Cannes 2024: FTII's Chidananda Naik and team shine as they bag first prize for 'Sunflowers Were The First Ones To Know' under La Cinef category

24 May,2024 08:30 AM IST |  Mumbai  |  mid-day online correspondent

Cannes 2024: In a moment of glory for India, FTII student Chidananda Naik and his team won first prize for `Sunflowers Were The First Ones To Know`

Winners of La Cinef at Cannes

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It has been a good year for Indian films at the Cannes Film Festival that is currently underway. Before the festival comes to a close on May 25, India has already bagged its first win under the La Cinef category. Chidananda S Naik's 'Sunflowers Were the First Ones to Know' won the first prize of La Cinef for best short on Thursday. Chidananda is a student of FTII, Pune and the film was made as part of the college project. This prize is India's second in five years. Ashmita Guha Neogi, also from FTII, won the award for her film CatDog in 2020.

'Sunflowers Were The First Ones To Know' is a Kannada short film based on a Kannada folk tale about an old woman who steals a rooster, plunging her village into perpetual darkness. Naik made the film at the end of his one-year course for the television wing of the Film and Television Institute of India. The film was selected out of 18 other titles and was premiered on Tuesday at the festival. The category was judged by a five-member jury chaired by Belgian actress Lubna Azabal.

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."

The winner of the La Cinef category was awarded a prize money of 15,000 euro. 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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