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NIFFFI 2021 will offer an international selection of films that showcases our collective, often shared, ways of life. 

12 entries will compete for the flagship NIFFFI Black Fire Award for Best Long Film (30 mins and up) and a new Award for Best Short Film (under 30 mins). NIFFFI will be holding interaction sessions with the filmmakers on festival days Oct 29, 30, 31 and Nov 05, 06 and 07. Please join us on NIFFFI's Facebook page.


The filmmaker Kshipra Shekhar Dhavle's tryst with folk narratives and folk culture reflects in her animation film titled Amepã. Set amidst a scenic village in Northeast India, the film Amepã is about a child's inquisitiveness towards an animal.

by Kshipra Shekhar Dhavle


The film portrays the lives and times of puppeteers of Odisha, India. It documents four forms of puppetry; the glove, the string, the rod and the shadow, which are now being performed by their last generation of artists. The folk art form, which is as vulnerable as its performers who mostly belong to the lower strata of the society in terms of caste and economy, is experiencing a silent death. The filmmaker builds a personal narrative to trace the time a dying art form is going through.

by Lipika Singh Darai

Badshah Lear

In Badshah Lear - Shakespeare in the Valley, eminent Theatre Director MK Raina returns to Kashmir, a land his family fled two decades ago, to create and perform an adaptation of King Lear with the Bhands, folk theatre performers banned from performing by militants. The film focuses on the emotional return of the actor and theatre director to his native place and it includes excerpts from the play staged by MK Raina with theatre artists in the Badshah Pather style of presentation.


by Anant Raina

Journey into Khöömii

'From the Mongolian steppes to the most prestigious stages of world music in the West, through a unique scientific experiment, Journey into Khöömii (Journey In Diphonia) will present the Mongolian khöömii in all its diversity and contemporaneity.

by Jean-François Castell

Mundari Srishtikatha

The present generation of children have missed the opportunity to hear folklore from their elders. By a clever use of animated images, an effort is made to convey the myths which were passed on from one generation to another. The animation film 'Mundari Srishtikatha' narrates the folk tale in a distant village of the Munda community in the state of Jharkhand.

Directed by Tuhin Paul

Nokkuvidya - The Life of a Lone String Puppeteer

Nokkuvidya, which is a centuries old unique puppetry practiced by the Velan community in Central Kerala, is under threat of extinction. Padmashri Moozhikkal Pankajakshi is the lone surviving exponent of Nookuvidya and her granddaughter Renjini is the only remaining practitioner and stage performer of Nokkuvidya. The documentary unfolds the life of a lone string puppeteer from the perspective of Renjini. 


by Reshmi Radhakrishnan

Sea of Ecstasy - The Saga of Kodungallur Bharani

Thousands of Kali devotees congregate for the annual Bharani festival held at the Sri Kurumba Bhagavathy temple, Kodungallur, Kerala. It is a festival of oracles, and according to legends, this ecstatic confluence of oracles with ritual swords and offerings commemorate the Goddess's victory over Darika, the symbol of evil. The film chronicles this festival of primal energies and sacrifices – of what one is and has - offered to the Mother Goddess.


by Nandakumar Thottathil

Sindhu The Subterranean Song

'Sindhu The Subterranean Song' explores the idea of loss and re-creation through a conversation between clay and animation.The film focuses on the misplaced pottery of the Indus Valley Civilisation and the Japanese art form of Kintsugi. Through the playful recreation of ancient polychrome terracotta, a more serious issue of erasing a cultural memory is raised. This experimental film is a poetic and lyrical response to the ancient creator.


by Pallavi Arora & Shirley Bhatanager

The Enchanted Words of the Hupd’äh of the Amazon - Masters of knowledge, narrated by Renato Athias

The film provides an approach for debating the relationships between humans and non-humans through portraying the life of the Hupd’ähs, one of 210 Amerindian groups in Brazil who live in the Uaupés river basin, in the heart of North-West Amazon. This film highlights what the Hupd’äh people have to say to Western societies.

by Mina Rad

The Myths of the Wancho

The Wanchos have a story of how the first Chief of the village emerged from a gourd. In a Wancho village in remote Arunachal Pradesh in North East India, the leading characters are two Wancho school teachers who find themselves in between the elder generation of knowledge keepers, and the responsibility for imparting the traditional culture to a young generation that is increasingly seduced by a rapidly changing way of life. 


by Tara Douglas

The Traditional Brazilian Family Katu

A photographic essay, made in 2007 in recognition of indigenous roots, depicts twelve teenagers belonging to Eleutério do Katu, RN Brasil. Twelve years later, the photographer returns to Katu in search of these protagonists, now adults, to learn about their personal trajectories and their visions of the world. Directed by Rodrigo Sena, the film looks at the lives of the native people of northeastern Brazil, the guardians of the forest who are in resistance and in fight against agribusiness that threatens their way of life.

by Rodrigo Sena

Vilpattu: The Bow Transcend The Music

Th3 film documents Vilpattu or Bow Song, which claims an antiquity since the 9th Century, is found to have been performed in the villages bordering the two southern states of India- Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Closely knit with the lives of the people of these region, the art form is presented in the mode of devotional music. The rendering uses simple tunes, verses as well as ballad style singing with exotic rural dialect, which makes it easy for the local people to comprehend and identify with.

by Jaya Jose Raj