Meghalaya’s rare insect hunt story becomes film project in Cannes

Meghalaya’s rare insect hunt story becomes film project in Cannes

Agency News

Cannes, May 18 : Once in every four years, villagers in Meghalaya come out in droves at night to hunt an insect for food. Cicada, as the insect is called, arrived in May last year, four years after its last appearance. Now, thanks to a young filmmaker from their community, the insect hunt story is poised to become a movie.

The story of the insect is a film project at the Cannes film festival's film market this year. Presented in La Fabrique programme of the film market in Cannes, it is part of ten projects chosen from around the world. Titled 'Rapure', the film will be directed by Dominic Sangma, a graduate of the Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute, Kolkata.

"The insects come in their millions," says a resident of Nongthymmai Garo village in Meghalaya. "People from my community throng the forest to catch insect because it is tender and tasty," he adds. The insect is collected at night in a community participation. "The insect looks like fire flies," he says.

La Fabrique, run by the French Institut Francais during the Cannes film festival, is a tailored programme to help talented young directors from emerging countries increase their international exposure. Acclaimed Indian filmmaker Mira Nair, who won the Camera d'Or award for her debut film, 'Salaam Bombay!', is the mentor of the programme this year.

Sangma's film revolves around the disappearance of a boy when the villagers are busy collecting the insects. "We shot the opening scenes of the film showing people collecting the insects last year," says Sangma. "Otherwise it would have been a wait for another four years when the insects would arrive again," he adds.

"I was collecting the insects along with my family last year. It is interesting cicada comes only during the time of the football World Cup," says Sangma, whose first film, 'Ma.Ama', premiered at the Mumbai film festival last year, was also set in his village. "The new project is completely different from my first film," says Sangma. 'Ma.Ama' tells the story of the filmmaker's relationship with his father and stepmother and memories about his mother.

Sangma is the only Indian in La Fabrique programme, which invites ten directors working on their first or second feature films to attend the Cannes festival along with their producers, this year. The programme also has a film project from Bangalesh, 'Sand City' directed by Mahde Hassan. Romanian director Cristian Mungiu, who won the Palme d'Or at the 2007 Cannes festival for '4 Months, 2 Weeks, 3 Days', was the mentor of the programme last year.

"The story and script are ready and I also have a producer from China on board," says Sangma, who will be meeting with sales agents and programmers from major international film festivals during his stay in Cannes. "It is an honour to have Mira Nair as our mentor," says Sangma, who came to Cannes as part of a delegation of National Film Development Coporation while he was making his first film. UNI