Second Invitation for Saurav Rai at Cannes Film Fest

Saurav Rai and (next) a scene from his ‘Nimtoh’ film.
Wed, May 15, 2019

Hills filmmaker to pitch debut Nepali feature film ‘Nimtoh’ at global film carnival

Kalimpong lad Saurav Rai is flying to France on Tuesday night to attend the 72nd Cannes Film Festival with his Nepali feature film ‘Nimtoh’. It will be his second participation in the prestigious Cannes film festival, the first appearance being in 2016 with a short film ‘Gudh’.
‘Nimtoh’ (Invitation) is an 85-min long Nepali feature film directed by Saurav and shot last year in his native village Bara Mangwa, Kalimpong district. The film has recently won an award at Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum. This gave him the opportunity to pitch the film for world distributor, film festivals and producers at Cannes.
Speaking with SIKKIM EXPRESS, Saurav informed that he would be pitching debut feature film ‘Nimtoh’ in the ‘Marche Du Film Market’ section of the Cannes film festival.
The Cannes film festival is from May 14 to 25 which previews new films of all genres, including documentaries from all around the world.
Saurav is among the three ex-students of Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute (SRFTI), Kolkata invited to Cannes with their films. They are also the only three Indian filmmakers representing the nation in the globe’s biggest cinema carnival.
At the film festival, Saurav will pitch his debut feature film ‘Nimtoh’ for the world distributor, producers and film festivals. His film which is among the five projects selected by the Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum this March to participate in the pitching session at the Cannes.
Saurav shared that ‘Nimtoh’ was in the early stage of post-production during the film labs before Cannes and would be completed soon.
‘Nimtoh’ was shot in Bara Mangwa last year by the 32-year-old filmmaker with local cast and crew, all being his family members including his grandparents and father. The story in a remote mountain village of Darjeeling revolves around a ten-year-old boy and his grandfather. An approaching wedding event at their patron’s house fills them with excitement but question lingers on whether they will be invited.
The producers of ‘Nimoth’ are Sanjay Gulati and Neeraj Pandey, and production was done in association with Ankita Purkayastha.
Asked about him making a second Cannes appearance, Saurav says: “It is of course overwhelming to visit the festival again. I consider myself lucky as our previous film (Gudh) was also in the official competition in 2016. But this time it's refreshing as it's our debut feature film…definitely hopeful for some miracles. Yet the journey wouldn't have been possible without the team ‘Nimtoh’ and the villagers of Mangwa. They are the real reason behind all the adulation we are receiving for the film.”
Saurav had attended Cannes film festival in 2016 with his short Nepali film ‘Gudh’. His 29-minute-long film ‘Gudh’ was the only official Indian entry to compete in the Cannes Film Festival's Cinéfondation Selection.
‘Gudh’ is a story of a 10-year-old boy who is struggling to cope in the backdrop of revolution for a new State while his village is in an upheaval. The film was also shot in Mangwa village.
The film expresses some of the images imprinted in the childhood memory of Saurav who grew up in Bara Mangwa village, Kalimpong and later joined the Satyajit Ray Film & Television Institute in 2011.
Before ‘Gudh’ happened, Saruav had done a couple of documentaries and music videos. He works freelance based in Kolkata. His ‘Monsoon Rain’ (Barkhey Jhari) was selected in the 2014 Munich Film Fest while ‘Memories’ (Jhajhalko) found its way to National Student Film Awards same year.

Area: 7096 Sq Km
Altitude: 5,840 ft
Population: 6.10 Lakhs
Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 ft. to over 28,509 ft above sea level
Summer: Max- 21°C ; Min – 13°C
Winter: Max -13°C ; Min – 0.48°C
Rainfall: 325 cm per annum
Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi