Sahil Gada’s Shikhandi to compete at the Ca’ Foscari Short Film Festival

The 12th edition, which will feature an online masterclass by Indian filmmaker Ashish Pandey, will take place in Venice, Italy from 4 to 7 May.

Our Correspondent

Sahil Gada’s Shikhandi is one of 30 short films that will compete in the international competition section of the Ca’ Foscari Short Film Festival.

The 12th edition of the event, which will feature an online masterclass by Indian filmmaker Ashish Pandey, will take place in Venice, Italy from 4 to 7 May.

The short film Shikhandi tells the story of 20-year-old Dev, who sees his life only in theatre. Living with his abusive father after the death of his mother, Dev is not able express his true identity and dreams.

When he finally leaves his stifling home, he is welcomed at Guru’s Home Relief where his journey of self-discovery and acceptance begins. According to the festival’s press release, “Dev is finally able to explore his trans-identity through the mythological character of Shikhandi from the Mahabharata. The struggles of Dev are portrayed in parallel with the struggles faced by Shikhandi. Accompanied by traditional soundtracks and captivating choreographies, [Gada] is capable of conveying the feeling of isolation and fear that people who don’t fit the binary definition of male and female experience thorough their lives.”

Gada was born in Jamnagar, Gujarat and grew up in Nairobi, Kenya. He started out in theatre and began producing short films. He founded his own theatre company, Hoodwink 9 Theatre, where he wrote, directed and choreographed two of East Africa's biggest musicals. After a three-year stint as a creative producer at Radio Africa Group, he returned to India and studied cinema direction at the Whistling Woods International, graduating in 2019.

The Ca’ Foscari Short Film Festival, run by artistic and organizational director Roberta Novielli, is the first European film festival organized entirely by students. This year, there will also be special workshops, retrospectives and other events alongside the main festival.

Award-winning independent filmmaker Ashish Pandey — whose short film Nooreh (2018) won the Sonje award at the Busan International Film Festival in 2018 along with Kwon Sungmo's Cat Day Afternoon — will be present at the event for an online masterclass discuss his creative process and recurring themes that inspired his main works.

Pandey’s shorts The Cabin Man (2007), Khule Darwaaze (2011) and Nooreh (2018) will also be screened.

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