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Indian Student Film Selected for Competitive Section at Cannes Film Festival

France: “Sunflowers Were First Ones to Know” a film directed by Chidanand Naik, a student of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), has been chosen for the ‘La Cinef’ Competitive section of the prestigious 77th Cannes Film Festival. The festival is scheduled to take place from May 15th to 24th, 2024, in Cannes, France.

The ‘La Cinef’ section is an official category of the festival aimed at promoting emerging talents and showcasing films from film schools worldwide. Naik’s film is among the 18 shorts selected, comprising 14 live-action and 4 animated films, from a pool of 2,263 submissions from film schools globally. Notably, “Sunflowers Were First Ones to Know,” is the sole Indian entry in the ‘La Cinef’ section of Cannes this year. The Jury will present the La Cinef prizes during a ceremony preceding the screening of the awarded films on May 23rd in the Buñuel Theatre.

The film narrates the story of an elderly woman who steals the village’s rooster, leading to chaos within the community. To retrieve the rooster, a prophecy is invoked, resulting in the exile of the old lady’s family.

This marks the first time that a film by a student from FTII’s one-year Television course has been selected for the esteemed Cannes Film Festival. FTII’s unique pedagogy and emphasis on practice-based co-learning in the field of Cinema and Television have consistently yielded acclaim for its students and alumni in various national and international film festivals.

Produced as part of the TV Wing One-year program, “SUNFLOWERS WERE FIRST ONES TO KNOW” involved collaboration among students from different disciplines, including Direction, Electronic Cinematography, Editing, and Sound. The film was directed by Chidananda S Naik, shot by Suraj Thakur, edited by Manoj V, and sound designed by Abhishek Kadam.

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