Salt of the Earth (Bhoomiyude Uppu) examines the grand questions of good and evil. Emmanuel is a devout and gentle novice, living a quiet life in a Capuchin monastery in Kerala. He also runs a dispensary in the nearby tea estate. A television program triggers questions about God’s silence in Emmanuel’s mind, while comrade George is fighting for the rights of the estate workers. One day, an enigmatic woman, Sophy, arrives at the monastery to meet scholarly Father Francis and gather information about the forgotten women in Christian traditions. The Rector, Father Thomas, who is also an exorcist, immediately labels her as an agent of Satan and urges Emmanuel to spy on her. Emmanuel is attracted to her but believes the Rector and decides to eliminate her, further cleansing his own sinful desires. But is Sophy really evil? Will Emmanuel become a warrior of Christ or Satan?
A graduate of the Film and Television Institute in Pune, SUNNY JOSEPH is an acclaimed cinematographer, with 40 years of professional experience. He has worked as a DOP on over 60 feature films, in 12 Indian languages, and has directed a dozen short films and two television serials totalling 10 episodes. He is also a respected professor at the Narayanan National Institute of Visual Sciences and Arts in Kerala, a founding member of the Indian Society of Cinematographers and the current president of the Cinematographers Union of Malayalam Cinema. Salt of the Earth is his debut feature as a director and has already been screened at the Moscow International Film Festival, the Kolkata International Film Festival and the International Film Festival of Thrissur, where it won the National Award for Best Debut Film. It is a direct embodiment of the director’s spiritual musings. “When I hear stories of intolerance and hatred happening across the country, I thought that I should talk about true spirituality”, said Joseph during an interview with the North East Film Journal. “So, the ideas of Narayana Guru (One Caste, One Religion, One God for Humanity) made me tell this story. […] The place of women in religion was also a subtext in the story. Why is God a Father and not a Mother? I believe that true spirituality is knowing the interconnectedness of one another. And knowing that we, all, are ONE.”
scr.: Shihabuddin Poithumkadavu, Sunny Joseph | cin.: Arjun Ajith, Souvik Burman, Anil Sunny | ed.: Ramu and Aravind | cost.: Thampi Aryanad | art dir.: Biju Chinnathil | snd: T. Krishnan Unni | mus.: Isaac Thomas Kottukapally | cast: Mithun Nalini, Auroshikha Dey, Gangadharan Menon, V.K. Sreenivas, Raghoothaman, Jayadeep, Shylaja P. Ambu | prod.: Sunny Joseph
In Two Way Street, a simple trip home after a long train journey becomes a nail-biting, hate-fuelled ride when a cab driver refuses to enter his client’s neighbourhood, leading to a battle of will between the bigoted taximan and the headstrong victim of his discriminating views, who just won’t take no for an answer.
ASMIT PATHARE is a screenwriter, filmmaker, actor and stage lighting designer, winner of the META Award for Best Light Design in 2017. His short films, including The Doubty Dhoble: You Not Drink (2012) and Shankar Aur Bhagwan (2013), have been screened at the Mumbai International Film Festival, the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles, the Kerala International Film Festival as well as the Sapporo Short Film Fest in Japan. He has also participated in the international collaborative venture The Owner (2010), where 25 filmmakers from 16 countries came together to make one feature film. Back home, he has spearheaded the creative process of The Last Act (2012), another collaborative effort, this time between 12 filmmakers from 12 different Indian cities, and the winner of the 2013 ABBY Award at Goafest.
scr.: Annie Zaidi | cin.: Vikas Urs | ed.: Radhika Murthy | snd: Varun Gupta | mus.: Kaizad Gherda | cast: Joy Sengupta, Gagan Dev Riar | prod.: Raj Kishor Khaware
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