Shaunak Sen is a filmmaker and film scholar based in New Delhi, India. Cities of Sleep (2016), his first feature-length documentary, was shown at various major international film festivals (including DOK Leipzig, DMZ Docs and the Taiwan International Documentary Festival, among others) and won 6 international awards. Shaunak received the IDFA Bertha Fund (2019), the Sundance Documentary Grant (2019), the Catapult Film Fund (2020), the Charles Wallace Grant, the Sarai CSDS Digital Media fellowship (2014), and the Films Division of India fellowship (2013). He was also a visiting scholar at Cambridge University (2018) and has published academic articles in Bioscope, Widescreen and other journals.
Shirley Abraham is a Cannes prize-winning documentary filmmaker.
The Cinema Travellers, (produced, directed, written and edited with Amit Madheshiya), is her debut film. It premiered as an Official Selection at Cannes Film Festival 2016. It won the Special Jury Prize for L’Oeil d’or: Le Prix du documentaire. The film has since played 125 festivals, and won nineteen awards globally. Shirley and Amit also made a trilogy of shorts: Searching for Saraswati (The New York Times), The Hour of Lynching (The Guardian) and The Great Abandonment (The Guardian). The Hour of Lynching won a World Press Photo and The Great Abandonment won Best Documentary at the Human Rights Watch.
Her work is supported by Sundance Institute, MacArthur Foundation, Pulitzer Center, IDFA Bertha Fund, Chicken & Egg, Field of Vision and Catapult Film Fund, among others. She has been a fellow of Sundance Labs, CIRCLE Women Doc Accelerator, Cluster of Excellence Heidelberg and Goethe-Institut. Shirley has been a juror at festivals including CPH:DOX and Mumbai Film Festival, and a panelist for the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Fund.
Shirley is a member of the documentary branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Sarvnik Kaur is a documentary filmmaker whose second feature documentary ‘Against the Tide’ premiered at Sundance 2023 where she bagged the Special Jury Award for Verite Filmmaking. The film since then has received several awards including the Grand Jury at the Seattle International, the UN Perception Change Award at Visions-du-Reel, the Sustainability Award at Sydney International, The Warsaw Peace Award and also the Paznun City Freedom Award at Millenium Docs Against Gravity. The film is currently in the festival circuit and is slated to play at many more prestigious festivals around the world. Her first film ‘Soz - A Ballad of Maladies’ was awarded the President of India’s 64th National Award for best debut direction besides bagging the best film at IDSFFK 2017
and the Ram Bahadur Trophy for Best Film at the Film South Asia 2018. Her films have been part of several PHD thesis of film scholars at New York University, Harvard University, JawaharLal University, Tata Institute of Social Sciences etc. She is a HotDocs Accelerator Lab, Chicken & Eggs Eggcelerator lab and IDFA Academy fellow. Her films have been supported by Catapult Film Fund, Sundance Documentary Fund, San Francisco Film Fund, IDFA Bertha Fund etc. Made of moments that hide anxiety and conflict just beneath the surface of the normal and the mundane, her work speaks of the predicament of being human in our time.
After dabbling in radio, copywriting and acting, Kanu Behl studied at the Satyajit Ray Film and TV Institute, Kolkata, majoring in Film Direction. His first documentary An Actor Prepares (2006) premiered in competition at Cinema du Reel, France. Next, he directed and produced the doc short Three Blind Men (2007) for ZDF and ARTE, commissioned at the Berlin Film Festival. This was followed by Found Him Yet? and Over Thresholds (2008), documentary features commissioned by NHK, Japan. A Berlinale talent campus alumni and twice nominated for the Berlin Today Award, in 2010 Kanu dove into fiction. His first major foray was the critically acclaimed LSD (Love, Sex & Betrayal) which he co-wrote with Dibakar Banerjee. In 2014, his debut feature Titli premiered at Un Certain Regard, Cannes, going on to win major 8 international awards including the NETPAC and the Best First Foreign Film (2015) from the French Syndicate of Cinema Critics. His sophomore feature titled Agra, an Indo-French co-production with the prestigious Cinema du Monde film fund backing it premiered at Director’s Fortnight, Cannes 2023 to a strong response and positive reviews.
Actress Tillotama Shome has created a repertoire of exceptional performances in critically acclaimed, award-winning films, both domestically and internationally. She is an extraordinary actress, navigating between cultures and languages effortlessly. Her debut as Alice in Mira Nair’s Monsoon Wedding won hearts world over with New York Magazine hailing her for having “a moonstruck quality right out of A Midsummer Nights Dream.” Some of Tillotama’s most noteworthy recent roles were in Delhi Crime Season 2, The Night Manager, and Lust Stories 2, in which she portrayed strong female characters. There is a sense of honesty that Tillotama brings to her craft. The characters that she chooses are surreal yet relatable. Although she has been in the business for over 20 years, she is just getting started.
Don Palathara grew up in the state of Kerala before moving to Australia. There, he received a diploma from the Academy of Film, Theatre, and Television. After directing several shorts, he made his feature film debut with Shavam in 2015, which was later showcased on Netflix. In 2019, he made 1956, Central Travancore, which was later premiered at the 42nd Moscow International Film Festival. His next film, Joyful Mystery (2020), was nominated for a Golden St. George at the 43rd Moscow International Film Festival. That same year, Everything Is Cinema, his fifth feature, had its world premiere at the International Film Festival Rotterdam. His latest film, Family, premiered at IFFR in 2023. During 2021–2022, MUBI did a spotlight on all his films up until then. Don has also served on selection committees and juries at various film festivals, including IFFK. He won FFSI’s John Abraham award for the year 2020 for 1956, Central Travancore.
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