Film on 1987 brings hope to Khasi cinema, wins Best Film in GISSF
Khasi cinema, which till now had been relegated to the backseat, received a major shot in the arm when one of its films walked away with three awards in the recently concluded Guwahati International Short Film Festival (GISFF). The film 19/87 won picked up the Best Film, Best Screenplay and Best Cinematography awards in the competition section of the festival.
The 1st Guwahati International Short Film Festival (GISFF) was held at the Assam State Musuem in the earlier part of this month. The first edition of the festival saw an enthusiastic response from filmmakers and film enthusiasts who got the chance to watch films from Spain, Italy, United Kingdom, Netherlands, USA and Australia as well as from different States of the country.
The festival also saw tributes being paid to young Assamese filmmaker Late Angshuman Borkotoky, who passed away at a young age, with the screening of his film “Doctor, Nurse & Patient”.
GISFF was divided into three sections i.e. World Kaleidoscope, Indian Kaleidoscope and the competitive section, North-East Shorts. Altogether 50 selected shorts were showcased during the two day festival. The festival, which was organized by city-based Creovaent Productions in association with Shamiana, had on board film critic-turned-filmmaker Utpal Borpujari as the artistic director.
The film 19/87 is based on an unusual friendship that developed in a trouble-torn period in the history of the State. The film has been directed by Wanphrang Diengdoh and Dondor Lyngdoh, while the screenplay has been done by Janice Pariat – a familiar name in the literary circuit of the country. Produced by Cafe Shillong, the other cast members of the film include Chetan Sahni, Dondor Lyngdoh, Willybirt and Anthony.
The very inclusion of the film 19/87 in the Guwahati film festival itself had raised quite a few eyebrows among many members of the audience, yours truly included. This is not surprising because Khasi cinematic productions worth its name have become a sort of rarity indeed. Diengdoh and Lyngdoh’s film, however, made a strong statement against this trend, as aptly proved by the decision of the jury members. The mood in Shillong is definitely upbeat after the film picked up the awards, and it has also kindled new interest among artistes in the city.
The jury of the festival, which included the likes of Adil Hussain, Nila Madhab and Haobam Paban Kumar, was headed by eminent filmmaker Shyamaprasad from Kerala. For those who don’t know, homegrown boy Adil Hussain has been receiving a lot of critical acclaim, especially for his performance in Italian director Italo Spinelli’s Gangor. Adil is now playing a major role in Ang Lee’s ongoing production which is based on Yann Martel’s bestselling ‘Life of Pi’.
The opening short film at Guwahati International Short Film was Porque Hay Cosas Que Nunca Se Olvidan (Because There Are Things We Never forget) by Lucas Figueroa. The film, which has won more than 300 awards till date, has also entered the Guiness Book of World Records for winning the highest number of awards as a short film. The screening of the Malayalam anthology Kerela Cafe was another defining feature of the festival. This particular film was directed by a team of ten directors – Lal Jose, Shaji Kailas, Anwar Rasheed, Shyamaprasad, B. Unnikrishnan, Revathy, Anjali Menon, M. Padmakumar, Shankar Ramakrishnan, and Uday Ananthan.
A social satire ‘Ek Langda Aankada’ produced by Krishna Raaz Baruah from Assam was also screened during the two day fest along with ‘Blood Brothers’ by Vishal Bhardwaj. “The competition films were selected from a large number of entries received from all over North-East India by a preview jury comprising noted theatre and film personality Nayan Prasad, eminent film editor Kaju, film critic Chandan Sharma and acclaimed director Bidyut Chakravarty,” said Creovaent Productions director Prithish Chakraborty.
The chief guest for the closing ceremony was filmmaker Gautam Bora who encouraged the platform and urged filmmakers to come up with more quality short films from the region.