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Annual Report 2023-24 of INDICA PICTURES

Annual Report 2023-24 of INDICA PICTURES

INDICA Pictures is a platform for independent filmmakers to help produce positive cinema celebrating Indic and Indigenous civilisational thought. As a once colonised civilisation, we have several forgotten memories and untold tales that need to be visually told. The endeavour is to use the power of cinema to bring about empathy, creativity, diversity and inclusivity and help Indians from all over the world reconnect with their past.

Through its various programs including grants, workshops, Masterclasses, screenings and festivals, independent film makers will be nurtured, and avenues created for expressing themselves to global audiences.

INDICA welcomed Danji Thotapalli as Chief Curator and Kalee Sudhir as Head of Events & Production at INDICA Pictures in July 2020. Prior to this, INDICA had given grants to independent film makers for movies like Punyakoti, Khumbh and a series titled Carnatic Collective. Under the leadership of Gayatri Iyer, Curator Ultra Short Films, INDICA also produced 135 films on various aspects of our art and culture. Through its global and national wide network INDICA organised screenings for films like Buddha in a Traffic Jam, Khumbh etc. Two acclaimed films celebrating ‘International Yoga Day” were produced by the Centre for Soft Power. 

The Centre announced the K Viswanath Memorial Short Film Contest, in honour of the legendary filmmaker who has inspired generations with his masterful storytelling and artistic vision. Sri K Viswanath garu passed away on February 2nd 2023, at the age of 92. Indica Pictures invited entries from aspiring filmmakers including film school students who share a passion for cinema and a desire to showcase their talent on a global stage. We received over 1169 registrations from 11 different countries demonstrating the reach and impact of K Viswanath garu and his films. 177 films made the first cut and our Programming Team headed by Nikita Hattangady worked through them to shortlist 20 films, which, in turn, were reviewed by an expert panel consisting of filmmakers Sri Bharath Kamma garu (Dear Comrade), and Singer Parthu Nemani garu (anchor for the TV Series Viswanadhamrutham), Sri Kasinadhuni Nagendra garu, and Sri Vivek Athreya garu (Ante Sundaraniki) using originality, creativity, technical excellence, and emotional impact as the selection criteria.

The 4th edition of Indic Film Utsav had several categories of films across feature films, documentaries, and short films to be showcased at the festival under both competitive and non-competitive categories. While filmmakers of any nationality were invited, submissions were required to have a subject matter that, generally speaking, pertains to India or is India-centric. The highlight was that, for the first time, Indica Pictures announced that the Opening Night would be a LIVE event at the Prasad Preview Theater in Hyderabad, involving screening of the Opening Night film and interactive Q&A with the Director. 

The final screening of Indica Pictures K Viswanath Memorial Short Film Contest and the announcement of the winners took place at Prasad Preview Theater on Nov 8th, 2023. Film producer Sri Allu Aravind, actress Smt. Manju Bhargavi, actress Smt. Amala Akkineni and others felicitated the winners with shawls. The shawls were those that adorned the shoulders of K Viswanath when he was felicitated over the decades of his illustrious career. Out of the 8 finalists, Naveen Gandhi’s ‘Sangamam’” took the top spot with Aishwarya Perambai’s ‘Ananya’ coming in a close second. Both films won Rs 5 lakhs each. Creating huge excitement, three films tied for 3rd place – Shanmukha Karthik’s ‘Sivaagna’, Saba Mumtaz’s ‘The Imam’ and Srini Prabhala/Ram Komanduri directed ‘Sreekaram’. They won Rs 2 lakhs each. Hyderabad-based Annapurna Film School scored big with Nikhil Reddy’s ‘Kittu Katha’, and VMK Sistla’ ‘Sivaagnya’ winning Best Director, and Best Production respectively due to the fact they left an indelible mark in the jury’s mind. Prudhviraj Thumula’s ‘Navarasa Madhanam’ won Best Screenplay.

The 4th Indic Film Utsav was held for 4 days between November 9 to 12. The entire slate of 60+ films in 11 languages with English subtitles – all with a positive Indic message – was made available to anyone, anywhere 24/7 for all 4 days. An esteemed jury, comprising of Renata Keller, former CEO and Art Director of Evolve German magazine, Aditya Patwardhan, a Los Angeles-based filmmaker, Vinay Varma, founder of Sutradhar Theater, Dawn Sawyer, advertising and theatre arts professional, Pradeep Paga, a prolific filmmaker and Manouj Kadaamh, an experienced festival jury member watched the films and selected ‘Mi Draupadi Murmu’ as the Best Documentary, Kannada film ‘Kasina Sara’ as the Best Feature Film, ‘Draupadi’, ‘Oru Thallu Case’ and ‘Waada’ as Best Short Films.  as the Best Short in the Relationships category, highlighting its heartwarming portrayal of young love and stunning visuals. ‘Kittu Katha’, won Best Short in the K Viswanath Short Films category. The popular Audience Choice awards were won by ‘Inko Coffee’ (Best Feature), ‘Kathakali, Behind The Superhuman Form’ (Best Documentary), ‘Barota Bajleo Bajte Pare’, ‘A Happy Pizza Day’, and ‘Road Blocked Ahead’ (Best Shorts) and ‘Sivaagnya’ under the K Viswanath Short Films category.

On the first Jayanti of Sri K Viswanath garu, Indica Pictures is proud to announce the prestigious K Viswanath Documentary Script & Pilot Project. The proposed film, envisioned as a three-part documentary, seeks to delve into the myriad aspects of K Viswanath’s life and career, including his early life, influences, and filmmaking journey, his filmography with an emphasis on key themes, collaborations, and critical reception and an assessment of his impact on Indian cinema and his lasting legacy. This documentary aims to be a high-quality, comprehensive examination of K Viswanath’s work. It should encompass every aspect of his career—his films, stories, themes, messages, style, and substance—at an academic level, comparable to a university doctoral thesis. Additionally, it must feature interviews with those who have been part of his filmmaking journey, such as actors, technicians, and family members. The documentary must be compelling to watch with excellent creative and production values.

(This report has been compiled by Director Indica Pictures, Shri Dhanji Thotapalli)