Documentaries Exploring Human Unity and Empowerment Win Top Honors at Auroville Film Festival

AUROVILLE, India – The 8th edition of the Auroville Film Festival recently concluded, celebrating cinema that explores the theme of human unity. Two documentaries, “Aware: Glimpses of Consciousness” by Frauke Sandig and Eric Black and “All That Breathes” by Shaunak Sen, received the prestigious “Wisdom Awards” in the international category. Judges acknowledged these films from Germany and India for their exploration of the interconnectedness between all life forms and the ways in which humans are connected to their environment.

Other notable films recognized at the festival include Elizabeth D Costa’s “Bangla Surf Girls” and Anam Abbas’s “This Stained Dawn,” both receiving Jury Awards. These films showcase strong women fighting for emancipation and self-definition on the beaches of Bangladesh and in Pakistan’s maidans. The Cinema Paradiso Award for Human Unity was presented to Kaushal Oza’s “The Miniaturist of Junagadh,” a moody short film starring Naseeruddin Shah.

The festival also honored films made by Aurovilians, bioregion residents, and guests of Auroville. Sugumar Shanmugam’s “Thirai Virutham,” an in-depth exploration of the folk performing art Therukkoothu, received the Cinema Paradiso Award in this category. Serena Aurora’s heartwarming portrayal of an early Aurovilian, titled “When Goupi Met the Mother Mira Alfassa and Found Home,” earned the Jury Award.

Additionally, Michèle Decoust’s documentary “The Path of the 12 Petals: Shanta, an Initiatic Journey” was recognized with the Wisdom Award for its study of an Auroville artist’s journey of self-discovery in the light of Alfassa’s teachings. Valentina Beatriz’s dance short film “Fallin'” received the Mongbra Award for its dynamic depiction of falling in love through the use of the body.

The jury also gave special mention to Saumya Srivastava’s experimental art film “Kolam,” which reveals Auroville’s hidden beauty through slow-motion photography, and Mélusine Schellenberger’s premiere “Meat the Vegan,” a student film exploring alternative dietary lifestyles.

The Auroville Film Festival, held every two years since 2009, has become a cornerstone of Auroville’s cultural life. In line with the non-competitive spirit of Auroville, winning filmmakers were awarded saplings ready for planting, symbolizing the community’s emphasis on harmonious growth.

In addition to the film screenings and discussions, the festival also featured live music concerts, art installations, and a variety of cuisine. The event provided a platform for filmmakers and artists to come together in celebration of cinema while promoting unity and understanding.