Assam at the Cannes edge - Two filmmakers make it to French film extravaganza

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By Staff Reporter in Guwahati
  • Published 14.05.08
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Guwahati, May 14: The agony of Machang Lalung’s unjust confinement will fill the screen at Cannes Film Festival this year, as will a story of caste conflict, thanks to the efforts of two young filmmakers from Assam.

Aneisha Sharma’s Freedom at the Edge, which deals with the unlawful detention of Machang Lalung for 54 years in a Tezpur asylum, and Sadananda Gogoi’s Darkness of Century, a story about superstition, will be screened at the short film corner of the Cannes Film Festival, beginning today.

Sharma and Gogoi, of course, cannot hide their glee, with both looking forward to a great learning experience and also the fact that it will motivate young filmmakers to explore the “new world”.

Freedom had won the best docu-drama award at the Boston Film Festival while Darkness had won Gogoi the best international directorial debut at the New York Festival.

“It’s a big honour because despite the talent we have, not much is known outside. We have some proposals, which we will take up with producers, directors, distributors, critics. It’s such a big platform,” Sharma said.

Gogoi, a noted music director before this film happened, said: “This has given people like us a chance to showcase our talent. Format is not a problem nowadays. Last year they screened a 90-minute film made on the mobile phone. I am looking forward to the experience.”

Both filmmakers left for Cannes today from Delhi.

The stills of the two films have been uploaded on the official website of Festival De Cannes, which says the Short Film Corner was set up in 2004 to help find “new talents, who benefit from exceptional conditions to promote their movie, to sell it or be under the spotlight”.

The website states that the corner will showcase over 1,780 short films from around 80 countries this year. “All these films are digitised and will be permanently viewable by the festival attendees on 40 or so interactive screens,” it stated.

Altaf Mazid, a filmmaker and a member of the jury of films critics at Cannes in 2006, said this is first time that two short films by Assamese directors are being screened at the festival.

Let’s rain down, a 2007 short film on the plight of a girl-child whose parents died of AIDS by Bhaskarjyoti Das and The Passage by the London-based Sanchayita Sharma Goswami in 2005 were the other films to make the cut.

“Filmmakers from the state are going to Cannes, which is not a cakewalk given the running around one needs to do and the financial involvement, something which was missing so far. Screening of the films will arouse curiosity in the films as well as the region. It is a welcome development and needs to be lauded.”

“What Cannes will do is expose them to new styles of making and marketing their products that will reach a global audience, besides attracting attention to Assamese films which have not got their due,” Mazid said.