A still from Rima Das’ <i>Village Rockstars</i> that earlier won the National Award for Best Film Credit: EastMojo Image 

Guwahati: “I am very happy,” Rima Das said, after her film, Village Rockstars, was announced as India’s official contender for the 91st Academy Award in the Best Foreign Language Film category.

Talking exclusively to EastMojo, the filmmaker from Assam also expressed her gratitude for the film’s success. “Thank you everyone for your support,” she added.

Earlier this year, Village Rockstars had bagged the Best Feature Film trophy at the 65th National Film Awards, beside also winning the awards for Best Child Artist, Best Location Sound Recordist and Best Editing. The film, shot entirely on a handheld camera and on a shoestring budget in rural Assam, is set for a country-wide release on September 28.

Incidentally, Rima Das’ Village Rockstars will compete with What Will People Say, a Norwegian film that features fellow Assamese artiste Adil Hussain, in the Best Foreign Language Film category at Oscars 2019.

The announcement of Village Rockstars’ nomination was made on Saturday morning following a meeting of the Film Federation of India in Mumbai. This is the first movie from Assam to have been nominated for the Academy Awards.

This is how Assamese filmmaker Rima Das reacted on Twitter after receiving the news of her film’s nomination for Oscars 2019

Village Rockstars revolves around a young girl named Dhunu based in a quaint little village of Assam, who dreams of owning a guitar and forming a rock band. The film was shot, edited and produced by Das herself.

There were 29 other films in the Oscar fray, including mega projects such as Padmaavat, Raazi, Bioscopewala and Manto, among others, but it was Das’ Village Rockstars that made the cut.

The 91st Academy Awards ceremony will be held in Los Angeles on February 24 next year

India’s official entries to the Academy Awards so far include Court (2015), Visaranai (2016) and Newton (2017). The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences chooses the winner from a shortlist of five entries. Only three Indian films have reached the shortlist: Mehboob Khan’s Mother India (1957), Mira Nair’s Salaam Bombay! (1988) and Ashutosh Gowariker’s Lagaan (2001).

As India has never won an Academy Award in the Best Foreign Language category, let’s hope for the best for Assam and the Northeast this time around.

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