The blinds are all set to be raised on a Tuesday evening on a Tuesday 75th Cannes Film Festivalthe first full-person version of the event in three years, with the screening of Michel Hazanivicius’ French zombie comedy Final Cut.
India, the country of honor at the 2022 Marche du Film (Cannes Film Market), celebrates its 75th anniversary as an independent country with a package of six films shown at the market. The film includes director R’s Madhavan Rocketry: The Nambi Effect debut, scheduled for release in early July.
The other five films selected by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting are the Marathi films of Nikhil Mahajan Godavari, Alpha Beta Gamma by Shankar Srikumar, Bumba Raid by Biswajit Pura, Dwayne by Ashal Mishra and Jayaraj Tree full of parrots.
However, at the festival itself, India’s attendance is marginal at best. The award-winning Sundance World Cinema Grand Jury documentary by Shaunak Sen, All That Breathes, Pratham Khurana’s short at Le Cinef (a competition for film schools) and juror Deepika Padukone are the only “official” participants this year at the world’s premiere film festival.
On the sidelines of the festival, a group of new Indian film projects will look for global breakthroughs through the promotion and mentoring sessions organized as part of the Cannes Film Festival or Marche du Film.
This group is led by FTII student Gourab Kumar Mullick’s Starfruits, produced by Arbhaat Films by Umesh Vinayak Kulkarni, and Magic Hour Films by Samir Sarkar and fellow FTII fellow Yudhajit Basu. It is among nine feature films and one documentary shortlisted for La Fabrique les cinemas du monde, a program hosted by the Institut Français as part of the Cannes Film Festival.
In the words of the director himself, Starfruits seeks to present “a contrast with the typical image of a ‘gangster’ fighting the system through a unique love story.”
The ten filmmakers for La Fabrique 2022 will be directed by Midi Z, a Myanmar-born Taiwanese director whose credits include Ice Poison, The Road to Mandalay, and Nina Wu.
In the La Fabrique 2022 mix are two other projects in South Asia – Abhinash Bikram Shah’s Elephants in the Mist (Nepal) and Simap Gol Haven of Hope (Pakistan). In an unprecedented double break, Shah also has a 14-minute short in the Cannes Short Film Competition – Laurie (Sorrowful Mom’s Lullabies).
Another Hindi film likely to be in the news in the coming months is Rajesh S’s Chingari (Spark). It is one of five projects from around the world selected by the Hong Kong-Asia Film Funding Forum for the HAF Goes to Cannes programme.
Shingari’s short synopsis reads, “He follows a filmmaker assigned to a crematorium and an old woman in the ancient city of Banaras with his camera. Soon hidden truths come to light and the filmmaker’s true mission is revealed.” Gala’s most famous film is the world-famous 2008 documentary Children of the Pyre, which was filmed at the largest cremation site in Banaras on the banks of the Ganga River.
NFDC Film Bazaar Goes to Cannes contains five works in progress in various stages of production. These are Jaicheng Zxai Dohutia Assamese-Moran Baghjan, Hindi-Chattisgarhi Bailadila’s Shailendra Sahu, Ek Jagah Apni by Ektara Collective, Marathi-Kannada-Indian Follower and Jai Shankar’s Shivamma.
So, while India will continue to play a small role in the festival, filmmakers from all over the country can expect plenty of excitement at the Cannes Film Market.