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