Penangite wins international award for Covid-19 short film


Articles in Penang / Penang

GEORGE TOWN: The story of a family’s tragic upheaval during the Covid-19 pandemic titled This Too Shall Pass has bagged Penang-born film director Rubendra Ganeish Ravi the White Unicorn International Film Festival (WUIFF) award.

The 47-minute short film has been selected and is being screened at the Global Indian Film Festival held in Mumbai, India, from Oct 21 to 31.

Rubendra, 27, said the story is about protagonist Mo and his family, whose lives take a turn for the worse during the pandemic, especially for Mo’s mother, Ann, who lives in an old folk’s home.

Mo struggles on a personal level to cope with life and also to care for his mother, with the story finally ending on a tragic note.

“Winning the award was a victorious moment for me. Covid-19 has indeed caused pain and tragedy in the lives of many around the world,” said Rubendra, adding that the film was made using the “Dana Kecil” scheme grant of RM15,000 from the National Film Development Corporation (Finas).

“As the Finas grant was insufficient, I had to get some additional funding from my family to complete the movie,” he said in an interview with The Star here.

Rubendra said the movie had a cast of 25 and took seven days to be completed.

WUIFF is an International Film Festival jointly organised by professional organisations from India (WUIFF), Hong Kong (Create Asia Group), Italy (L’ulcera del signor Wilson) and Japan (Studio 51).

The movie was also submitted at three film festivals in Kolkata, Mumbai and London. It has been selected to be screened at the festivals with the highlight being the London Film Festival in the presence of VIP attendees from Netflix, Amazon and BBC.

“The movie would not have been possible if not for the encouragement of my parents, especially my father who told me to pursue my passion no matter what the obstacles are.

“I have always been drawn to movies which have tragic story lines as that is where real characterisation can be seen. Such movies also bring out the best in me as a director,” said Rubendra.

A former SMK Bukit Jambul student, Rubendra did his degree in film studies at the University of Wolverhampton, with a Master’s at the University of Sheffield Hallam, Britain. He was involved in making short films before his big break with This Too Shall Pass.

Rubendra is set to pursue his PhD at University of Wolverhampton.

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