Postcard from Cannes #5: Indian cinematographer bags coveted prize

With over 50 feature films to his name both as cameraman and director, Santosh Sivan is a star in his native India. He was invited to the Cannes Film Festival this week to receive the Pierre Angénieux Prize for his contribution to cinematography.

Sivan's award coincides with the much-anticipated return of Indian cinema, with one film in the main competition and three in the other categories.

It’s his first time at Cannes in person and he has enjoyed the warm welcome.

"I think Cannes is easily the most popular of all festivals," Sivan tells RFI, reeling off a list of international events he’s been to, from Sundance to Busan. What he likes most is the recognition Cannes offers to the technicians working behind the scenes.

Apart from a couple of international collaborations, it seems the world has been slow to appreciate his multiple talents.

This appears set to change thanks to the prestigious Pierre Angénieux prize awarded on Friday evening at a special ceremony, attended by Cannes festival director Thierry Frémaux.

A second Angénieux encouragement award was handed over to young Estonian cinematographer Kadri Koop on the same occasion.

The prize is named after Frenchman Pierre Angénieux, who began manufacturing lenses for the film and television industry nearly ninety years ago. The equipment was used for NASA’s Apollo 11 mission and provided images of man's first step on the Moon.

Attachment to India

Sivan, who founded the Indian Society of Cinematographers in 1995 has had a long career in India and won dozens of accolades, but this is the first connected to France.


Read more on RFI English

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