Nepali film Seto Surya (White Sun) directed by Deepak Rauniyar was premiered in the Orizzonti section — an international competition — at the 73rd Venice International Film Festival to much appreciation on September 6.
*Video and photos are courtesy of ASAC Images/Biennale Cinema
It has also won 6th INTERFILM Award for Promoting Interreligious Dialogue under Collateral Awards of the 73rd Venice Film Festival.
“From a shortlist of finally three films the INTERFILM Jury at the 73rd International Film Festival Venice has chosen the winner of the 6th INTERFILM Award for Promoting Interreligious Dialogue.
The jury decided for the Nepalisian film Seta Surya (White Sun) by Deepak Rauniyar which was screened in the Orizzonti section of the festival,” the website of the Award writes.
“It is obviously a moment of joy to be receiving an award at one of the world’s oldest and biggest film festivals of the world. We all are happy,” director Rauniyar expressed to The Himalayan Times via a Facebook interview. Sadly, he wasn’t there to receive the award.
Highway was his first feature film and it also became “the first feature of Nepal to premiere in a major international film festival. Now, White Sun has taken us to another level”.
He has had a deep belief that “Nepali films like other films can be distributed and screened across the audience of the world.
I would be jubilant that day when our films will be distributed easily like other films reach us. My belief has been firm after White Sun was screened at two big film festivals in a gap of four days and the response we got.”
After Venice Film Festival, White Sun had a North American premiere at Toronto International Film Festival on September 10. The 87-minute-film is a story after the country’s civil war.
It features Dayahang Rai, Asha Magrati, Rabindra Singh Baniya, Sumi Malla and Amrit Pariyar among others.
With the win, lead actor Rai feels that “the country and Nepali films have garnered respect”. When the film was well received at the premiere at Venice with a long applause in a hall of more than 1,200 audience, he is on cloud nine.
He shared, “I felt that this is the success for what I have worked till now!” He had also not expected that people would be interested in a Nepali film.
The Festival ran from August 31 to September 10. INTERFILM is the international network for dialogue between church and film promoting the appreciation of cinema’s artistic, spiritual and social significance in the church and calls attention to the relevance of church, theology and religion for cinema.
As festivals are critical for the activities of INTERFILM, it participates in festivals like Venice and award prizes to outstanding films.