Virundhu/The Feast, a short film produced by Krea University on climate change and human-water relationships has won the Special Jury Prize in the International Competition category at Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival 2024. The Feast was one of 66 films selected to be screened from 9500 entries, from across 52 countries at the Film Festival, between 2 and 10 February, 2024.
Five of the top ten global risks identified by the World Economic Forum’s 2021-22 Global Risks Perception Study are environmental risks – climate action failure, extreme weather, biodiversity loss, human environmental damage, and natural resources crisis. And each of these risks has strong linkages to water – either too much or too little of it.
Virundhu/The Feast seeks to humanise the water crisis – to build emotional salience that can motivate a closer look at the facts and carry through the momentum for a response. The short film heightens social imagination around the interconnectedness of our actions and our ecosystems.
Virundhu/The Feast is based in Pulicat, situated on the southeastern coast of India, straddling the border between Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, explores the critical theme of depleting water resources and environmental challenges. Conceptualised as a science and imagination film, the aim is to shift narratives on water through a combination of long-term research and public outreach. The short film focuses on water pollution and its overarching impact not only on the environment but on society as well. It emphasises the need to cherish and preserve our lakes, which play a vital role in the lives of humans and non-humans, rather than as dumping grounds for pollution.
The Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival is one of the most prestigious film festivals in the world, featuring masterpieces of animation, comedies, films on contemporary reality, genre films, student projects from the best schools in the world, and documentaries. The selections comprising the seventy programmes in this year’s Festival critically bring together the world of filmmakers of all stripes. Between the competitions and retrospectives, there are 400 films from fifty countries that offer a formidable dive into a refreshing pool of young cinematic talent.
The Festival began in 1979 as part of a student film club and immediately took off. In 2023, it welcomed over 3,900 professionals from all over the world and totalled over 160,000 admissions.
Krea University’s mission is to help humanity prepare for an unpredictable world. This mission brings with it the heightened responsibility to address some of the toughest global challenges through cutting-edge ideas, insights, and lessons. Krea’s resolution mission is to be a catalyst of change and create lasting value through multi-dimensional change.
The Krea University campus centres around the ethos of holistic sustainability. Several projects and initiatives, aligned with the UN Agenda for Sustainable Development, aim at increasing resource efficiency, reducing environmental footprint and fostering biodiversity on campus. In doing so, Krea’s green campus continues to promote the values of efficient and accountable use of scarce resources, and supports the wellbeing of all members of the Krea community.
Rishi Chandna is a self-taught filmmaker based in Mumbai. He started as a behind-the-scenes cameraperson on feature films and then worked as a creative producer on ads. As a director, he has created content ranging from digital commercials to audio-video installations, which have shown at the MoMA, Venice Biennale of Architecture, and the MAK Museum Vienna.
Rishi turned an independent filmmaker with his acclaimed short film, Tungrus (2018) – a dark comedy about a Mumbai suburban family divided over eating their dominating pet rooster. The film has travelled to 150+ international festivals including Hot Docs, BFI London Film Festival and IDFA. It won 28 awards and became an Oscar-qualifying documentary after winning at Slamdance Film Festival, 2019.
Rishi has also programmed films for Mumbai International Film Festival (2019), and Slamdance Film Festival (2020). He freelances as a festival strategist for short filmmakers, while developing his first independent feature film. He is also in post-production on his next short film — a hybrid black comedy about a group of laundrymen in Mumbai who want to celebrate a major festival in the face of a pandemic.
Rishi is currently in development on the script of his first feature-length fiction film titled GHOL/THE CATCH, about a struggling Gujarati Muslim fisherman who becomes a local millionaire after catching the precious Ghol fish.
The project has been selected at the 2021 Sundance Screenwriters Lab, the Cannes Film Market 2021, the 2021 NFDC Film Bazaar Co-Production Market and the 2021 Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum where it won the HAF Fiction Award for a non Hong Kong project.
Niiti Consulting is a social business consulting firm with a dedicated team of consultants and domain experts who provide implementation focussed research and strategy support for organisations, social start-ups, foundations, and institutions. Since its inception in 2009 as India’s first for-profit and virtual social enterprise, the team at Niiti has worked with a vast and diverse set of projects, ranging from research and documentation to impact evaluation to capacity building. Since 2015, Niiti has also initiated several projects to bring key issues like gender, water, constitution, etc, into the mainstream narrative.
In the past, the team at Niiti has worked with several organisations on creating and distributing content in a time and cost-efficient manner, yet having a deep impact on intended stakeholders, often with a call to impact. Some of them include, the Voice of experience project with Villgro, the outreach strategy on social entrepreneurship design, and support in execution of the Urban India Conference 2011 for Indian Institute for Human Settlements, a blue book of capturing best practices to impact young men and boys with Rohini Nilekani Foundation, to name a few.
Water, Environment, Land and Livelihoods (WELL) Labs co-creates research and innovation for social impact in the areas of land and water sustainability. WELL Labs is an autonomous centre based at the Institute for Financial Management and Research (IFMR). Together with Krea University and other centres at IFMR, WELL Labs is part of an ecosystem of labs and research centres with a mission to help prepare for an unpredictable world.