Tuesday 21 May 2024

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A tribute to Goan by a Goan wins award at London Film Fest


Shai Heredia & Shumona Deol

Shai Heredia, a Goan by origin, along with Shumona Deol, another young Indian filmmaker, won this year’s Best Short Film Award at the 59th BFI London Film Festival last week for their short film ‘An Old Dog’s Diary.’

Incidentally, the film is a lyrical film portrait of Francis Newton Souza, another Goan, who was the first post-independence Indian artist to achieve high recognition in the West.

The young Indian filmmaker girls produced the short film by getting inspired with drawings, personal writings, letters and possessions of F N Souza, one of the key Indian artists of the 20th-century.

The award was presented by Shezad Dawood and Daisy Jacobs at its high profile Awards ceremony, at Banqueting House, Whitehall, held on 17 October.

The award was received by Chantal and Dev Pinto of the Xandev Foundation on behalf of directors Shai Heredia and Shumona Goel.

Daisy Jacob, jury president said: “An Old Dog’s Diary’ is as poetic and soulful as its subject. It offers a fresh and original way of documenting the life of an artist. It looks beautiful, sounds beautiful, but, more than that, it tells us about the beauty of the human spirit.”


Jury president Daisy Jacobs is an Academy Award® nominee, whose ‘The Bigger Picture’ featured in last year’s Festival and won the BAFTA for Best Short Animated Film.

Her fellow jurors were the multi-media conceptual artist and filmmaker Shezad Dawood, short film producer and senior film programme manager at British Council Will Massa, director Tom Green, whose Monsters: Dark Continent marked his feature debut at last year’s Festival and British visual artist, filmmaker and Turner Prize nominee Runa Islam.

The citation from the jury read as: “This year saw the inaugural presentation of the Best Short Film Award which recognises short form works with a unique cinematic voice and confident handling of chosen theme and content.”


F N SOUZA (12-4-1924 TO 28-3-2002)

Born in village of Saligao in Goa, F N Souza lost his father when he was three months old.

When he survived an attack of smallpox, which left him scarred, his grateful mother named him Francis after the patron saint of Goa, St Francis Xavier.

His mother was a seamstress and one of Souza's better-known paintings depicts a sewing machine.

He attended St. Xavier's College in Mumbai), but was expelled for drawing graffiti in a toilet. He claimed he was only correcting the original graffiti because it was so bad, but the priests didn't accept that.

Souza studied at the Sir J. J. School of Art in Bombay, but was expelled in 1945 because of his support for the Quit India Movement.

Souza joined the Communist Party of India in 1947. 

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