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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 28 February 2024

Kurseong director Vivek Rai's short film 'Shanti' picked for Serbian fest

The Kustendorf International Film and Music Festival was founded by prominent film director Emir Kusturica had in the past seen the presence of famous Hollywood actors like Johnny Depp, Monica Bellucci and Jim Jarmusch even though this film festival is not much into parading Hollywood A-listers

Vivek Chhetri Darjeeling Published 08.12.23, 08:07 AM
A poster of Shanti

A poster of Shanti The Telegraph

Shanti, a Nepali short film by Kurseong director Vivek Rai, has been selected for the best film category at the prestigious Kustendorf International Film and Music Festival (KIFMF), which will be held in Serbia next month.

The KIFMF that was founded by prominent film director Emir Kusturica had in the past seen the presence of famous Hollywood actors like Johnny Depp, Monica Bellucci and Jim Jarmusch even though this film festival is not much into parading Hollywood A-listers.

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The founder of the festival, Kusturica, is also a two-time winner of Palme d’Or — the highest award at the Cannes Film Festival — for When Father Was Away on Business (1985) and Underground (1995). For The Times of Gypsies in 1988, he won the award for the best director.

“It came as a huge surprise. I am totally overwhelmed by joy. This is the first film from India to make it to this prestigious Kustendorf festival. I guess the eight years of hard work are finally getting paid off,” said Vivek, 39.

The festival will be held between January 23 and 27 at Drvengrad, Serbia, and
Vivek, along with Shanti's cinematographer Rajeev
Runthala from Mumbai, will attend it.

Vivek, who has been into the theatre since his days at Himali Boarding School, Kurseong, moved to Nepal in 2009 to explore opportunities in an advertising firm after completing his post-graduation at Delhi University.

He also worked for a non-government organisation before he became a filmmaker in 2016.

Shanti is based on Nepali writer Chimi Angmu Lama’s collection of short stories — Ek Mukta Munal.

A chapter on feminism followed by a conversation with the author inspired Vivek to come up with Shanti.

Shanti tries to reevaluate established constructs that inextricably link brutal and savagery to masculine power while gentle, kind and soft with feminism,” said Vivek.

“My friends Pem Tshering Yolmo, Amaan Rai and Siddarth Rai helped me in making Shanti which was extensively shot in the idyllic village of Sitong in Kurseong,” the director said.

Vivek, along with two other friends Karma Choejor and Kusang Lama, runs the production house April Skies Films.

“Our Nepali film Jyoti Binako Ujyalo was the winner at the Sangrila Darjeeling Literature Festival in 2019 and it also reached the second round at a film festival in Spain,” said Vivek.

Earlier this year, Saurav Rai, 37, of Darjeeling won a jury award at the prestigious Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in the Czech Republic for his Nepali feature film Guras (rhododendron).

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