Art and Experience:

Newly formed cinema collective Indian Women Rising has boarded Student Academy Award-winning short film “Bittu” as presenter. IWR will shepherd the film through its Oscar campaign.

Based on a real life incident from 2013, “Bittu” is based on the story of a close friendship between two girls (played by Rani Kumari and Renu Kumari) in northern India that is eclipsed by an accidental poisoning at school. It is directed by Karishma Dev Dube and “Bittu” is her New York University thesis film.

“Bittu” won a silver medal at the Student Academy Awards in 2020. That makes it eligible for the 2021 Oscars in the best live action short category.

“Bittu” has also had a stellar festival run, having played the BFI London Film Festival, Telluride, Palm Springs Shortfest, Hollyshorts, where Dube won best director, and the Denver Film Festival, where it won best domestic film.

“ ‘Bittu’ is a film that seeks to give voice to an overlooked community, and follows a fierce little girl who refuses to be forgotten,” Dube said. “We are so privileged to have the film be supported by IWR, a collective that intends to do the same for so many imperative stories in India.”

IWR, a venture set up to support and empower Indian female talent in cinema, was launched last week by powerhouse trio: Ekta Kapoor, joint MD and creative director, Balaji Telefilms, Balaji Motion Pictures and ALTBalaji; Guneet Monga, founder and CEO of Sikhya Entertainment; and author and filmmaker Tahira Kashyap Khurrana.

“ ‘Bittu’ is a heartwarming watch. The film’s story and its endearing characters tug at your heartstrings and you can’t help but walk their emotional journey with them, hand-in-hand,” Kapoor said. “Karishma manages to bring out a myriad of emotions through her film, which also makes the viewers aware of an uncomfortable reality, which may not be catastrophic, but leaves you with a massive impact.”

“With the IWR Collective, our aim is to amplify the work of such amazing women in cinema,” said Monga. “I hope the collective helps in increasing the film’s footprint.”

“ ‘Bittu’ is all heart,” added Kashyap Khurrana. “The filmmaker’s honesty comes through every character and frame.”

“Bittu” is produced by Mary Evangelista (“Fran This Summer”). Evangelista is also developing feature “Burning Well,” supported by Tribeca All Access and Sundance Talent Forum, with Dube producing.

Source: Variety