Raam Reddy’s directorial debut, Thithi, which premièred at Locarno International Film Festival has bagged two top awards –Pardo d’oro Cineasti Del Presente Premio Nescens” (Golden Leopard, Filmmakers of the Present Competition) and “Swatch First Feature Award” for the best first feature in the entire festival.
The Kannada-language film marked the end of a dry spell of eight years since an Indian film has been selected in competition at the Locarno International Film Festival. It featured in the Concorso Cineasti del Presente section at the festival held from August 5 – 15, 2015.
The other Indian films that have been screened at the Locarno film festival in the past were films like Lagaan,Black Friday and Mr. and Mrs. Iyer.
Coincidently, the award was announced on Independence Day, which made the victory even more special for the film team. The film also received a standing ovation after its first screening at the festival.
Sharing his joy over the twin victory, Raam says, “It has always been a dream of mine to capture a little piece of India’s soul on film, and this was the attempt with Thithi. Some of the characters in the film have become symbols to me – of how life can be lived simply, unequivocally, with grace – and I feel blessed to have had the chance to immortalize them. These awards and the overwhelmingly positive response in Locarno signals that the film has had a wonderful start to its journey, and that the collective soul of a magical community will live on.”
The film also received laurels much before its completion. Last year, Thithi was selected for the prestigious Work-in-Progress Lab at the NFDC Film Bazaar where it was declared the Best Work-in-Progress Fiction Feature.
Thithi has attracted attention from all quarters leading to the involvement of renowned international producers. These names include the likes of Sunmin Park, the producer of A Night In Old Mexico starring Robert Duvall. She, along with Tom Cruise, produced The Others starring Nicole Kidman directed by Alejandro Amenabar, as well as international acclaimed titles such as Emperor And The Assassins starring Gong Li directed by Chen Kaige, Mshishi starring Joe Odagiri directed by Katsuhiro Otomo amongst others.
Shot in the Mandya district of Karnataka, this dramatic comedy was co-written by Ere Gowda, who spent most of his childhood in the very village that the film was shot in. Furthermore, Thithi entirely comprises a cast of non-professional actors lending an unparalleled authenticity to the film. Much of the humour as well as the playful feel of the film’s narrative emerged as a result of this ensemble non-professional cast.
The young crew comprises collaborators from Holland, USA, many FTII graduates as well as locals from the village. This perhaps explains the fresh form of storytelling backed by dynamic collaborations that has helped to bring forth a unique voice to celluloid.
About the Director:
Raam Reddy, 25, is a graduate of Economics from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi and Prague Film School. Previously, he directed a critically-acclaimed short film called Ika (Feather). He has also published a novel titled It’s Raining in Maya.