Seven South Asian films look for a break at 74th Cannes Film Festival


Six under-production documentaries and an all-set-to-roll fiction characteristic from South Asia are trying for manufacturing and distribution breakthroughs in pitching and mentoring classes coinciding with the 74th Cannes Film Festival.

Eka (Solo), the debut characteristic of Kolkata-born, Mumbai-based Suman Sen, is in La Fabrique Cinema, an Institut Francais-sponsored mentoring programme for younger administrators.

“We are now just one draft away from the shooting. The pandemic situation permitting, we will start filming in mid-2022,” says Sen, who has been within the promoting business for 15 years. “The film reflects the time I have lived in for the last couple of years: a time of hatred, intolerance and violence,” says Sen.

Eka hinges on a grand statue of the ‘common man’ about to be formally unveiled in Kolkata. A diabetic insurance coverage agent, a man on the verge of superannuation, seethes at the financial, political and tradition failures of the town.

To register his protest, he stands immobile in entrance of the mammoth statue. His act of defiance sparks a worldwide motion. “I have a love-hate relationship with Kolkata. I wanted to distance myself from the city I grew up in and view it objectively. The move to Mumbai has given me a new reflective lens to view Kolkata,” says Sen, who moved to India’s monetary capital 5 years in the past.

Eka, an Indo-Bangladeshi-French enterprise backed by Arifur Rahman of Goopy Bagha Productions, is one among 10 initiatives in La Fabrique Cinema.

Another South Asian La Fabrique choice is a number of award-winning Afghan filmmaker Sahra Mani’s documentary Kabul Melody, about two teenage women who face household opposition and Taliban threats as they pursue their ardour for music.

In her assertion of intent, Mani, who made the broadly applauded A Thousand Girls Like Me (2018), says, “Being a filmmaker in Afghanistan means being a social activist. In spite of it all, with ‘Kabul Melody’ I want to show hope and the emergence of free will among the women who will create Afghanistan’s future.”

A quartet of South Asian documentaries – one every from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India and Nepal – is vying for the docs-in-progress awards of Cannes Docs 2021. These initiatives, all in a sophisticated stage of manufacturing, are offered by the International Film Initiative of Bangladesh.

Among the 4 is Thirteen Destinations of a Traveller, a movie by Kolkata-based Partha Das.

A nonetheless from Thirteen Destinations of a Traveller.

It intertwines two journeys: one by hundreds of Sufi pilgrims who march throughout miles and over days to proclaim their love for humanity, the opposite by a disabled, marginalised Muslim man battling bodily obstacles and social prejudice searching for happiness.

Thirteen Destinations of a Traveller, Das’ first documentary characteristic, is collectively produced by Bangladesh’s Mokhalesur Rahman Talukdar and India’s Soumya Mukhopadhyay.

The different three South Asian films in Cannes Docs 2021 are Hezbullah Sultani’s Birds Street, about a slim lane in Kabul lined with outlets promoting birds; Tahrima Khan’s Munni, which showcases the work of a former sufferer of kid marriage who launches an all-girls sports activities academy in Bangladesh; and Subina Shrestha’s Devi, the story of a former Nepalese guerrilla fighter and war-time rape survivor who now fights for her countrywomen.

No Winter Holidays A nonetheless from No Winter Holidays.

Another Nepalese documentary, Rajan Kathet and Sunir Pandey’s No Winter Holidays, is one among 5 initiatives in HAF Goes to Cannes. The Hong Kong Asian Film Financing Forum (HAF) is an initiative that helps a new technology of filmmakers acquire entry to funding, co-production offers and advertising and marketing assist on a world scale.

The logline of No Winter Holidays, a Nepal-South Korean co-production, reads: “Once married to the same man, two women in their 70s must forget the past and work together to look after an empty snow-bound village through the winter.”


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