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FTII students film selected for Cannes’ La Cinef competitive section

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New Delhi, April 24: “Sunflowers Were the First Ones to Know”, a short film by four students of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), has been selected for La Cinef Competitive section of the 2024 Cannes Film Festival.

The film, directed by Chidanand S Naik, will compete with 17 other shorts for three La Cinef prizes, which will be awarded at a ceremony on May 23 in the Bunuel Theatre. The segment is dedicated to showcasing film school fiction or animated films, a press release from the festival organisers said.

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“Sunflowers Were the First Ones to Know” has cinematography by Suraj Thakur, editing by Manoj V and sound by Abhishek Kadam. It presents the story of an elderly woman who steals the village’s rooster that throws the community into disarray. To bring the rooster back, a prophecy is invoked, sending the old lady’s family into exile, according to the official plotline.

For the 27 edition of La Cinef, the organisers received 2,263 entries from film schools all over the world.

“This year’s programme reflects the geographic mobility of film students, with a Singaporean director in Australia, an Indian and a Lithuanian in the UK, a Russian in the Czech Republic and three shorts made at American schools by Russian, Chinese and British filmmakers,” the press release said.

The Pune-based premiere film institute also shared the news on its official handle on social media platform X and congratulated its students for the feat.

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“Many congratulations to our talented students Mr Chidanand Naik (Direction), Suraj Thakur (Camera), Manoj V (Editing) and Abhishek Kadam (Sound), for this big achievement,” FTII said.
The short film is a production of the institute’s TV Wing One-year program where four students from different disciplines — direction, electronic cinematography, editing, sound — worked together for one project as a year-end coordinated exercise, the institute said.

Other entries for the La Cinef section include “Crow Man” (Lebanon), “Banished Love” (China), “The Chaos She Left Behind” (Greece), “In Spirito” (Italy), “Elevación” (Mexico), “The Deer’s Tooth” (Palestine), “Plevel” (Czech Republic), “Forest of Echoes” (South Korea), “Withered Blossoms” (Australia) and “It’s Not Time” (Israel).

Three films from the US and two each from the UK and France are also part of the lineup.
The jury, which includes Marie-Castille Mention-Schaar, Paolo Moretti, Claudine Nougaret, Vladimir Perisic and Belgian actress Lubna Azabal, will select the winners of the La Cinef prizes as well as the Short Film Palme d’or.

The 77th edition of the Cannes Film Festival will be held from May 14 to 25. (PTI)

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