awards 2020 in the international category of films that develop the theme of human unity

This 6th Auroville Film festival was very rich in strong movies that represent the hot topics of our time, as well as the category’s overall theme of Human Unity. As a jury it was difficult to limit ourselves to just three awards, as there were quite a few films that we feel deserve recognition. We have therefore decided to share two of the awards between two films each. We have also created a Special Mention category in order to acknowledge two more outstanding movies. 

Cinema Paradiso Award 

This award will be shared by two films:

‘TURUP’ by EKTARA COLLECTIVE

This feature-length Hindi drama interweaves the stories of three women from different backgrounds, and explores issues of caste, class, gender and religion, played out against a growing intolerance to difference. While the town’s men conduct a public chess tournament, the women’s lives intersect, and they find ways to subvert and transcend barriers. While the film’s considerable merits alone make it an award-contender, we judges were also impressed by the collaborative filmmaking process by Ektara Collective, where the director’s credit is shared by all participants. We feel that this filmmaking process based on volunteerism and cooperative spirit aligns with the principles of Auroville, and the festival’s focus on human unity.  

‘UP DOWN & SIDEWAYS’ by ANUSHKA MEENAKSHI and ISWAR SRIKUMAR

This documentary portrays the rice cultivators of the village of Phek in Nagaland, who sing unique polyphonic songs together, while working hard in the fields or sitting around the bonfire. Their poetic songs of love express a longing for the other, and for community. For this poetic and artistic depiction of connection and unity, we award one Cinema Paradiso Award to the film’s directors, Anushka Meenakshi and Iswar Srikumar, who are here with us today.


Wisdom Award

‘EARTH CRUSADER’ by SHABNAM SUKHDEV

Tucked away in the foothills of Dharamshala lives Didi Contractor, who lives on her own terms. German-born and raised in US, she has adopted India as her home, where she implements her passionate mission and vision of sustainable mud architecture – a vision that she shares widely in order to inspire others to live in harmony with the earth. The director Shabnam Sukhdev beautifully captures Didi’s deep philosophy of connectivity to the environment, tradition and living in harmony with human nature.


Jury Award

This award will be shared by two films:

‘ABU’ by ARSHAD KHAN

Abu is a deeply personal documentary about the filmmaker’s own journey of migration from Pakistan and Canada, and coming out as a gay man. It foregrounds the  relationship of the director – Arshad Khan – with his father, and encompasses themes of migration, sexuality, abuse, secrecy, intolerance, homophobia and fundamentalism. It is a sensitive exploration of the challenges to the bonds between parents and children, and a father and son’s journey to forgiveness and acceptance – and it therefore has a strong coherence with the festival’s theme of human unity. 

‘#FEMALE PLEASURE’ by BARBARA MILLER

This German-Swiss documentary by Barbara Miller explores female sexuality in the 21st century across the globe, foregrounding evocative stories from India, Africa, Japan, USA and Germany. It highlights the obstacles that stand in the way of women’s evolution, such as culture, sexism and misogyny. Through the cultivation of their own consciousness and strength, the film’s subjects overcome these obstacles, showing how human unity can be achieved both internally and externally. 


Special Mentions 

We wish to acknowledge two short films with special mentions:

‘BURQA CITY’ by BRACQ FABRICE

When a man discovers he has returned home with a veiled woman who is not his wife, how does he find his own wife amongst the sea of burqa-clad women? This film is humorous romp that highlights the difficulties of being forced to live by societal standards in a repressive regime with absurd rules. For this well-crafted and highly engaging film that makes important points through incisive humour, we award a Special Mention to the director Fabrice Bracq from France. 

‘THE UNUSUAL BATH OF MR. OTMAR’ by NIKO RADAS

How does a totalitarian state oppress, silence and bring into line defiant citizens? By literally white washing them! For opening our eyes for this topic in a playful and touching way, we issue a special mention for the innovative animated film “The unusual bath of Mr.Otmar” by the young Croatian filmmaker Niko Radas.


awards 2020 in the international category of films made by Aurovilians, bioregion residents or guests of Auroville

Cinema Paradiso Award

‘ASHVAMITHRA’ by EARTHLING KOUSHALYA

Ashvamithra wins the Cinema Paradiso Award for its intuitive and sensitive portrayal of human relationships, care and support in the context of mental health experiences across age. The gritty expression of filmmaking is emotionally engaging while having a panoramic appeal.


Wisdom Award

EVER SLOW GREEN by CHRISTOPH POHL

Ever Slow Green wins the Wisdom Award for its cinematic narration of how Auroville became a one-of-its-kind forest town in India. It journeys with a community of people who value, protect and nurture the diversity of Auroville’s natural and human environment. Soft light and music take the viewer through the forest cover of the land, water and people that form the essence of Aurovillian life. A labour of love!


Jury Award

In this category we have decided to give two Jury Awards to short films that for us capture the heart of Auroville.

‘FROM MY LITTLE HUT IN THE FOREST’ by YORIT ROZIN 

 ‘From my Little Hut in the Forest’, we award for its quirky insight into daily life and times in Auroville.

‘WALKING MEDITATION by RENA

‘Walking Meditation’ for its poetic rhythm, sensual and playful look at the sounds, textures and creatures all around us in Auroville and the bioregion.


Mongbra Award

‘HOTTER THAN HELL’ by MARCO SAROLDI

‘Hotter than Hell’ wins the Mombra as it makes you laugh all the way into what makes Auroville a dream reality.


awards 2020 in the international category of films made about Auroville/bioregion

Cinema Paradiso Award

‘TWO FLAGS’ by PANKAJ RISHI KUMAR

‘Two Flags’ receives the Cinema Paradiso for its deep insight into the lives of the Tamil-French community of Pondicherry and how the vagaries of politics, nations and citizenship affect them. The film resonates with audiences, local and international, while creating a historical archive of what is and what was.


Jury Award

‘SAINTS OF PONDICHERRY’ by OGYNYAN ENEV

Saints of Pondicherry wins the jury award for its sensitive portrayal of reviving the spirit of life in old age with love, sharing and caring. This documentary builds an expanse of humanity and kindness, critically needed in society today.


awards 2020 in the international category of films made by students of Auroville/bioregion

Cinema Paradiso Award

‘DISLIKE & UNSUBSCRIBE’ by YAM

Today’s society is struck by constant intrusion and distraction by social media, which is taking away time, pleasure and human interaction in more ways than one. ‘Dislike and Unsubscribe’ addresses a technological addiction that is scarily relevant to the lives of children and adults alike and finds a form that is contemporary in its visual appeal.


Creativity Award

‘STEVE’S DISASTER’ by ERHEL, CHANDNI, MALIK, JOSHUA, SIJMEN, AYAN

‘Steve’s Disaster’ uses detailed and painstaking stop animation with a confident aesthetic style. It connects to the audience with its straight-faced humour. It is presented in an eclectic and new form of visual story telling.


Wisdom Award

‘TREAT OTHERS THE WAY YOU WANT TO BE TREATED’ by RAGHUL

‘Treat others the way you want to be treated’ is awarded for the wisdom applied in sharing the message of how we process expectations and behaviour in inter-personal communication and relationships. Respect flows from the circle of our attitudes and behaviour towards others. We often get what we beget.


Jury Award

‘UNAVE MARUNTHU’ by R. HARISH

‘Unave Marunthu’ wins the Jury award in the student category for taking up the subject of food waste through parenting. Enabling a child to value food, experience hunger and understand what it means to waste food.