Of the 40 Lions awarded for excellent film-making at Cannes this year, India has managed one Bronze Lion. The Film Craft award has gone to Ramesh Deo Productions Mumbai for Nike India's Parallel Journeys film.
Interestingly, Abhinay Deo of Ramesh Deo Productions, was on the Film Craft jury this time. Recall that his production house won a Gold Lion in the Film Craft category for Best Direction last year. This was for the 'I am Mumbai' film for Mumbai Mirror.
Regarding the category at large, Jury President Joe Pytka, director, Joseph Pytka Productions, USA, said the goal was to look for excellence across different aspects of film-making, such as music, sound design, editing, casting and cinematography. "All these elements have to be in harmony. Very few film-makers can take care of all of them," he said.
Pytka added about the judging process, "Film-makers are rule breakers. I don't have to think 'Do I like it or not' when I see a film. I check for an emotional response."
& #VIDEO1 & #This year India sent in 61 Film Craft entries. In 2012 we sent 41, in 2011 we sent 33, and in 2010 we sent 29. As far as Lions go, last year we got one Gold for the aforementioned Mumbai Mirror film. And the year before that, we got a Gold for the Indian Railways film created by Ogilvy India and Nirvana Films, a first for India.
Lowe India's disguised glory...
Lowe Lintas and Partners has won a Silver Lion in the Film category for its touching film for Unilever's soap brand Lifebuoy. The work was entered by Lowe and Partners London and is not technically an Indian win but has been created by our very own Amer Jaleel (national creative director, Lowe India) and team, and has been directed by Chrome Pictures' Amit Sharma. The winning 'Help a child reach five' film addresses the issue of diarrhoea-related deaths in Indian villages that can be prevented by regular hand-washing.
In a previous story on afaqs! around this film, Samir Singh, global vice-president, Lifebuoy, shared the brand's goal - to change the hand-washing behaviour of a billion people by 2015 and consequently save lives. "Besides the work we have been doing on-ground for the last decade, we needed people to support our cause in huge numbers and wanted to tell the world 'the Lifebuoy story' in an emotional way," he said about this film.
The brief given to the agency was to translate a statistic - namely, 'two million children in the world still die every year before the age of five due to preventable infections like diarrhoea and pneumonia' - into something real, personal and powerful. The agency not only delivered on that brief but also won a Silver Film Lion for it.
The film draws viewer attention to Thesgora, a village in Madhya Pradesh that has one of highest rates of diarrhoea. It was shot at various locations on the outskirts of Madurai and near Hampi. Chrome's Sharma told afaqs! earlier this year that the entire shoot took around four and a half (non-consecutive) days to complete and was done with the help of on-set translators (since the people in the video only spoke their local dialects) and physiotherapists (for the benefit of the hand-walkers in the video). Two people played the part of the protagonist who walks on his hands all through; one whose face is visible to viewers and another, who served as a body double.
Interestingly, at some point during the Film Lions press conference, in an unrelated context, the Film Jury President, Sir John Hegarty, founder, creative, BBH, UK, said, "Let's celebrate the creativity and not the nationalism behind it." This is apt in the case of Lowe India's Lifebuoy film that fetched Lowe London a Silver Film Lion.