‘Kapaemahu’ wins at BISFF; ‘Avarya’ and ‘Radha: The Eternal Melody’ secure second and third position

The BISFF (Bengaluru International Short Film Festival) winners have been announced!

The Oscar accredited film festival is a reputed one and has lately announced the winners for its animated short films category. Based on legend from Hawaii, animated short Kapaemahu about transgender spirits, is the winner in the category followed by Avarya and Radha: The Eternal Melody as first and second runners up respectively. 

Co-created by director-producers Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, Dean Hamer and Joe Wilson, Kapaemahu reveals the healing power of four mysterious stones on Waikiki Beach – and the legendary transgender spirits within them. 

Overwhelmed by the win, Wong-Kalu on behalf of the entire team, told AnimationXpress, “We were initially surprised by the win for Kapaemahu because India seems so far from Hawai’i.  But upon deeper reflection, we realised that Polynesian and Indian culture share much in common, including a more holistic understanding of gender diversity, and a colonial history that brought unwelcome political and societal changes. We also share the need for healing in this time of pandemic, and Kapaemahu teaches us how all healers should be respected for the good they do. In this context, the award from BISFF is incredibly meaningful for our team and makes us feel hopeful about the things that unite us across the distances. Here’s to the power of film, art and storytelling shining their light and bringing people together around the world.”

On the other hand, set in Kolkata, Radha is an emotional ride about love and sacrifice between two distinct characters – an elderly woman (Radha) and a young boy, whom she nurtures and loves him with all her heart. Destiny made them grow apart with time, and thus begins the wait of the titular character to catch a glimpse of him who now stays in a different city.

The story weaves an invisible bond between two people, similar to that of Radha’s wait and ‘biraha’ for Krishna after he left her in Vrindavan according to the Hindu mythology. 

Sharing his feelings on the win, Radha director Bimal Poddar said, “It is a great feeling to secure a place in the top three from India in the animation section; all the films selected for the competition were wonderful. Thanks to the Jury and entire BISFF team for considering our effort. And a big congratulations to the entire team of Radha.”

Radha represents an old, lonely lady from every household in present times where children leave their roots for a better prospect, career, and lifestyle. There is nothing wrong in it, but the older ones of the families are left alone and they have nothing else but memories of gone by days to fall back on. 

A storyboard sketch from ‘Radha’

Radha is, thus, an ode to the ones who wait for back at home, and will continue to do so with love. And most times, ‘HOME’ is a pair of eyes or hands always ready to pick you up when you falter. Home is a person that makes everything worthwhile.

The first runner-up, Avarya, is written and directed by Gokalp Gonen. The official synopsis of the animated short follows : Embarked on a spaceship in the hope of finding a new habitable planet, the human trapped in his own ship after the robot overseer finds every single candidate planet unsuitable.

We wish the winners a heartiest congratulations!