On festival sidelines, India to see plenty of action in Cannes Film Market

The curtains are all set to go up on Tuesday evening on the 75th Cannes Film Festival, the first full-fledged in-person edition of the event in three years, with the screening of Michel Hazanivicius’s movie-themed French zombie comedy Final Cut.
India, the country of honour at the 2022 Marche du Film (Cannes Film Market), marks her 75th year as an independent nation with a six-film package to be screened in the market. It includes actor R Madhavan’s directorial debut Rocketry: The Nambi Effect, scheduled for release in early July.
The five other films cherry-picked the Minry of Information and Broadcasting are Nikhil Mahajan’s Marathi-language Godavari, Shankar Srikumar’s Alpha Beta Gamma, Biswajeet Bora’s Boomba Ride, Achal Mishra’s Dhuin and Jayaraj’s Tree Full of Parrots.
In the festival proper, however, India’s presence is at best fringe. Shaunak Sen’s Sundance World Cinema Grand Jury Prize-winning documentary film All That Breathes, Pratham Khurana’s short film in Le Cinef (a competition for film schools) and juror Deepika Padukone are the only ‘official’ participants this year in the world’s premier film festival.

On the sidelines of the festival, however, a clutch of new Indian film projects will look for global breakthroughs via pitching and mentoring sessions organised as part of either the Cannes Film Festival or Marche du Film.
Leading this pack is FTII student Gourab Kumar Mullick’s Starfruits, produced Umesh Vinayak Kulkarni’s Arbhaat Films, Samir Sarkar’s Magic Hour Films and fellow-FTII alumnus Yudhajit Basu. It is among nine fiction films and one documentary shortled for La Fabrique les cinemas du monde, a programme hosted Institute Francais as part of the Cannes Film Festival.
In the director’s own words, Starfruits seeks to present a “contrast to the archetypal image of the ‘gangster’ fighting the system through a unique love story”.
The 10 La Fabrique 2022 filmmakers will be mentored Midi Z, a Myanmar-born Taiwanese director whose credits include the features Ice Poison, The Road to Mandalay and Nina Wu.
In the La Fabrique 2022 mix are two other South Asian projects – Abinash Bikram Shah’s Elephants in the Fog (Nepal) and Seemab Gul’s Haven of Hope (Pakan). In an unprecedented double break, Shah also has a 14-minute short film in the Cannes Short Films Competition – Lori (Melancholy of My Mother’s Lullabies).
Another Indian film that is likely to be in the news in the months ahead is Rajesh S. Jala’s Chingari (Spark), produced the director himself with Prayaas Deepti’s Inquilab Studios. It is one of five projects from across the world selected the Hong Kong – Asia Film Financing Forum for its HAF Goes to Cannes programme.
The short synopsis of Chingari reads: “A filmmaker on assignment follows a cremator and an old woman in the ancient city of Banaras with his camera. Soon, hidden realities emerge and the filmmaker’s real mission unfolds.” Jala’s best-known film is the internationally acclaimed 2008 documentary Children of the Pyre, filmed in Banaras’ largest cremation ground on the banks of the Ganga.
The NFDC Film Bazaar Goes to Cannes line-up has five works-in-progress at different stage of production. These are Jaicheng Zxai Dohutia’s Assamese-Moran film Baghjan, Shailendra Sahu’s Hindi-Chhattisgarhi film Bailadila, Ektara Collective’s Ek Jagah Apni, Harshad Nalawade’s Marathi-Kannada-Hindi film Follower and Jai Shankar’s Kannada film Shivamma.
So, while India will continue to be a bit player in the festival, filmmakers from around the country can expect a lot of action in the Cannes Film Market.

Related Articles

Back to top button