Cannes 2024: Mysuru filmmaker Chidananda S Naik bags La Cinef top prize


Indian filmmaker Chidananda S Naik (second from left) after winning the La Cinef Award at Cannes 2024
| Photo Credit: @chidanandasnaik/X

It was a moment of pride for India as the short film Sunflowers Were the First Ones to Know bagged the first prize of La Cinef for Best Short on Thursday. Directed by Chidananda S Naik, a student from FTII, Pune, Sunflowers Were the First Ones to Know revolves around an elderly woman who steals a rooster and deprives a village of sunlight.

Actors Yash, R Madhavan, and the FTII took to social media to congratulate Chidananda’s achievement. “Proud to see you take Kannada folklore to the global stage and set new benchmark for Indian cinema,” wrote Yash on Twitter, congratulating Chidananda.

The 27th La Cinef winners were announced On May 23. The Short Films and La Cinef Jury awarded the 2024 La Cinef Prizes during a grand ceremony at the Bunuel Theatre. Speaking to The Hindu ahead of the festival, Chidananda, who hails from Mysuru, had shared his experience of making the 15-minute Kannada short film.

‘We just got four days to shoot. Shooting entirely at night with limited resources was tough, further amplified by the difficult geography of the location. Public transportation wasn’t accessible, so everyone had to carry equipment throughout the night with a minimal crew. Those four days were gruelling, with everyone exhausted and tired, yet driven by an unwavering passion,” he had said.

The doctor-turned-filmmaker made the film at the end of his one-year course in the television wing of Pune’s Film and Television Institute of India. Sunflowers Were The First Ones to Know is derived from a Kannada folktale. “My dream has been to transform the myths and folktales of India into cinematic experiences,” he had told The Hindu. The short film has cinematography by Suraj Thakur, editing by Manoj V and sound design from Abhishek Kadam.

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Jurors Lubna Azabal, who was the president, Marie-Castille Mention-Schaar, Claudine Nougaret, Paolo Moretti and Vladimir Perisic, awarded joint second prize to The Chaos She Left Behind by Nikos Kolioukos (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki – Greece) and Out the Window Through the Wall by Asya Segalovich (Columbia University – US).

The third prize went to Bunnyhood by Mansi Maheshwari (NFTS – United Kingdom).

(With inputs from ANI)

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