And the winner is...? See how India’s indie films are wowing the world
As Wknd celebrates Indian indie cinema, check out five films that have found wins and fans at film festivals around the world.
Indian films are doing better and better at international film festivals. For independent filmmakers, it is an opportunity to reach out to a global audience of interested viewers as well as gain exposure to buyers and distributors in the global market. It also establishes Indian cinema as something that goes beyond Bollywood and showcases our diversity in language, thought and cinematic styles. Check out five films that have won international accolades in the past few years.
Winner of the NETPAC Award for the best Asian production at the International Film Festival of Rotterdam in 2020.
Arun Karthik’s Tamil-language drama film follows an apparel worker who enjoys poetry and lives a happy life in a crowded ghetto with his mother, wife, and nephew. It depicts a day in his life as a Muslim in an India marked by rising religious bigotry.
The NETPAC (Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema) Award is given at select international film festivals to promote Asian cinema by spotlighting exceptional films and discovering new talents.
Shankar’s Fairies (2021)
Winner of Best Feature at the Dallas Fort Worth South Asian Film Festival 2022.
Set in the early 1960s, the film explores the friendship between a little girl born into a privileged family and a village man, Shankar, the family servant. He is indispensable to the household, but isn’t treated as such. The point of the narrative is to focus on the socio-political dynamic, offering insight into India’s complex class system.
Irfana Majumdar’s film had its world premiere at the 2021 Locarno festival, where it received an honourable mention. The Dallas Fort Worth South Asian Film Festival promotes the perspectives and voices of the South Asian community in the Greater Dallas Metroplex area through cinema.
Winner of the Tiger Award, International Film Festival Rotterdam 2021.
Koozhangal (Pebbles) is a story about an alcoholic, abusive husband and the wife who abandons him. The story is told through the eyes of their child. The father-son team travels to a nearby village to try and bring her home. What happens during this journey forms the crux of the story.
The Tamil film by PS Vinothraj, won the Tiger Award at the 50th edition of the International Film Festival Rotterdam 2021. This is the second Indian film to win this international award, and the first Tamil film. The first Indian film was Durga, directed by the Malayalam director Shashidharan.
The Tiger competition was founded in 1995 with the aim of discovering, raising the profile of and rewarding up-and-coming international film talent. The prize of 40,000 Euro is shared by the director and producer of the winning film.
Winner of the Golden Shika Award at the Nara International Film Festival 2022, Japan.
Prasun Chatterjee’s Bengali film follows two eight-year old boys who navigate a growing religious divide in this portrait of childhood set after the destruction of India’s Babri Masjid.
As part of the Golden Shika win, the filmmaker gets to make a film in Japan, fully funded and produced by Nara IFF. The film was also awarded the Best Debut Direction award at the Jaffna International Cinema Festival 2021 and the Best Film Award at the 24th UK Asian Film Festival in the International Competition segment in June.
Adieu Godard (2021)
Winner of Best Director and Best Screenplay at the Sipontum Arthouse International Film Festival 2021, Italy.
The film is the humorous tale of a porn addict who turns into a Jean-Luc Godard fanboy after he accidentally takes home the DVD of a Godard film, mistaking it for porn.
Amartya Bhattacharyya’s Odia feature had its world premiere at the Moscow International Film Festival in 2021. It won at this year’s Sipontum Arthouse International Film Festival (SAIFF) in Italy. SAIFF is an independent arthouse festival that features films produced “with no commercial purpose”.