Abinash Bikram Shah, winner of the 2022 Short Film Special Mention from the Jury © Amandine Goetz / FDC

Meet Abinash Bikram Shah, winner of the 2022 Short Film Special Mention from the Jury

In 2022, short film Lori forever marked the history of the Festival de Cannes in two ways. Not only was it the first Nepalese film to make the Official Selection, but it also won the Short Film Special Mention from the Jury – an accolade that is only very rarely awarded. Director Abinash Bikram Shah was so deeply moved by his first taste of Cannes, he had a single dream in mind: to return to the festival with his first feature film. And he has already started work on it… 

How did you react when you won your award at the Festival de Cannes?  

Coming from Nepal, where no other films have been selected for Cannes before, it was a completely unbelievable experience. Being selected to compete for the Short Film Palme d’or was itself pretty huge. It was an award in itself. But on top of that, when I actually received an award, I just couldn’t stop smiling. You can even see it in my pictures, I was smiling throughout. It was an unforgettable moment. 


What has your award brought you? / What did it change for you?  

This award ushered in two major changes in my life in particular, on top of many that cannot be counted. The first one is that as a creative person, you struggle with a lot of self-doubt. Receiving an award at Cannes gave me that validation, the assurance that maybe whatever I’m doing, I’m doing it right. The second one is that it also validated other people’s trust in me and my skills. They have faith in my vision and ideas, now more than before. And this applies not just to me. Everyone else in my team felt the same, as well.  


What are your best memories of Cannes?  

Everything. Yes, everything! Receiving an award when least expected. That has to be one. Celebrating that victory with my team is another. Meeting directors like the Dardenne brothers, whose films have influenced me so much as a filmmaker. Meeting fellow filmmakers, praising each other’s works and sharing our passion for cinema.  


Do you have new projects in the pipeline? 

Yes, I’m developing my debut feature-length project entitled ‘Elephants in the Fog’, which I’m planning to shoot at the beginning of next year. I’m almost done with the script, and we’re looking for actors and applying for funding as we speak. I’m hopeful about coming back to Cannes again with this film. 


The video interview :


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