And the German Star
of India 2018 goes to...


BEST FEATURE
Ottamuri Velicham - Light in the Room


The Festival’s big winner is the film 'Ottamuri Velicham – Light in the Room' by Rahul Nair. It was awarded with the German Star of India for the Best Feature Film, which comes with 4,000 Euro prize money donated by the Festival’s main sponsor, Honorary Consul Andreas Lapp. The film deals with the taboo topic of martial rape which has not drawn much attention in India so far. Director Rahul Nair, who comes from Kerala in South India and borrowed the money for his first

feature-length film from friends, particularly impressed the jury with his film’s imagery and intense narrative style. The film location, an old tea plantation surrounded by green hills, first seems like an idyll, before turning into a place of threat and imprisonment for young, naive Sudha. The young woman – brilliantly played by young actress Vinitha Koshy – is married off to Chandan and finds herself helplessly exposed to his increasingly violent outbursts of rage. But Sudha decides to defend herself. A further reason for the jury to honour ‘Ottamuri Velicham’ was its language: Malayalam is spoken in the Indian state of Kerala, a region beyond the Bollywood film industry.

 


BEST DOCUMENTARY
Kho Ki Pa Lu - Up Down and Sideways


The jury was deeply impressed with the documentary 'Kho Ki Pa Lü - Up Down and Sideways' by Anushka Meenakshi and Iswar Srikumar, a portrait of the village of Phek in Nagaland, its people, their work-songs and music, and especially so with its cinematic and narrative form and style. According to the jury statement, the documentary offers an intimate perspective on life in Phek without ever being intrusive: "We enter the remote mountainous terrain, feel the physicality of work in the rice terraces and the singing’s rhythm creating community and giving strength. The camerawork and slow, but rhythmic editing create a sense of proximity and space for exploration, which we found daring and generous at the same time." For the jury, the film develops a simple, but powerful idea: "As one finds one’s place through music in the communal rhythm of work, this may extend to the rhythm of life in the community as a whole." And the jury continues: “This happy notion is later juxtaposed with information about the conflict-ridden existence of the Naga people in modern India and their struggle to retain their way of life in the face of external imposition of control.”
 


DIRECTOR'S VISION AWARD
Love and Shukla


The Director’s Vision Award went to the feature film 'Love and Shukla' by Siddartha Jatla. For the first time, the award also came with prize money in the amount of 500 Euro sponsored by FilmIndia Worldwide Magazine. The prize is awarded to an ambitious director whose film has the focus on a cultural, social or political deficit.

 

 


BEST SHORT
Pawasacha Nibandh - An Essay of the Rain


The award for the Best Short Film along with 1,000 Euro prize money went to 'Pawasacha Nibandh – An Essay of the Rain' by Nagraj Manjule, who “impressed” the jury “with every minute” 10‐year-old Raja, son of a poor family, has homework to do: write an essay on the rain. In the words of the jury, this results in “a film like a poem, or perhaps not at all.” “The discreet camera observes a burdensome everyday life and gives the grippingly authentic protagonists all the space they need for their splendid acting”, so the jury members commend the film. At first, the jury says, it was easy to find poetry in the ordinary, as the film recommends at the beginning, thanks to ist picturesque images. But soon, the beautiful appearance is washed away by the film’s real main protagonist, the ceaseless monsoon rain. "In the film it is ubiquitous, soaking the actors, making a permanently murmuring sound, infiltrating even the sparse interiors and thus creating a constant pull which neither protagonists nor audiences can resist." So the jury in their statement.

 

The Audience Award sponsored by Bollywood TV channel Zee.One in Munich comes with 1,000 Euro prize money and goes to 'Sisya – The Disciple' by Saraswathi Balgam. The new Ishq Dil Se Critic’s was awarded for the first time to ('Love & Shukla' by Siddartha Jatla).