"Girls Will Be Girls", the debut production venture of actor couple Richa Chadha and Ali Fazal, is set to premiere at the 2024 edition of the Sundance Film Festival, the makers said on Thursday. Directed by Shuchi Talati, the film will be screened under the World Dramatic Feature category. It is one of the exclusive 16 films chosen to participate in the competition section of the festival, a press release said.
According to the makers, "Girls Will Be Girls" is set in a boarding school in a small Himalayan hill town in northern India. "It follows the journey of Mira, a 16-year-old girl whose rebellious awakening is intertwined with her mother's unfulfilled coming-of-age experiences," read the plotline of the film.
Talati said she is delighted that her first feature has been selected at Sundance, "the Mecca of cinema".
"It is heartening to see a film shot and conceptualized in India make it to this mammoth international festival. At the heart of this coming of age drama is a love story between a mother and a daughter, and even though it is very rooted in Indian ethos, I am glad it resonates with people across many continents," the filmmaker said in a statement. Chadha said she and Fazal embarked on the production of this film with a vision to tell unique stories. The couple launched their banner Pushing Buttons Studios 2021.
"'Girls Will Be Girls' making it to Sundance validates our commitment to compelling storytelling. We couldn't be more thrilled.
"This journey has been about pushing boundaries and redefining narratives, and we are hopeful audiences worldwide will relate with the film. I am also elated the world will see Shuchi's fresh voice and cinematic perspective and some excellent performances from our debutant actors," she added.
The cast of the movie includes multi-award winning Malayalam film actor Kani Kusruti, Jitin Gulati alongside newcomers Preeti Panigrahi and Kesav Binoy Kiron in lead roles. Fazal, star of international films such as "Victoria & Abdul" and "Kandahar", said being a part of Sundance with their first production is a dream realized.
"'Girls Will Be Girls' is not just a film; it's a celebration of storytelling, and we hope it leaves an indelible mark on the hearts of the audience. This project is a labor of love, and the recognition at Sundance is a testament to the dedication and passion of our entire team," he said.
The film is an Indo-French official co-production, a collaboration between Pushing Buttons Studios, Blink Digital, Crawling Angel Films and Dolce Vita Films, the makers added.
The upcoming edition of the prestigious film festival will be held from January 18 to January 28 in Park City, Utah, in the US. It is presented by Sundance Organisation, a nonprofit that discovers and supports independent artists, and introduces audiences to their work.
Another film with an Indian connection to have its premiere at Sundance is "Nocturnes", an India-US co-production. It is one of the 10 titles that will be screened under the World Cinema Documentary Competition segment.
Directed by Anirban Dutta, who has also produced the film and Anupama Srinivasan, the film is set in the dense forests of the Eastern Himalayas. "In the dark of night, two curious observers shine a light on this secret universe," according to the gala's official website.
"Nocturnes" is a collaboration between Dutta's Metamorphosis Film Junction and US-based Sandbox Films.
Previously, Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh's documentary "Writing with Fire", India's 2022 entry to the Academy Awards, had received the Audience Award at Sundance in 2021, followed by Shaunak Sen's "All That Breathes", which won the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Documentary at the 2022 edition of the film gala.
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