Cannes 2024: India’s ‘Sunflowers Were the First Ones to Know’ wins La Cinef award

Cannes [France], May 24 (ANI): It’s a moment of pride for India as the film ‘Sunflowers Were the First Ones to Know’ bagged the first prize of La Cinef 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.

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 Variety, Chidananda S Naik shared his experience working on ‘Sunflowers…’

“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,” he said.

The Mysuru doctor-turned-filmmaker reportedly made the film at the end of his one-year course in the television wing of Pune’s Film and Television Institute of India.

Jurors Lubna Azabal, who was the president, Marie-Castille Mention-Schaar, Claudine Nougaret, Paolo Moretti and Vladimir Perisic, also decided to award 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).

“I was so happy that animation got to compete with live-action. It’s all film,” noted the director.

For its 27th edition, La Cinef selected 18 shorts – 14 live-action and 4 animated shorts – from 2,263 submissions from film schools all over the world. It also saw Israel and Palestine competing side by side.

This year’s program, which “reflected the geographic mobility of film students,” stated the organizers, included Crow Man”by Yohann Abdelnour (ALBA – Lebanon), “Banished Love”directed by Xiwen Cong (Beijing Film Academy – China), “It’ll Pass” (“Praeis”) by Dovydas Draksas (London Film School – United Kingdom) and “Echoes” by Robinson Drossos (ENSAD – France), Variety reported.

“Us and Them” (“Mauvais Coton”) by Nicolas Dumaret (La Femis – France), “Terminal” by East Elliott (NYU – U.S.) and Gabriel Esdras’ “Elevation”(Universidad de Guadalajara – Mexico) were also shown.

Also competing were “In Spirito”directed by Nicolo Folin (Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia – Italy), “The Deer’s Tooth”by Saif Hammash (Dar Al-Kalima University – Palestine), “Weeds” (“Plevel”) by Pola Kazak (FAMO – Czech Republic), “Forest of Echoes”by Yoori Lim (Korea National University of Arts – South Korea), “Withered Blossoms”by Lionel Seah (AFTRS – Australia), “Three”by Amie Song (Columbia University – U.S.) and “It’s Not Time for Pop”by Amit Vaknin (Tel Aviv University – Israel).