In its second year, the Village Rockstars wins the Oxfam Best Film on Gender Equality Award at the JIO MAMI 19th Mumbai Film Festival with Star. The winner was announced at the closing ceremony this night.
Village Rockstars is an Assamese language film directed by Rima Das. It is a story of a 10-year-old girl, Dhunnu, and her friends who pretend to be rockstars and play with fake music instruments. Dhunnu dreams of owning a guitar and works in the village to earn some money. She learns to manage her life within the surroundings of hostile natural calamities.
Rima Das not only scripted and directed the movie but also filmed it, did the production design and edited it single-handedly.
“It is hard to find producers for films that focus on such issues. I wanted the freedom to express my voice. I decided to do everything myself from scripting to production. I’m glad that Oxfam is supporting and encouraging the filmmakers to push the boundaries,” said Rima Das, director of the film.
The Hungry won a special mention in the award category.
The Hungry, directed by Bornila Chatterjee, is Hindi language film adapted from William Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus. Set in the elite circles of north India, the film explores the role of the patriarch, corruption in Indian politics and big business.The Hungry stars Naseeruddin Shah, Tisca Chopra, Neeraj Kabi, Arjun Gupta, Sayani, Antonio Aakeel and Suraj Sharma in lead roles.
The jury members Alankrita Shrivastava, Vasan Bala and Gayarti Sivasubramaniam selected the films for the Oxfam Best Film on Gender Equality Award 2017.
"Village Rockstars is tender and immediate. It is a simple tale of a little girl who wants to own a guitar; the guitar being the symbol of rebellion, hope, and dream. Director Rima Das carefully balances the grimness of its characters' plight with a quiet undercurrent of hope, all the while sucking us into their lives with a genuine humanism. The characters blithe self-assuredness with just the right notes of uncertainty and innocence. This makes for a deceptively simple and yet profoundly moving poetic work,” said Gayatri Sivasubramaniam, jury member of the Oxfam award.
“Globally, women seldom get fair credit and recognition for their work. There’s no shortage of talented female filmmakers out there, they just need a platform to shine. The Award is to support and encourage filmmakers to make films that break gender norms or challenge the conventional portrayal of women and girls.Village Rockstars deserves the award as it brings on screen the story of hope and aspirations of a young girl fighting inequality and disasters. We are delighted that another path-breaking film The Hungry received a special mention in this category,” said Rina Soni, Director of Oxfam India.
“MAMI partnership with Oxfam began with a hope that this award will add to the discourse on women in film. In the second year, we are glad that our partnership has encouraged filmmakers to create and audiences to seek more nuanced portrayals of women onscreen. We are glad that,Village Rockstars, a film made by a female director single-handedly and independently has been recognized for this award,” said Anupama Chopra Festival Director, MAMI.
This year the four shortlisted films nominated for the Oxfam Best Film on Gender Equality Award 2017 were ‘Village Rockstars’, ‘The Hungry’, ‘Granny (Ajji)’ and ‘Checkmate (Turup)’. Last year, the award was won by the film ‘Lipstick Under My Burkha’ directed by Alankrita Shrivastava.
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