The Cleveland International Film Festival promotes artistically and culturally significant film arts through education and exhibition to enrich the life of the community.
In 2003 at the 27th CIFF we launched our Someone to Watch Award series. The purpose of this program is to showcase the work of mid-career filmmakers who we believe are rising stars in international filmmaking. Over the years we have celebrated filmmakers whose talent has been embraced at movie theaters across the country and around the world. This year is no different.
Rima Das is a self-taught filmmaker, who was born and raised in Chaygaon, a small village in Northeast India. When she was growing up, her father was the head teacher of a girls’ high school, and her mother ran a local bookstore and printing press. As a child, Rima was adventurous and creative, spending her days climbing trees and exploring nature. As reflections of her own experiences, her films, VILLAGE ROCKSTARS (2017) and BULBUL CAN SING (2018), depict young girls growing up in rural India with similar rebellious natures to her own.
As a young woman, Rima went on to graduate with honors from Cotton College Guwahati and received her Master’s in Sociology from Pune University. In addition to writing and directing, she now manages the Mumbai-based production company, Flying River Films, which supports local and independent filmmakers in the region. VILLAGE ROCKSTARS, her second feature film, premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2017 and won numerous awards on the festival circuit, including an India Gold and Best Film on Gender Equality at the Mumbai Film Festival, as well as Best Feature Film at the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles.
Her most recent film, BULBUL CAN SING, also won an India Gold at the Mumbai Film Festival in 2018 and has received numerous nominations. An accomplished independent filmmaker, Rima has won several national and international awards and nominations for her work. In 2018 GQ India named Rima one of the 50 Most Influential Young Indians.
Previous Recipients of the CIFF's Someone to Watch Award are:
2014 – PJ Raval, Ché Sandoval, Ryan White
2013 – Nic Balthazar, Kristy Guevara-Flanagan, Tom Gustafson and Cory Krueckeberg, Martin Lund
2011 – Dave Boyle, Ed Gass-Donnelly, Lisa Gossels
2010 – Emily Abt, Jesper Ganslandt
2009 – Ramin Bahrani, Gerardo Naranjo
2008 – Brillante Mendoza, Helen Hood Scheer
2007 – Matt Bissonnette
2006 – Ann Marie Fleming, Hiner Saleem
2005 – Ronit Elkabetz, Catherine Gund, Khyentse Norbu, Hans Weingartner
2004 – Josef Fares, Gaylene Preston, Pen-ek Ratanaruang
2003 – Alexei Balabanov, Susanne Bier, Agust Gudmundsson