Biswanath Rath

Cannes/Bhubaneswar – May 28, 2024 – Internationally acclaimed writer-director Biswanath Rath has once again brought the rich cultural heritage of Odisha to the global stage. Known for his award-winning short films, documentaries, and music videos, Rath made history at the 77th Cannes Film Festival by showcasing Odisha’s lesser-known handloom traditions.

BnR Films
On his first visit to this prestigious event, Biswanath Rath represented not only his film production company, BnR Films, but also Odisha’s vibrant art, culture, and film industry. On May 22, 2024, Rath launched the poster for his upcoming Odia-English feature documentary, “Habaspuri Weaving: The Second and Last Death???” This film explores the nearly extinct Habaspuri handloom tradition from the Kalahandi district and follows his previous acclaimed documentary, “Kotpad Weaving: The Story of a Race Against Time.”

Biswanath Rath
Biswanath Rath in Kotpad Handloom Dress

For the first time in Cannes’ history, Rath showcased Kotpad handloom by wearing a Kotpad kurta, a gift from the Kotpad weavers in appreciation of his work on their tradition. Rath expressed his delight at participating in Cannes, highlighting the festival’s renowned red-carpet events and high-end fashion. He added a twist by promoting sustainable fashion through Kotpad handloom, a significant tribute to the Kotpad handloom ecosystem.

The “Habaspuri Weaving” documentary has garnered support from the NFDC Film Bazaar Documentary Co-Production Market 2023. Produced and creatively supervised by Rath under BnR Films, the documentary is directed by Mayur Mahapatra. The research team includes Rath, textile designer Anupriya Mridha, US-based textile enthusiast Corinn Flaherty, Mayur Mahapatra, Siddhant Swaroop, and Debasish Pratihari.

Reflecting on his Cannes experience, Rath said, “This was my first experience at the Cannes Film Festival, and it was incredibly satisfying and memorable. Watching selected films, meeting filmmakers from around the world, and promoting our culture was truly enriching.”

The launch of the “Habaspuri Weaving” poster marked a special moment for Rath and his team. The documentary, a dream project since 2019, aims to explore the challenges and potential revival of the ancient Habaspuri handloom tradition. Rath expressed his gratitude to supporters and media friends for their encouragement.

Biswanath Rath, a post-graduate in Screenwriting and Film Direction from Jeypore (Koraput District, Odisha), recently became the first Odia filmmaker to win 500 international film festival accolades. His films have now received 511 awards globally, bringing pride to Odisha, India, and Asia. Co-founded with his wife Archana Rath, BnR Films is currently working on several projects, including fiction films, short films, music videos, and documentaries.

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