Independent Tamil film Nilanadukkam has been selected to premiere at the 49th Montreal Festival Du Nouveau Cinema, which is the oldest film festival in Canada. The film, directed by Balaji Vembu Chelli, a debutant, is the first Tamil film to be selected at this fest, which had screened the acclaimed Malayalam film Jallikattu last year.
The 70-minute experimental film, is a mystery/road movie about a catastrophe and the mystery around it, and is set in Kukkal, a village 35-40km from Kodaikanal. “It revolves around a rookie photojournalist who is trying to get his first major break. The photojournalist is played by Rajeev Anand, who was the lead in Manusangada. A few theatre artistes and some locals from Kukkal have acted in the film,” says Balaji, who has worked as an assistant director in RS Prasanna’s 2013 romcom Kalyana Samayal Saadham.
Talking about the selection to the fest, which is scheduled to happen from October 7-18, Balaji informs, “It will be screened in the Temps Ø section, a competition section, and the film will be eligible for an audience award. It is a section that encourages experimental films. The exact screening date of the film is yet to be announced.” The section also includes films by popular arthouse filmmakers like Gaspar Noé, Abel Ferrara and the late Dennis Hopper.
However, the director informs that he will not be able to go to the fest due to the pandemic. “This year, the organisers are going for hybrid screenings, with only the locals being allowed to watch them in the theatres; the other festival attendees will be watching the films online,” he
Vedaraman Sankaran, who shot the Telugu film Mental Madhilo, is this film’s cinematographer. Dorai Prakash SA, who edited the independent film Nirvana, is the editor, while Chennai-based Maarten Visser has composed the film’s score.