Assamese filmmaker wins award at Riverside International Film Festival for movie on physically challenged

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The film will be premiered at Marché du Film Festival de Cannes in France

HT Correspondent

JORHAT, April 25: Rupam Sarmah, who hails from Jorhat and is presently based in the United States of America, has won the ‘Best Film for Inspiration making a global impact – Founders award’ for One Little Finger, at the Riverside International Film Festival held at Los Angeles, recently.

His brother Nayan Jyoti Sarmah,  an office bearer of Assam Table Tennis Association and an SBI official said that Rupam, who has directed and written One little finger, had dared to make a movie with 80 persons with disabilities and is now receiving international acclaim.

“The film has been officially selected in various international festivals including France, New York, San Diego, Florida, Los Angeles, Delhi and other places and  will be premiered at Marché du Film Festival de Cannes in France on May 16 and 17,” he further said.

The film will be officially released in the United States on August 16 and India release is in September.  The YouTube play link for the trailer is : One Little Finger which is a Hollywood feature film (English) co-produced in India with a theme of “Ability in Disability”.

“The goal of the film is to bring awareness about their human rights and is based on real life stories,” Rupam had earlier told this correspondent.

“Using the film media as a platform, we are allowing differently-abled people to act in this film alongside other local and international award winning actors to promote inclusion and diversity. More than 80 children and young adults with disabilities have acted in this film. The film has been completed after 5 years of planning and shooting in various locations in India and USA,” Rupam had said.

Some of the shooting locations in India are Jorhat, Sivasagar, Guwahati, Hajo, Rang Ghar, Naamghar, Kamakhya temple, Kolkata and surrounding areas. The students from Prerona Disability Organization (Jorhat) and Monovikas Kendra (Kolkata) have been actively involved with this film.

The cast and crew are from Assam, Kolkata, South India, Mumbai, and USA. All the characters with disabilities are played by the real-life roles. Tamela D’Amico, a Hollywood star is playing a lead character in the film.

Oscar nominated actress and composer, Siedah Garrett is playing the role of Dr. Claudia. Abhinaya, a hearing impaired girl, is a South Indian actress who is playing the same role in the film. Den, who was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy and rare Genetic Disorder, is also playing the same role in the film. Jeeja, a national award winner, who has cerebral palsy, is playing a similar role in the film. Some of the noted actors from Assam are, national award winning actress Malaya Goswami, Jaya Seal Ghosh, Pabitra Rabha, Surajit Sarmah, and others.

The music is directed by Rupam Sarmah.  “The music therapy is an integral part of this film. Many Grammy and Oscar winning artists are involved with the soundtracks including Quincy Jones, Julian Lennon, Siedah Garrett, Kechi Okwuchi, Kevin Mackie, Padmashri Sumitra Guha, and Vishwa Mohan Bhatt. The background score is composed by Pulitzer nominated Stephen Melillo and Rupam Sarmah,” Nayan Jyoti Sarmah said.

The film has been edited by Arghyakamal Maitra and Debojit Dutta of maZumba Studio. The Media Engineers, Ankur Pathak (sound), Sanjay Hazarika (music) of maZumba have also been actively involved with the film. Sound design is by Anup Mukherjee and Rupam Sarmah. The Costume designers are Nang Anne Gogoi (Assam), Gabrielle Sciabbarrasi (Hollywood). The film soundtracks include songs in various genres and languages – Assamese, English, Bengali, Hindi including Bihu, Borgeet, Rabindra Sangeet, Baul Geet, Satriya. The songs are performed by Siedah Garrett, Quincy Jones, Grant Smith, Lonnie Park, Jann Klose, Anweshaa, Rupam Sarmah, Kechi, Subhamita, Swagatalakshmi Dasgupta, Madhuraa, Rupankar, Sheela Dey and others.

“It was quite challenging to start with unknowns as we had many children and young adults with disabilities. Many people believe that disabled people are burden on society and they avoid them because they do not know how to act around them. Never underestimate their abilities. It opened my eyes. Our Thoughts – Words – Actions matter a lot. We are all going to face the challenges with disabilities as we age or take turns in our life. In fact, we all know someone or our loved ones in our families with some disabilities who needs our Love – could be our parents, friends, brothers, sisters, children. So, treat them well with respect as a human being, and give them love and a helping hand,” Rupam said.

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