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India's Chidananda S Naik wins Cannes La Cinef first prize for 'Sunflowers were the first ones to know'

Chidananda S Naik said that his team had only four days to make Sunflowers Were the First Ones to Know. He added he was asked not to make this film.

Written by  Annesha Barua -- May 24th 2024 09:41 AM
India's Chidananda S Naik wins Cannes La Cinef first prize for 'Sunflowers were the first ones to know'

India's Chidananda S Naik wins Cannes La Cinef first prize for 'Sunflowers were the first ones to know'

PTC News Desk: In a significant victory for India, Chidananda S. Naik's Sunflowers Were the First Ones to Know took home the top prize from La Cinef for best short at the 77th Cannes Film Festival on Thursday. India has won its second prize in the last five years with Chidananda's first. In 2020, Ashmita Guha Neogi, who is also from FTII, took home the prize for her film CatDog. 

What Chidananda stated regarding his movie


Chidananda stated in an interview with Variety that "we had only four days." Basically, I was instructed not to make this movie. It is based on Indian state of Karnataka folklore. I've carried this belief since I was a young child because these are the stories we were told growing up."

They Were the First to Know About Sunflowers

After completing a year-long program in the television division of the Film and Television Institute of India, the director completed the film. Based on a Kannada folktale, the movie tells the story of an elderly woman who steals a rooster, sending her village into a state of permanent darkness. The winner of the first prize receives a grant of 15,000 euros from the Cannes Film Festival.

Tuesday afternoon at the film festival marked the debut of the 16-minute short fiction film. One of the eighteen titles evaluated by a five-person jury led by Belgian actress Lubna Azabal was Sunflowers Were the Last Ones to Know.

Who took home the second and third place at La Cinef?

Bunnyhood, an animation film directed by Mansi Maheshwari, took up the third place in the La Cinef competition. Mansi, who was born in Meerut and attended NIFT Delhi before, directed the movie while a student at the National Film and Television School in the UK. The third place winner receives a gift of 7,500 euros from the film festival.

The Chaos She Left Behind, directed by Nikos Kolioukos of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece, and Out of the Widow Through the Wall, helmed by Asya Segalovich of Columbia University, shared second place. The winner of the second prize receives a grant of 11,250 euros from the Cannes Film Festival. The selected movies will have screenings on June 3 at the Cinema du Pantheon and June 4 at the MK2 Quai de Seine.

Also Read: Aditi Rao Hydari exudes ethereal elegance on the Cannes 2024 red carpet in a black and white Gaurav Gupta gown


- With inputs from agencies

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