Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Tribeca film line-up showcases documentary “In the spirit of Laxmi”, set in Rajasthan

Tribeca Film Festival (TFF), held April 20 to May 1 in New York City, announced its short film line up of 60 films, 22 of which are world premieres. Drawn from 2,862 submissions, are long on drama, comedy, animation, inspiration, and entertainment though short in length. They come from 21 countries: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Haiti, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, Scotland, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, United Kingdom, and the United States. The list includes two films with Indian themes, In the spirit of Laxmi directed by Meghan Shea and Michael Rogers and Abhay Kumar’s “...Just that sort of a day”..

In the Spirit of Laxmi featuring in “One for All" Documentary Series, is a about an extraordinary wildlife encounter in Rajasthan, India. It traces the relationship developed between the injured and abandoned leopard, Laxmi, and the conservationist Gerhard Wiehahn who takes on the role of her human "mother". Gerhard is the manager of Aman-i-Khas, the tented camp retreat on the outskirts of Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan. Gerard carries Laxmi in his mouth as a cub, teaches her how to hunt and stalk, and spends weeks out in the wild with her. Spanning their 16-month journey together from Laxmi's initial discovery on the outskirts of Ranthambore National Park, where she was abandoned and injured, through her “moment of freedom”. The executive producer of this half-hour film is Trina Dingler-Ebert, Executive Director of Aman Resorts.

Also competing at Tribeca this year is the 14-minute short Just that Sort of Day directed by Abhay Kumar. Six months in the making, this film is an independent effort which mixes hand drawn 2D stick figures with live action footage to create a new and unique medium. Shot on a handycam, the film is practically a zero-budget venture as various people gave their time and resources for free. The film ‘peeps’ into the lives of various characters, people with quirks, doubts and misgivings. As these characters hang in a timeless space, they look at the universe through galaxies, staircases, fishbowls and parapets. The cinematographers are Abhay Kumar and Archana Phadke. Phadke is also the executive producer of the film.The Tribeca short films will compete for cash and prizes totaling more than $15,000 for Best Narrative Short, Best Documentary Short and Student Visionary Award. In addition, for the first time, the film that wins this year’s Best Narrative Short award will automatically qualify for consideration in the Short Film category of the Annual Academy Awards, without the standard theatrical run, provided the film otherwise complies with Oscar’s rules.

Sharon Badal, TFF head short film programmer, says, “Each of our short film programs promises an entertaining journey, exposing an audience to filmmaking they may not have the opportunity to see otherwise. Whether narrative, documentary, experimental or animation, these short films exhibit extraordinary talent. We’re thrilled to bring films from around the globe to our Festival, and with a large number of world premieres, to share many of them with an audience for the first time.”