Malayalam short film 'Ullarivu (The Awakening)' to screen at Mumbai fest

As per the filmmaker, Ullarivu is about “a young girl’s deep connection with nature and how it starts to disintegrate when she encounters the strangeness of the world.
Ullarivu is the 2nd short by the Kochi-based filmmaker. Her debut English short film was selected as one of the 10 scripts produced by Jio Studios from a nationwide submission of 900 applications
Ullarivu is the 2nd short by the Kochi-based filmmaker. Her debut English short film was selected as one of the 10 scripts produced by Jio Studios from a nationwide submission of 900 applications

A Malayali filmmaker’s short film has been selected at the upcoming Mumbai Film Festival. Ullarivu (The Awakening), written and directed by Sumi Mathai, is the only Malayalam short to be screened in the Focus South Asia category, a non-competitive, well-curated section of feature and short films by South Asian and South Asian Diaspora filmmakers. This section spotlights talent from the region, highlighting the wealth of narratives and styles that manifest South Asian experiences. 

Conceived through a crowdfunding campaign which received generous donations from 155 contributors, Sumi successfully raised 9 lakh INR to make the film, which was shot in a village in Poonjar, near Kottayam, with a small cast and crew. 

As per the filmmaker, Ullarivu is about “a young girl’s deep connection with nature and how it starts to disintegrate when she encounters the strangeness of the world. In the course of a day, she unwittingly learns the rules of existence in a patriarchal world, as she pieces together the hidden meanings and damaging rules of the system.” 

Child actor Devananda Shamej essays the protagonist, while the remaining cast comprises Pradeep Joseph, Nandini Gopalakrishnan, Shivarchana Rajesh, Kris Raj, Arun Kalabhavan, Minnu Elsa Joshy and Aksa Prasad. Ullarivu is the second short by the Kochi-based filmmaker Sumi. Her debut English short film Detour was selected as one of the ten scripts produced by Jio Studios from a nationwide submission of 900 applications. 

Detour, which featured Hindi actors Vikrant Massey and Sayani Gupta, premiered at the 2017 edition of Mumbai Film Festival, where it won the Special Jury Mention. It was also screened at Indische Filmfestival Stuttgart, Bangalore International Short Film Festival, Bucharest ShortCut Cinefest, and IndoGerman FilmWeek, Berlin. 

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