'Son of the Soil' wins Best Short Film award at Kelvin Cinema Festival

Guwahati: The Kelvin Cinema Festival’s second edition, held at the U Soso Tham Auditorium in Shillong, featured 12 films, including ‘World Premieres’ and ‘North East Premieres.’ Assam film maker Akanshya Bhagabati‘s ‘Son of the Soil’ stood out at the event, making its Northeast Premiere and winning the Best Short Film award, along with a one lakh cash prize.

The Shankar Lall Goenka and Jeevan Ram Mungi Devi Goenka Public Charitable Trust, in collaboration with Fraternity Art Cine Entertainment Shillong, organised the film festival from November 9 to November 11. The award was presented to Bhagabati at the event by journalist and Padma Shri awardee Patricia Mukhim. The jurors commended her film as “a courageous exploration of land and minority issues through the power of silence.”

During the award ceremony, Bhagabati expressed gratitude and stated, “It is a huge honour to receive the best film at such a prestigious festival. This award is an inspiration for me to continue doing my work with even greater force.” Her film delves into the complexities of land ownership and cultural identity, set against the backdrop of Assam, depicting the clash between a native Assamese and a Bengali-Muslim labourer. The conflict unfolds when the native, Haren, returns to his village after working in Bangalore, aiming to reclaim his land and establish a livelihood.

The film explores broader themes of identity, belonging, and the tension between natives and immigrants. Produced by North East Hill Top Production, the film credits include Nahid Ahmed for camera, Sankha for editing, Debajit Gayan for sound design and mixing, and Ghanashyam Kalita for color grading. The lead roles are portrayed by Dhananjay Debnath (Ali) and Sudarson Nath (Haren).

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Akanshya Bhagabati began her filmmaking career as an assistant director and gained recognition with her debut short film ‘Kumu: The Song of a Wingless Bird,’ which won the John Abraham National Award for Best Short Feature at the SIGNS Film Festival.

Other winners of the Kelvin Cinema Festival 2023 include Sankirang Khongwir for Best Director (Ka Pateng), Pynkmen Lyngdoh Manwai for Best Actor (male) (Ka Pateng & Jyylop), Millo Sunka for Best Actor (female) (Nocturnal Burger), EL Dhar for Best Cinematographer (Ka Pateng), Sukanya Bhawal for Best Sound Design (Ek Divas), and Reema Maya and Rohan Kapoor for Best Editor (Nocturnal Burger).

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