Assamese Short Film ‘Sorotor Aabelibur’ Wins the Best Film Award at Kerala

Assamese short film ‘Sorotor Aabelibur’ (Days of Autumn) wins the Best Short Fiction Film award at the 10th International Documentary and Short Film Festival of Kerala (IDSFFK), which concluded amidst strong protests against the Union I&B Ministry’s ban on three documentaries.

The jury of the festival was deeply impressed by the subtle element of ‘Sorotor Aabelibur’ in which the filmmaker took them into the intimate space of its characters and through them, allowed them to experience the cycles and rhythms of life as it passes by. The members were particularly captivated by the way in which nature is interwoven into the main narrative.

From the beginning of the film, the filmmaker brings to the screen the mundane situations within the spectrum of everyday through the life of an aged school teacher and his housewife. The treatment of the short film presents a keen observation of the young filmmaker in the manners and mores of life in a rural set up. The husband bringing on jack fruit with his oil smeared hand, the women appreciating the screen presence of an upcoming actor over a cup of tea, the salesman looking expectantly while the women is making her husband wear one sweater after the other- evokes a certain sense of reality within the economic structures of life in a village where the presence of a physical and visible world merges into the essence of verisimilitude.

Before the festival’s valedictory function began, the young filmmakers whose films were screened at the festival assembled on the dais and said they were facing cultural emergency. They extended their support to the directors who faced the ban.

Kerala State Chalachitra Academy chairman Kamal extended his support and said the academy is committed to screening the films if the High Court lifts the ban. The academy had approached the court seeking to lift the ban.

Finance Minister T M Thomas Isaac who inaugurated the function said the authorities wanted filmmakers to feel powerless by banning films. He said the government would support screening of films if the ban is lifted. Veteran filmmaker K P Kumaran was honoured at the function. “While technology, politics and economics have shattered the dreams of society, there is still hope,” said Kumaran.

‘Nostalgia for the Future’ directed by Avijith Mukul Kishore and Rohan Shivkumar, and ‘Soz – A Ballad of Maladies’ directed by Tushar Madahav and Sarvnik Kaur won the awards for best long documentary. They jointly shared the 1 lakh prize money.

The Books – ‘We Made’ by Uma Tanaku and Anupama Chandra and ‘Of Love & Artistry’ by Suruchi Sharma received special mentions.

Ranjan Palit received best documentary cinematographer award on behalf of Navroze Contractor for ‘In praise of that angel face’. The non-fiction category jury consisted of Andrew Vial, Rajula Shah and Vipin Vijay.

Sangeet Unni’s ‘Rooms’ won the best campus film produced in Kerala. ‘Fish Curry’ by Abhishek Verma won the best animation film. ‘Grandfather’ directed by Amar Kaushik won jury prize for short fiction.

The fiction category jury consisted of Ritu Sarin, Lijo Jose Pellissery and Carla Losch.

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