India and Subcontinent at Rotterdam

The 46th International Film Festival of Rotterdam (IFFR, 25 Jan – 5 Feb, 2017), is one of the world’s largest audience and industry-driven film festival. Its official 2016 selection lists some 252 feature films and 225 short films spread over 50 countries. The festival is known for its high quality line-up of carefully selected fiction and documentary feature films, short films and media art, with a focus on recent works by talented new filmmakers. The Festival’s four sections cover the HIVOS Tiger Competition, Bright Future, Spectrum and Limelight, along with retrospectives and themed programmes.

IFFR is highly respected for its mentoring and funding support of new, adventurous filmmaking talent through its co-production market CineMart, its Hubert Bals Fund, Rotterdam Lab and other Industry activities.

Tiger Competition for Short Films – three Canon Awards: Each offers a €3,000 cash prize plus a professional digital video camera made available by Canon. The jury will also pick a film to compete later in the Short Film category, European Film Awards (EFA) held annually in December.

FTII student film in Tiger Competition for Shorts

‘Sakhisona’, a black and white 26 minute short film in Bengali, is the only Indian film to be selected for the Tigers Competition (Shorts of under 60 minutes). It is one of the 23 shorts in this section.

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A still from ‘Sakhisona’

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Prantik Basu, an alumnus of the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune, was invited by the institute as a mentor to write and direct a short film with the 2015 students. Based in Kolkata, he has been making short films and documentaries since 2007. His work oscillates between documentary and folklore, mostly portraying myths of a collective memory, human nature and urbanization of environment. Some of his works have been presented at Rome Film Festival, Oberhausen Short Film Festival, International Film Festival of India, Mumbai International Film Festival and Experimenta India.

‘Sakhisona’ is a re-enactment of a Bengali folklore. In Mogulmari, a mound called Sakhisona is of interest to  archaeologists from centuries ago. This film represents that folklore in fragments, punctuated with images of artifacts excavated from beneath Sakhisona’s mound. The mythical tale traces a journey of two lovers in a magical setting haunted by a shaman who transforms men into goats. The cast includes Arunima Shankar, Abhija Shivakala, Ashwani Sharma and members of Manbhum Sramjibi Chhau Dance Group. Mehul Bhanti is the cinematographer, editing is by Agulie Kire, sound design by Ajayan Adat with Lalit M Chandra in art direction.

Two documentaries from the Subcontinent

2017 IFFR’s Limelight section presents an overview of international award winners, festival favourites and remarkable films that will screen in Dutch cinemas after the festival. Two Subcontinent documentaries feature here. One is the poetic, committed Netherlands/Myanmar co-production, ‘Burma Storybook’ by filmmaker Petr Lom presenting its world premiere. The other is the Hubert Bals Fund supported ‘Wolf and Sheep’ (Afghanistan, 2016). Directed by Shahrbanoo Sadat, the film deals with old traditions, customs and stories that are still a vital component of a small shepherding community in the mountains of Afghanistan.

A still from ‘Burma Storybook’



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