Feedback | Wednesday, June 19, 2024

In a historic moment for Indian cinema, “SUNFLOWERS WERE THE FIRST ONES TO KNOW,” a short film directed by Chidanand Naik, a student of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), has won the prestigious Cannes’ La Cinef Award for Best Short at the 77th Cannes Film Festival in France. The winner was officially announced on May 23, 2024, at the festival, where Naik received the award.

The film, a production of FTII’s one-year Television program, is a collaborative effort by Naik (Direction), Suraj Thakur (Cinematography), Manoj V (Editing), and Abhishek Kadam (Sound). The students worked on the film as part of their final year coordinated exercise and passed out from FTII in 2023.

“SUNFLOWERS WERE THE FIRST ONES TO KNOW” tells the story of an elderly woman who steals the village’s rooster, throwing the community into disarray. To bring the rooster back, a prophecy is invoked, sending the old lady’s family into exile.

This achievement marks a significant milestone for Indian cinema, as FTII’s student films have been receiving international acclaim, particularly at Cannes, in recent years. In addition to Naik’s film, several FTII alumni, including Payal Kapadia, Maisam Ali, Santosh Sivan, and others, received recognition at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

R. Madhavan, President of FTII, congratulated the entire student unit of the film, saying, “Congratulations to Mr. Chidananda Naik and to the entire team of ‘Sunflowers Were the First Ones to Know’ for this very prestigious honor. May this be just the beginning of an illustrious career with many more extraordinary recognition and love. Also, a big cheer and respect to all staff and administration of FTII for churning out such world-class talent.”

‘La Cinef’ is an official section of the Cannes Film Festival aimed at encouraging new talents and recognizing films from film schools worldwide. Naik’s film was among 18 shorts (14 live-action and 4 animated films) selected from a total of 2,263 films submitted by 555 film schools globally.

FTII’s unique pedagogy and focus on practice-based co-learning approach to education in the field of cinema and television have resulted in the Institute’s students and alumni winning accolades at various national and international film festivals over the years. The reception of this prestigious award is a historical achievement for Indian cinema, solidifying FTII’s position as one of the best film schools in the world and making India proud.

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Last Updated: 19th Jun 2024