By Aditi Patwardhan. Posted on November 19, 2015
Indian writer-director Leena Yadav’s film Parched starring Tannishtha Chatterjee, Radhika Apte, Surveen Chawla and Lehar Khan has won the Inaugural Impact Award at the Stockholm Film Festival. Yadav has been awarded a cash grant of $114,000 (1 million SEK) to support her upcoming film projects. The award will be presented at the festival ceremony on Nov 20.
Parched, co-produced by India, the U.S. and the U.K., revolves around the lives of four rural women. The film, which premiered at Toronto International Film Festival earlier this year, has received appreciation and praise for its stark portrayal of the misogyny, violence and discrimination that women are subjected to even today in major parts of India. Yadav has previously worked as writer, director and film editor in television as well as films. She has directed films Shabd (2005) and Teen Patti (2010).
Intended to ‘support headstrong filmmakers who are not afraid to bring up burning topics in contemporary society’, this is the first time that the Stockholm Impact Award has been given at Stockholm Film Festival. The prize amount of 1 million SEK makes it one of the biggest film awards in the world.
Chinese artist & activist Ai Weiwei was the Head of the Impact Jury comprising of Swedish theatre director Linus Tunstrom and Iranian film director Ida Panahandeh. Weiwei has also designed the prize sculpture of Stockholm Impact Award.
The jury said, “Through superb acting, giving a unique insight into the minds and hearts of women in rural India, told with colorful, sensual cinematography, this film is a paradoxical celebration of life, in spite of tough circumstances, creating both anger and joy, giving fuel for debate as well as hope for change, when addressing a burning question that affects, not half, but the whole of our society.”
The other filmmakers nominated for the Stockholm Impact Award were Lisa Aschan for White People (Sweden), Yuval Delshad for Baba Joon (Israel), Erik Matti for Honor Thy Father (Philippines), Mélanie Laurent and Cyril Dion for Tomorrow (France), and Matias Meyer for Yo (Mexico, Canada, Switzerland, Dominican Republic).