Filmmaker Rima Das' Assamese feature "Bulbul Can Sing" is set to have its European premiere at the 69th Berlin International Film Festival next year. The development comes a day after Das' award-winning "Village Rockstars" ended its dream run at the Oscars 2019 as India's official entry in the Best Foreign Language Film category.
"Bulbul Can Sing" is a coming-of-age drama about a teenage girl, Bulbul, living in a village in Assam, fighting her way through love and loss as she figures out who she really is.
Berlinale on Wednesday announced the film as part of its first 16 programme picks for the festival, to be held from February 7 to February 17 next year.
Das, who is enroute India from the US, said she is overjoyed after receiving the news.
"'Bulbul Can Sing' is selected for Berlinale! I can't explain in words how happy I am. After the film premiered at Toronto, I didn't think we would get an invitation from Berlin because top festivals like Cannes, Berlin, Toronto, and Venice usually ask for a world premiere. They accept other films only in case of an exception. So it's a huge achievement," she said in a statement.
"After getting immense love and appreciation from people for 'Village Rockstars', it was very challenging for me to come out with a new film which would meet people’s expectation. But seeing the extraordinary journey of 'Bulbul...' I feel more hopeful now. I want to thank my family, friends and film team and everyone who believes in my movies and me. Yes, we will keep our faith alive to keep dreaming,” she added.
According to the festival's website, "Bulbul..." falls under the 'Generation 2019: Hell-Bent Women - On Both Sides Of The Camera" segment.
"The poetic snapshots of life out in the country and in the classroom collectively paint a portrait of a trio of friends: Bulbul, Bonny and Sumu. Threatened by the traditions of their patriarchal village community, their youthful light-heartedness is put to a hard test," is how the festival described Das' film.
As per the website, in the run-up to the 42nd edition of Generation, so far 16 feature-length films from a total of 16 production and co-production countries have been invited to screen in the section's two competitions, Kplus and 14plus.
"Bulbul..." falls under the Generation 14plus category.
Other films in the section include "Beol-sae" (House of Hummingbird) from Republic of Korea; "The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open" from Canada / Norway; "Goldie" and "Knives and Skin" from (USA); "Guo Chun Tian" (The Crossing) from China; "Holmo nuori sydan" (Stupid Young Heart) from Finland / Netherlands / Sweden and "We Are Little Zombies" from Japan, among others.