Ere Gowda's Balekempa wins FIPRESCI award at the International Film Festival Rotterdam

FP Staff

Feb,09 2018 18:13 36 IST

The Kannada film Balekempa or The Bangle Seller, written and directed by Ere Gowda, has won the International Federation of Film Critics Award or the FIPRESCI Award at the 47th International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR), a highly coveted international film festival for independent cinema in the world.

Debutante director Gowda, who made his way up from working as a security guard to an internationally renowned director, came into the spotlight for penning the script of the acclaimed 2016 film Thithi. Balekempa was the only Indian film in competition in the Rotterdam festival’s Bright Future category and competed against 18 other movies.

“People really liked the film even though it is set in a context and a backdrop so far removed from their lives. During the question and answer rounds, people said here was a film that worked well both for the insider who is familiar with the Indian village backdrop and the outsider who views this as a human tale,” said Gowda, according to a report by Scroll.

Ere Gowda receives the award at the IFFR. Image from Facebook/Ere Gowda

Ere Gowda receives the FIPRESCI award at the IFFR. Image from Facebook/Ere Gowda

The award follows Balekempa’s selection at the Work-In-Progress Lab at the NFDC Film bazaar in 2017. Gowda thanked his mentors namely — Marco Mueller, Philippa Campbell, Olivia Stewart, and Jacques Comets, for giving him nuanced technical feedback on his film. “I am a self-taught filmmaker and have learnt by watching and understanding. So, it goes without saying that it has helped me immensely,” said Gowda according to a Times of India report.

Ere Gowda receives the award at the IFFR. Image from Facebook/Ere Gowda

Ere Gowda receives the FIPRESCI award at the IFFR. Image from Facebook/Ere Gowda

The film is a tale of morality revolving around Kempanna, a bangle seller, and his wife Soubhagya and features a majority of non-actors. “There are so many characters in my life; some I know, some I have heard of ... some of it is my imagination. Where I come from, films are about what is good and what is bad. The characters in my head, they are not good people or bad people. They are just people. So there are these two characters in Balekempa, they go through life in this patriarchal, rural society. Balekempa is not based on anyone. Maybe some childhood memories have some influence on it, but it is all made up,” said Gowda, according to a report by the IFFR.

Ere Gowda receives the award at the IFFR. Image from Facebook/Ere Gowda

Ere Gowda receives the award at the IFFR. Image from Facebook/Ere Gowda

Gowda grew up near Mandya in Karnataka, where both Thithi and Balekempa were filmed, however the director has elaborated upon the differences between the two films previously.

A still from Ere Gowda's Balekempa.

A still from Ere Gowda's Balekempa.

“In Thithi, I wrote a script around characters I already knew. Here, I’ve created these characters from scratch and then woven a tale around them. Yes, even if they are fictitious characters – they obviously have their roots in the people and the surroundings I’m familiar with,” said Gowda according to another Scroll report.

Published Date: Feb 09, 2018 18:13 PM | Updated Date: Feb 09, 2018 18:13 PM