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Indian film wins big at Sydney documentary film festival

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A Night of Knowing Nothing by Mumbai based filmmaker Payal Kapadia takes home the top prize at the 10th Antenna Documentary Film Festival in Sydney.

Announced today, the film has been awarded Best Feature Documentary, which comes with a $10,000 prize.

A Night of Knowing Nothing is a film of rare beauty and power. Filmmaker Payal Kapadia weaves a lyrical love story into impassioned youths’ defiant politics and challenge of the status quo. Clever and multilayered, with incredible use of archival and sound, the film is an urgent call to action that resonates far beyond the film’s borders,” said the jury.

A Night of Knowing Nothing is a series of letters that a young film student writes to her partner. As she talks about events and issues around her, dreams and memories, fantasies and anxieties, it becomes clear that they are a comment of the state of contemporary India, particularly its youth.

Last year, the Indo-French co-production won the Oeil d’Or award for Best Documentary at the Cannes Film Festival 2021 and the Amplify Voices Award at the Toronto International Film Festival.

It was also in the running for Best Film at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards (APSA).

Payal Kapadia's film A Night of Knowing Nothing
A Night of Knowing Nothing (Source: Twitter)

The film’s director and screenwriter, Payal Kapadia, holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from St Xavier’s College in Mumbai and studied film direction at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) in Pune.

In 2014, her self-produced short film The Last Mango Before the Monsoon was the winner of the International Critics’ Prize at the Oberhausen Film Festival and Mumbai International Film Festival.

In 2017, her short film Afternoon Clouds about a woman and her Nepali house help was the only Indian entry at the Cannes Film Festival in any category.

Later this month, Kapadia is set to join Italian artist Rosa Barba and German short-film expert Reinhard W. Wolf on the International Short Film jury at Berlinale 2022.

Notably, Indian-American filmmaker M Night Shyamalan will be heading the international jury as president and Gangubhai Kathiawadi starring Alia Bhatt will be making its world premiere at this festival.

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