MAHE’s Yakshagana Documentary Reaches Semi-Finals at LA World Culture Film Festival 2024

Manipal, June 25th , 2024: A documentary on Yakshagana, a traditional art form from coastal Karnataka, has received notable international acclaim. Produced by the Centre for Intercultural Studies and Dialogue (CISD) at Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE), the film has been selected as a Semi-Finalist at the prestigious World Culture Film Festival 2024 in Los Angeles, USA. The festival will take place from July 27 to 28, 2024.

Yakshagana WCFF

This documentary is part of the CISD project “Discerning India: Living Cultures of Tulunadu.” It was chosen from a large pool of submissions from over 40 countries, showcasing its cultural significance and value. The film highlights the rich cultural heritage of Yakshagana, a vibrant traditional art form native to the coastal districts of Karnataka and Kasaragod district of Kerala, India.

The project was produced under the CISD initiative “Discerning India: Living Cultures of Tulunadu,” led by Manipal Academy of General Education. CISD, based at the Manipal Centre for European Studies, focuses on promoting intercultural dialogue and understanding. The award-winning documentary is part of a larger effort to create a repository of local cultural knowledge and educate people about the unique traditions of Tulunadu. So far, documentaries made under CISD have received 11 Official selections at different international film festivals.

Dr. HS Ballal, Pro Chancellor of Manipal Academy of Higher Education, expressed his pride in the achievement “This recognition at an international platform like the World Culture Film Festival is a testament to our commitment to preserving and promoting the rich cultural heritage of India. The documentary on Yakshagana not only showcases the beauty of this traditional art form but also highlights the dedication of our team at MAHE in bringing such stories to a global audience.”

Lt. Gen. (Dr.) M. D. Venkatesh (VSM), Vice Chancellor of Manipal Academy of Higher Education, added “We are immensely proud of the team behind this documentary. Their work reflects our mission to foster intercultural dialogue and understanding. The success of this documentary at international film festivals demonstrates the universal appeal of our cultural narratives and reinforces our dedication to educational excellence and cultural preservation. MAHE plays a pivotal role in celebrating and preserving the Tulu Nadu culture of undivided Dakshina Kannada, ensuring that this unique heritage is recognized and appreciated globally.”

The Yakshagana documentary was directed by Dr. Praveen Shetty and Mr. Nitesh Anchan from CISD, MAHE. It explores the multifaceted relevance of this traditional art form and its importance to the local culture. Previously, the documentary received the Jury Award at the Sixth International Short Film Festival on Cultural Tourism in Varanasi in December 2023 and the Best Scriptwriting Award from the Consortium for Educational Communication (CEC)-UGC, New Delhi, in April 2023.

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