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Phum Shang, My Name is Salt, Abyss: Won awards for Best Documentary at MIFF

Directors take home prizes for documentaries, short films and animation at MIFF

Updated: February 5, 2016 8:08:33 am
documentary, MIFF, short film, manipur loktat lake, A still from Fireflies in the Abyss A still from Fireflies in the Abyss

Unique in its ecology, and the only floating lake in the world, Manipur’s Loktak lake is now on the verge of extinction due to pollution. Phum Shang, an investigative documentary directed by Hao Bam Pabankumar that examines Loktak’s grave environmental issues, won the Golden Conch award for Best Documentary (less than 60 minutes) in the Mumbai International Film Festival’s international competition.

My Name is Salt and Placebo jointly won the Golden Conch Best Feature Length Documentary award. My Name is Salt, a film of breathtaking and surreal landscapes directed by Farida Pacha, records the lives of families whose work is to extract salt from the Rann of Kutch. Placebo, which also won in the Most Innovative Film category, is Abhay Kumar’s observational experiment which folllows four students. Kumar filmed, unnoticed, for two years with just a handycam, working in the midst of suicides, student protests, and individual struggles. Other awards were taken home by Debanjan Nandy for Chhaya, the Best Animation Film, and by Nitesh Anjan for Far From Home, the Best Debut Film. Agli Baar and Solo Finale, directed by Devashish Makhija and Ingo Putze respectively, both won the Best Short Fiction Film award.

In MIFF’s national competition, Famous in Ahmedabad won the Best Documentary award (less than 60 minutes). Directed by Hardik Mehta, it is about the city’s obsession with Uttarayan, experienced through the laughing eyes of nine year-old Zaid Khedawala and his quest to find the best place to fly his kite. Fireflies in the Abyss, directed by Chandrashekhar Reddy, won the Best Feature Length Documentary. The film follows the heart-wrenching and tumultuous journey of a young boy, Suraj, who one day hopes to leave the Jaintia coal pit in which he works and goes to school afterwards. Alice, directed by Satinder Singh Bedi, and Last Mango Before the Monsoon, directed by Payal Kapadia, jointly won the Best Short Fiction Film Award. The Best Student Film Award was given to Niranjan Kumar Kujur for his film Going Home. The Immortals, a documentary that traces the history of Indian cinema through the artistes, equipment and fans, bagged the Special Jury Award.

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