77th Cannes Film Festival: FTII student bags ‘La Cinef’ Award

77th Cannes Film Festival: “SUNFLOWERS WERE THE FIRST ONES TO KNOW”, a course end film by Chidanand Naik, a student of Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), received the Cannes’ La Cinef Award for Best Short at 77th Cannes Film Festival in France. The winner was officially announced on 23rd May 2024 at the festival where the student Director Shri Chidanand Naik received the award.

The film has been directed by Chidananda S Naik, shot by Suraj Thakur, edited by Manoj V and sound by Abhishek Kadam.

This is a historic moment for the Indian Cinema. Indian films have been receiving accolades at international stage, particularly FTII has performed remarkably well at Cannes with its students’ films being screened at the festival in past few years. The current recognition comes four years after another FTII student film ‘CATDOG’ won an award at 73rd Cannes. 77th Cannes Film Festival witnessed multiple entries from India in different categories. Many of the FTII’s alumni such as Payal Kapadia, Maisam Ali, Santosh Sivan, Chidanand S Naik and his team received recognition at this years’ Cannes.

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

This FTII film is a production of the TV Wing’s One-year program where four students from different disciplines i.e. Direction, Electronic Cinematography, Editing, Sound worked together for one project as a year-end coordinated exercise. The film is directed by Chidananda S Naik, shot by Suraj Thakur, edited by Manoj V and sound by Abhishek Kadam. These students worked on the film as part of their final year coordinated exercise and passed out from FTII in 2023.

This is the first time a film by a student from 1-year Television course of FTII has been selected and won at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival. Before joining FTII in 2022, Chidanand S Naik was also selected as one of the 75 Creative Minds at 53rd International Film Festival of India (IFFI), an initiative of Ministry of I&B to recognize and support budding young artists in the field of Cinema.

Shri R. Madhavan, President of FTII has congratulated the entire student unit of the film. He said “Congratulations to Mr. Chidananda Naik and to the entire team of ‘Sunflowers Were the First Ones to Know’ for this very prestigious honour. 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 festival aimed at encouraging new talents and recognises films from film schools across the world. The 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 all over the world.

FTII’s unique pedagogy & focus on practice based co-learning approach to education in the field of Cinema & Television have resulted in the Institute’s students and its alumni winning accolades in various National and International Film festivals over the years. The reception of this prestigious award is a historical achievement for Indian Cinema. Film and television Institute of India stands tall among the best Film schools in the world and made India Proud today.