Drishyam Films’ Newton wins the CICAE Art Cinema Award at Berlinale 2017 where it made its World Premiere
Jury calls it a “wonderful” and “exceptional” film, praising the dark humor and ironic approach of the Indian democratic elections
Berlin/ Mumbai, February 19, 2017: Drishyam Films’ next, Newton directed by Amit V Masurkar and produced by Manish Mundra which made its World Premiere at Berlinale 2017 has won the CICAE Art Cinema Award awarded by the independent jury of the International Confederation of Art House Cinemas.
Newton, starring Rajkummar Rao in the title role is a sharp political black comedy that takes place on an election day in Central India. Rajkummar Rao, whose star is on the rise following strong, highly appreciated performances in films like Aligarh and Queen, plays Newton, a rookie clerk on election duty in a conflict-ridden jungle of Chhattisgar, who tries his best to conduct free and fair voting despite the apathy of security forces and the looming fear of an attack by Maoist rebels.
The film selected in the ‘International Forum of New Cinema’ had its premiere screening on February 10th at the Zoo Palast, one of the oldest and most prestigious venues of the Berlinale. The film received a standing ovation from the very warm Berlinale audience, with a long and engaging Q and A post the screening. The CICAE forms two juries in every Berlinale, one of them for the Forum programme of which Newton was a part, which consisted of as many as 43 films.
The jury, consisting of Spanish film composer Pedro Barbadillo, Croatian director and Pula Film Festival producer Tanja Milicic and French producer Rainer Wothe called Newton a “wonderf ul” and “exceptional” film, praising it for its “modular portrayal of Indian culture, the dark humor and ironic approach as well as its positive use of typical cliches in Indian society [giving] NEWTON a unique form and style which will delight audiences in art house cinemas all over the world.”
The award was received by film curator Meenakshi Shedde on behalf of the director.
Director Amit V Masurkar says, “NEWTON is the result of so many people coming together with a common intention of telling a story that was waiting to be told. I’m stoked to see how well it connected with an international audience despite the rootedness and regional nuances. We are very touched by the love showered upon us by the Berlin International Film Festival and we feel honoured to accept this award.”
Manish Mundra, Founder of Drishyam Films and Producer of Newton says, “After the warm audience reception at Berlinale, we’re very happy that the CICAE jury has found NEWTON worthy of this important award. The entire Berlinale experience has been a rewarding and humbling one, and we are now excited to take this momentum forward to our impending India release.”
The CICAE is a non-profit association aiming at promoting cultural diversity in cinemas and festivals. Their objectives are to encourage arthouse cinemas to come together under a common umbrella at the national and international level, obtain support for arthouse films from government bodies and foster the distribution of high quality films from all countries, in all countries. These awards are an incentive to encourage young directors towards distribution.
What the jury had to say –
“The CICAE Art Cinema Award jury for the Forum programme at the 67th Berlinale out of as many as 43 films in competition decided to award the wonderful Indian film NEWTON directed by Amit V Masurkar. This exceptional film within the rich and varied Forum selection deals with the various issues of democracy and fight for it during the elections in India. It’s modular portrayal of Indian culture, the dark humor and ironic approach as well as positive use of typical cliches in Indian society gives NEWTON a unique form and style which will delight audiences in art house cinemas all over the world.”
The cast Rajkummar Rao, Anjali Patil, Pankaj Tripathi, producer Manish Mundra and music composer Naren Chandavarkar were all present at the red carpet screening of the film.
Newton is Amit V Masurkar’s second film after the sleeper hit Sulemani Keeda in 2014. The film produced by Manish Mundra was screened in the ‘International Forum of New Cinema’, which is considered to be the most daring section of the Berlinale and credited for showcasing the most promising new voices in international cinema. The film was part of the Co-Production Market (CPM) at Film Bazaar 2015 and also one of the Film Bazaar Recommends titles at Film Bazaar 2016.