Russian director Alexander Gutman’s 17 August won the Golden Conch for the Best Documentary, while The Spell, directed by Umesh Kulkarni was adjudged the best fiction film at the 11th Mumbai International Film Festival of Documentary, Animation and Short Films, which concluded here on Tuesday.
17 August was unanimously praised by the jury for its rigorous, transformative treatment of the unlimited human spirit in an extremely limited space. Mr. Gutman’s 53-minute documentary traces the life and thoughts of Boris Bezotechestvo, sentenced to life imprisonment in a small cell. His world is all of four walls and a view from the window. The St. Petersberg based filmmaker received the Golden Conch award along with Rs 3,00,000 in the ‘Best Documentary above 30 minutes’ category. The jury did not recommend any award in the less than 30-minutes category.
Ritu Sarin and Sonam Tenzing’s documentary The Sun behind the Clouds won the Silver Conch and Rs. 1,50,000 in the Documentary above 30-minutes category, for ‘upholding the spirit of liberty and maintaining a sense of balance while bringing about different perspectives within the Tibetan struggle.’ It is about the Dalai Lama’s efforts to resolve the conflict peacefully and the reaction of the younger generation to the new stance.
Anwar Jamal’s Anwar- Dream of a Dark Night and Deepa Bhatia’s Nero’s Guests won special mention.
In the ‘Documentary under 30 minutes category’ — Vagabond – A nomad in spirit and in reality and I Found a Thread jointly shared the Silver Conch award and the cash prize of Rs. 1,50,000. Vagabond got the award for a ‘sensible portrayal of a very difficult and traumatic episode of contemporary Indian history.’ I Found a Thread rekindles the ideals of Mahatma Gandhi to contemporary society.
In the fiction category, Vinoo Choliparambil’s Vitthal won the Silver Conch and the Rs. 1,50,000 cash prize. Geetu Mohan Das’s Are You Listening and Alex Holmes Ali and the Ball (Australia ) won a special mention of the jury.