Payal Kapadia receives national adulation for Cannes triumph, credits FTII for success

The last few days have been nothing short of a dream for film director Payal Kapadia. Her debut fiction film, All We Imagine As Light, has made history at Cannes 2024, earning her widespread acclaim and a flood of congratulatory messages from across the country. In a heartfelt statement, Kapadia expressed her profound gratitude to everyone who has showered her with love and encouragement.

Kapadia’s scripted history by becoming the first Indian director to win the Grand Prix at Cannes Film Festival for her film All We Imagine As Light

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Kapadia shared that the journey to complete her film was long and challenging. “We were in the middle of completing the post-production when we found out that it was selected for competition at Cannes. This was beyond what we had expected. It made us both excited and nervous,” she recalled. The anticipation was palpable as the screening approached, with Kapadia feeling a mix of anxiety and excitement, bolstered by the support of the film’s talented actors.

Reflecting on the experience, Kapadia noted the serendipity of the timeline: “Just one year ago, before the start of the monsoon, we had started preparation on the film and now exactly one year later, we were all together again in a completely different context and a completely different world.” She emphasized the joy of working with a team that felt like a family, a theme that resonates deeply with the narrative of her film.

Kapadia, who comes from an artistic family, acknowledged the privileges and challenges faced by the women in her family in pursuing their careers. She credited her education at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) as pivotal in her development as a filmmaker. “FTII was a space where we could not only formulate our thoughts about filmmaking but also about the world we inhabit,” she said. The institute’s diverse and intellectually stimulating environment played a crucial role in shaping her perspectives and artistic vision.

Highlighting the importance of affordable public education, Kapadia pointed out that many successful filmmakers in India have benefited from public institutions like FTII, Jamia, JNU, HCU, and others. She expressed concern over the increasing costs of education, stressing that these institutions must remain accessible to foster discourse and creativity.

Kapadia also praised the French public funding system for independent filmmakers, suggesting a similar model could benefit Indian cinema. She commended the Kerala government for its initiative to support female filmmakers and those from underrepresented castes, advocating for an autonomous funding body to support independent filmmakers.

Expressing her gratitude to the Kerala film industry, Kapadia noted the support she received despite being an outsider. She praised the openness of distributors, exhibitors, and audiences in Kerala to different kinds of films, emphasizing the need for diverse cinematic expressions in India.

As the country awaits election results, Kapadia called for a more equitable society where resources, including cultural and educational opportunities, are accessible to all. She urged citizens to hold the government accountable for ensuring inclusivity and solidarity in the nation’s progress.