This year’s Cannes has seen no official entry from India but a few Indian filmmakers are making India proud at the side events.
Indian filmmaker Achyutanand Dwivedi won the third prize in the international section of Nespresso Talents 2019 in Cannes on May 17 for his three minute long short film titled Seed Mother.
Nespresso Talents, part of the Cannes Critics’ Week parallel programme, is held annually and is now in its fourth year. The contest is limited to films shot in a vertical 9/16 video format and encourages new perspectives in filmmaking. The theme for this year was ‘We are what we eat’ which was aimed towards the idea of exploring the world, experiencing diversity and sharing experiences and knowledge through food. The competition received 371 video submissions from 47 countries in three broad categories: Farming and Biodiversity, Food Heritage and the Value Chain and Food in Popular Cultures.
The short film is based on Rahibai Soma Popere and her movement to empower farmers. She champions the use of local seeds and traditional methods of farming in the villages of Maharashtra. The three minute film shows Popere’s work to preserve indigenous seeds at home and in fields. It was shot at her home in Akole in Ahmednagar district of the west-Indian state of Maharashtra.
“I have been always concerned about what I eat,” says Dwivedi who was born in Rewa, Madhya Pradesh (central India) and grew up in Mumbai. “I was looking for good quality seeds to grow food myself when I met Popere,” he adds. “It was a beautiful experience eating food at her home. I decided then that this is what I want my family to eat.”
Popere was among the three women on BBC list of “100 women 2018” and as Dwivedi says, “The best of our heroes can’t match her personality she built from an experience of a lifetime. She is a strong person and got a style of her own.”
The Nespresso 2019 first position in the international section was won by New Zealand’s Josh Morrice for his film Subak which is about rice cultivation in Bali and the second prize was won by Mexican filmmaker Marco Aurelio Celis’ Ruffo.
The Nespresso Talents aims to link food with history, culture and tradition through this year’s theme. “Food is not just eating, it is related to our culture,” says Nespresso chief customer officer Alfonso Gonzalez. They also try to promote innovation in young professionals as Nicholas Duplaix, global sponsoring and events manager at Nespresso says, “We decided to go for the vertical format this year because that is the way we consume content today.” The three winners of the competition were chosen by a jury of filmmakers and food influencers.
Dwivedi, a self-taught cinematographer, favours employing vintage lenses as he shot this movie also with a mirror lens. He had also won an award at the Cannes Lions festival for creative communications and advertising in 2016 for his 90-second film Internal Fight on Mumbai’s mixed martial arts fighter Farhan Siddiqui.
Developments at the Indian Pavilion
The Producer Guild of India entered into an agreement with European Film Commissioners Network (EuFCN) to enhance their relationship for the mutual benefit of the film production industries between India and European countries. They agreed to work together in sharing ideas and best practices on domestic and international film production, shooting and promotion.
Truls Kontny, president of EuFCN stated, “We wish to enhance our relationship with India and look forward to work with Producers Guild of India to facilitate further opportunities for dialogue and the creation of ideas, sharing of ideas and best practices for a forward thinking film production business. Hopefully this collaboration will also lead to more common content development and co-productions of TV-series and film projects between India and the European countries.”
Kulmeet Makkar, CEO Producers Guild of India said, “We are delighted to partner with European Film Commissioners Network. Indian content industry already has working relationships with many of the European countries and I am confident that this agreement will help further their relationship for the mutual benefit of the film production industries between India and European countries”.