‘Up, Down and Sideways,’ directed by Anushka Meenakshi and Iswar Srikumar won the Best Long Documentary award at the 11th International Documentary and Short Film Festival of Kerala (IDSFFK), thereby securing an official entry into the Oscars.

The film that brought to screens the life and woes of the farmers in Nagaland, bagged the certificate and the prize money of Rs. 2 lakh. Hemant Gaba’s ‘An Engineered Dream,’ on the rate race for the engineering dream and the toll it takes on young minds, won the award for the second Best Long Documentary.

‘Chayakkadakkarante Mann Ki Bath’ by Sanu Kummil, the life story of a tea-seller who showcased a unique form of protest against demonetisation, won the Best Short Documentary award while ‘Sound Proof’ by Aditya Kelgaonkar secured the award for the Best Short Fiction Film.

Abhinava Bhattacharyya’s ‘Jamnapaar’ and ‘Gi’ by Kunjila Mascillamani are the second prize winners in the respective categories. In the Campus Film category, ‘Orukkam’ by G. Shankar and ‘Ida’ by Gokul R. Nath shared the award for the best film. P.S. Venu secured the Navroze Contractor award for the Best cinematographer for ‘Sahyante Nashtam’. Speaker P. Sreeramakrishnan distributed the awards in the closing ceremony held at the Kairali Theatre on Tuesday.

Mr. Sreeramakrishnan said that a culture of debate was necessary if a country was to be democratised. “We are going through a cultural Alzheimers too. Documentaries and events like this celebrating the art are necessary to fight against the cultural Alzheimers and to promote a culture of debate,” he said.

Culture Minister A.K. Balan, who presided over the function, said that we were living through a time when the importance of resistance through the cultural arena had increased. “The attacks faced by the likes of M.M. Basheer, Kamal, M.T. Vasudevan Nair and most recently by Prabha Varma and S. Hareesh are a part of a plan to keep cultural activists under a tight leash. Those who indulge in such things are unable to fight ideas with ideas and instead resort to the use of weapons. Kerala does not have a tradition of bowing its head before such tendencies,” he said.

On the controversies regarding the non-inclusion of T.V. Chandran’s documentary on Ramu Karyat, he said the final decision on selection rests with the selection committee. The government or the academy would not interfere in that. But the academy needed to think in the future on giving special consideration for documentaries from the State considering the fact that the festival was happening here.

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