Shaunak Sen: Having a chance to represent India at the Cannes is a big deal

Delhi-based filmmaker Shaunak Sen is all set to pack his bags and jet off to France for the screening of his documentary, All That Breathes, at the 75th edition of Cannes Film Festival. And he is happy to add to the growing popularity of India’s non fiction globally.

Sen’s Sundance grand jury prize winning documentary is showing in the Special Screening segment at the 10-day, which will begin on May 17.

“The film won big at Sundance this year in January. And it is very rare that a film immediately gets into an A-list festival after premiering elsewhere. So, being the official selection was a very pleasant surprise,” say Sen, calling it a prestigious moment to represent India on a global platform yet again.

He adds, “We are overwhelmed with joy, especially for the (growing) non-fiction film form in India. Last year was good for us with Sushmit Ghosh and Rintu Thomas’s Writing with Fire going to the Oscars, and Payal Kapadia winning at Cannes fest. Now, it feels like non fiction is finding a platform and stage that it deserved earlier”.

With his documentary, Sen pans the camera to examine his relationship with the sky and birds, through a journey of two brothers Nadeem and Saud who devote their lives to rescuing and treating injured birds, especially the Black Kites.

Opening up about the project, he says, “Initially, I thought it is an obscure film about Delhi and it’s ecology, also it is lyrical, poetic and slow. I wasn’t sure about the distribution opportunities, and now going to Cannes will provide it an unparalleled stage”.

For Sen, India being the country of honour at the fest makes it extra special. “All these synergies happen together is quite thrilling, and feels like things spun into the right place. It is beautiful,” he says on a parting note.

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