Youth wins Revenant composer prize

Sandup Lepcha, an aspiring writer and filmmaker from Sikkim, has bagged the first prize at an international short film competition conducted online by Japanese musician Ryuichi Sakamoto, the composer behind the Hollywood movie The Revenant and his Thai filmmaker friend Apichatpong Weerasethakul.

By RAJEEV RAVIDAS in Kalimpong
  • Published 20.12.17
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Sandup Lepcha

Kalimpong: Sandup Lepcha, an aspiring writer and filmmaker from Sikkim, has bagged the first prize at an international short film competition conducted online by Japanese musician Ryuichi Sakamoto, the composer behind the Hollywood movie The Revenant and his Thai filmmaker friend Apichatpong Weerasethakul.

The unique aspect of the Async International Short Film Competition was that the filmmakers had to make their films around the music composed by the maestro. "Async" is the title of Sakamoto's latest composition.

Sandup's entry, In a Happy Place, was adjudged the best by Sakamoto from over 800 entries. "Sandup Lepcha's film enchanted me. The image did not surrender to the music, nor did the music to the image - the film granted the music depth in meaning but also used the music to leap into transcendence," Sakamoto said on his pick.

Apart from being richer by US $3,000, Sandup will also be entitled to use one piece of Sakamoto's self composed and produced work of music in his next film as part of the award. Weerasethakul has also offered to take an advisory role for Sandup's next film.

Weerasethakul is a celebrated filmmaker from Thailand and his film Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past had won the Palme d'Or prize at Cannes in 2010.

Sandup was as pleased as Punch about the international accolade. "I am very happy. To be honest, I was surprised when I got to know (three days back) that I had won the first prize. The quality of other films was also very good," he said.

The 29-year-old from the Himalayan state said apart from films, his other interest was writing. "I will be coming out with my book of short stories soon. I have also made two other short films, but this was the first time I had taken part in a contest," he said.

What is even more creditable about his award-winning film was that it was made in a hurry to meet the competition's deadline.

"The last date of entry was September 30. I had very little time when I got to know about the competition. I took one day for rehearsal and shot the entire seven-minute film in two days," he said.

Sandup scripted, shot and edited the film all by himself. "The film is about loss and grief. All my actors were students from Tashi Namgyal Academy (Gangtok) and they all have done a wonderful job."