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FTII student bags ‘La Cinef’ Award at 77th Cannes Film Festival

FTII student bags ‘La Cinef’ Award at 77th Cannes Film Festival. “Sunflowers were the first ones to know” - film by FTII student. Chidanand S Naik (Director) and his team shines at Cannes Chidanand S Naik - one of the ‘75 Creative Minds of Tomorrow’ and FTII Student of 2022 batch

FTII student bags ‘La Cinef’ Award at 77th Cannes Film Festival

Chidanand Naik, a student of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), received the Cannes’ La Cinef Award for Best Short at the 77th Cannes Film Festival in France for his course end film “SUNFLOWERS WERE THE FIRST ONES TO KNOW”. The official announcement was made on May 23, 2024, with Naik receiving the award at the festival.

The film was directed by Chidananda S Naik, shot by Suraj Thakur, edited by Manoj V, and with sound by Abhishek Kadam.

This achievement marks a significant moment for Indian Cinema, showcasing the success of Indian films on the international stage. FTII has demonstrated exceptional performance at Cannes over the years, with its students’ films being consistently well-received. This recognition follows four years after another FTII student film, ‘CATDOG’, won an award at the 73rd Cannes Film Festival.

The 77th Cannes Film Festival showcased a number of entries from India across various categories. Several alumni from the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), including Payal Kapadia, Maisam Ali, Santosh Sivan, Chidanand S Naik, and their team, were acknowledged at this year’s event.

Titled “SUNFLOWERS WERE THE FIRST ONES TO KNOW,” the film revolves around an elderly woman who steals a rooster from her village, causing chaos within the community. To retrieve the rooster, a prophecy is invoked, leading to the old lady’s family being exiled.

FTII student bags ‘La Cinef’ Award at 77th Cannes Film Festival

This project was a product of the TV Wing’s One-year program at FTII, where students from various disciplines such as Direction, Electronic Cinematography, Editing, and Sound collaborated on a single project as a coordinated exercise at the end of the year. Directed by Chidananda S Naik, shot by Suraj Thakur, edited by Manoj V, and featuring sound by Abhishek Kadam, these students completed the film as part of their final year coordinated exercise and graduated from FTII in 2023.

This marks the inaugural occasion in which a film created by a student from the 1-year Television course at FTII has been chosen and awarded at the esteemed Cannes Film Festival. Prior to enrolling at FTII in 2022, Chidanand S Naik was recognized as one of the 75 Creative Minds at the 53rd International Film Festival of India (IFFI), an effort by the Ministry of I&B to acknowledge and support emerging talents in the realm of Cinema.

President of FTII, Shri R. Madhavan, has extended warm congratulations to the entire student team behind the film. He expressed, “Congratulations to Mr. Chidananda Naik and the entire team of ‘Sunflowers Were the First Ones to Know’ for this distinguished honor. May this serve as just the commencement of a prosperous career filled with numerous accolades and appreciation. A special acknowledgment to all the faculty and administrators at FTII for fostering such exceptional talent.”

“La Cinef, a distinguished section of the festival, aims to promote emerging talents and honor films from film schools worldwide. The film in question was one of only 18 shorts (comprising 14 live-action and 4 animated films) chosen from a staggering 2,263 submissions by 555 film schools globally.

The Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) is renowned for its unique teaching methods and hands-on approach to education in the realm of Cinema & Television, leading to numerous successes for its students and alumni at prestigious National and International Film festivals. The recognition of this esteemed award marks a significant milestone for Indian Cinema. FTII stands proudly among the top film schools worldwide, bringing honor to India.”

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