Sandhya Suri’s Short Film The Field won the Best International Short Film Prize at the Toronto International Film Festival 2018.
The Field capture the efforts of a female farmer to prepare for annual harvest — Lalla is a poor agricultural labourer in an Indian village preparing for the harvest of its remaining cornfield. But Lalla longs for a different life, one that requires all of the determination and bravery she can muster. “The film is striking for its aesthetic lyricism, tender performances, and powerful emotional impact. It’s a unique and refreshing glimpse into female desire set in rural India that demonstrated a scope greater than its short format.” remarked the July on The Field.
The Field crafts a refreshingly layered portrait of a woman who bravely pursues a different kind of life than the one she’s been granted, says Lisa Haller.
Sandhya Suri is a filmmaker based in the United Kingdom. Her features include the documentaries I For India (2005), and Around India with a Movie Camera (2018). The Field is her first short film.
In an interview with TIFF’s Short Cuts Programmer Jason Anderson and Canadian & Shorts Manager Lisa Haller Sandhya said that The Field “was shot over five days because I had written most of it at the golden hour — dusk or dawn — and we had to schedule around that. The light in the village at that time was incredibly atmospheric, bringing some beautiful hues to our film, but clearly these constraints made things difficult”.
“We also had to find a lone cornfield that would be harvested at exactly the right moment for us to shoot before and after the harvest, but also before the rains were due to come. The film could not have been made without the generosity of an amazing local farmer, Harvinder Singh,” said Sandhya Suri.
“I had always wanted to be a writer or journalist but disliked — and was not good at — any sort of analysis or theory, so I decided to study pure maths and languages for my degree, with the idea to do something practical at the postgraduate level. Following university, I took a year off teaching English in Japan. It was there that I stumbled upon the Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival, which opened my eyes to how creative and form-bending documentary film could be. I bought myself a camera and made a short film. The next year I found myself making documentaries at the National Film and Television School in England,” sandhya said on her journey.