Mumbai-based director Payal Kapadia's 'A Night of Knowing Nothing' has bagged the Oeil d'Or (Golden Eye) award for best documentary at the 74th Cannes Film Festival.
The filmmaker's first feature emerged as the winner in a prestigious list of 28 documentaries presented across various sections of the festival from around the world. Kapadia's film 'A Night of Knowing Nothing' was screened as part of the Director's Fortnight, a section that runs parallel to the Cannes Film Festival.
Cannes Independent movie selection handle Quinzaine Des, also known as Director's Fortnight, announced Payal Kapadia as the winner of the best documentary award across all sections through its official Twitter account on July 17.
About The Award
The Oeil d'Or was launched by LaScam, the French-Speaking society for documentary authors and French filmmaker Julie Bertuccelli in collaboration with the Cannes Film Festival and its general delegate Thierry Fremaux.
This year, the jury of the award was headed by American documentary producer Ezra Edelman in 2015, as reported by The Economic Times. Julie Bertuccelli, Franco-American film critic Iris Brey, French actor Deborah Francois, and Orwa Nyrabia, artistic director of the International Documentary Film Festival (IDFA) Amsterdam, were the other four jury members.
Todd Haynes' The Velvet Underground, Oliver Stone's JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass, Andrea Arnold's Cow, Sergei Loznitsa's Babi Yar, and Marco Bellocchio's Marx Can Wait were some of the other nominees against which Kapadia had to compete and win the prestigious award.
This was Kapadia's return to the Cannes Film Festival after her 13-minute film, Afternoon Clouds, was chosen under the short film category in the 2017 edition of the festival, according to Hindustan Times.
The documentary film, A Night of Knowing Nothing, which won her the Golden Eye this time, follows a university student in India who writes letters to her estranged lover while he is away. Interestingly, it has been suggested that the documentary was inspired by her involvement in activism and protest culture, which she had encouraged during her student days at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII).
Disciplinary Action Taken Against Her in 2015
Payal Kapadia had staged a four-month-long strike to protest against the appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as the Chairman of India's premier film institute in 2015. Four students, namely Payal Kapadia, Satchit Poulose, Jithin Das and Lavanya Ramaiah from the 2012 batch, had gheraoed then FTII Director Prashant Pathrabhe in August 2015. The administration had refused a scholarship to her and few other students who had participated in the protest. Kapadia had to face disciplinary action against her from the institution as well.
However, FTII had decided to support Payal Kapadia when her short film Afternoon Clouds was selected to be screened at the Cannes Film Festival in 2017. The institution had issued a letter of support and agreed to bear her travel expenses.
Kapadia has been lauded for her recent win at the Cannes Film Festival by Varun Grover, Vishal Bharadwaj actor Swara Bhaskar and many others.