Gurvinder Singh is an Indian film director. He is best known for his Punjabi language films Anhe Ghore Da Daan, and Chauthi Koot (The Fourth Direction) which premiered at Venice and Cannes Film Festival respectively. Gurvinder is an alumnus of the prestigious Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune from where he studied film-making and graduated in 2001. He travelled extensively through Punjab between 2002 and 2006, living and traveling with folk itinerants, documenting folk ballads and oral narratives. It led to his first documentary ‘Pala’. He continued to make short experimental works and documenting arts/artists for the next few years. In 2005 he was invited by avant-garde Indian filmmaker Mani Kaul to be his teaching assistant for a master-class at FTII, which led to a close association with the filmmaker who became his mentor. He translated and published a book of conversations of Udayan Vajpeyi with Mani Kaul, titled ‘Uncloven Space’. His latest film is 'Infiltrator' starring Veer Rajwant Singh which is a 15 minute short story in an international omnibus called 'In the same garden'
|Residence||Bir, Himachal Pradesh, India|
His first short film Pala was a documentary based on one of the Punjabi folk singers and was sponsored by India Foundation for the Arts (IFA). He directed his first fiction feature in Punjabi, Anhe Ghore Da Daan (English: Alms for a Blind Horse) in 2011. The film, based on the novel of the same name by well-known Punjabi writer Gurdial Singh, dealt with the angst and distress of the marginalised lower caste in Punjab. The film premiered at the Venice Film Festival and screened at various festivals including Rotterdam, Busan, London, Munich, etc, besides releasing at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York. It won the ‘Special Jury Award’ at Abu Dhabi Film Festival, and the ‘Golden Peacock’ for Best Film at the International Film Festival of India, Goa, in 2012. It also won three National Awards in India, including National Film Award for Best Direction and National Film Award for Best Cinematography’ at the 59th National Film Awards presented on 3 May 2012.The award consisted of 'Golden Lotus Award (Swarna Kamal)', a certificate and a cash prize of ₹250,000 (US$3,600)/-. The jury presented the awards for,
...its haunting portrayal of the lives of people in a village as they battle with the reality of large scale industrial development. The director deploys an inventive storytelling form where sound, space and body operate distinctly to frame the experience of a fragile existence. Each face portrayed in the film carries the signs of persistent trauma. This is an aesthetic tour de force that confidently and successfully reinvents the contours of Indian experimental cinema.
His second feature Chauthi Koot (The Fourth Direction), an Indo-French co-production, premiered in ‘Un Certain Regard’ competition at the Cannes Film Festival in 2015. Based on two short stories by Punjabi writer Waryam Singh Sandhu, the film explores the fear, mistrust and paranoia in Punjab in the background of the militant unrest in the 1980s. The New York Times write in one review,
...a fictional tale that opens with two Hindu men running and closes with them walking together with several newfound Sikh confederates in a quietly moving assertion of Indian unity. In between, the country’s political and religious agonies largely shudder right below the surface, creating intense, palpable unease.
The film has travelled to various international festivals and won the ‘Grand Prix’ at the Belgrade Auteur Film Festival, the Singapore International Film Festival Silver Screen Award for Best Asian Feature Film. and the ‘Golden Gateway’ for Best Indian Film at the Mumbai Film Festival. It received the National Award for ‘Best Punjabi Film’ in 2015. The film recently had a commercial release in France and is due to release in India in August 2016.
He recently completed a travelogue film on the well-known Punjabi poet and friend Amarjit Chandan, titled Awaazan (Voices). The film follows the poet’s meetings with old friends and comrades through East Punjab and culminates in a meeting with John Berger in France. He was invited by a Turkish production house to direct a short film as part of an international omnibus of ten short films from ten countries. The film titled Ghuspaithia (Infiltrator) premiered in 2016 as part of the omnibus titled ‘In The Same Garden’.
Gurvinder is currently working on his third feature film Khanaur (Bitter Chestnut). It is set in Baragran, a remote village in Himachal and is mostly shot in the local Pahari dialect. It will be premiering around mid 2019. "The film captures the ebbs and flows of a Himalayan village in flux: the rural Himachali culture contrasted with the region’s emergence as a destination for paragliding."
|Year||Original Title||English Title||Language||Length||Notes|
Documentary of a Punjabi-folk balladeer
Clip on passage of time focusing on ambient sounds
|2004||A Winter Tale||A Winter Tale||-||-||Clip |
An account of 6 days spent by Singh at his maternal grandmother's place in Delhi
|2007||Legs Above my Feet||Legs Above my Feet||English & Hindi||40 minutes||Conversations with a Kathak dancer, Sushmita Ghosh|
|2008||An Untitled Film||An Untitled Film||-||-||Short film |
Interviews of FTII graduates
|2009||Kavalam||Kavalam||Malyalam & English||60 minutes||Documentary on Kavalam Narayana Panicker|
|2011||Anhe Ghore Da Daan||Alms for a Blind Horse||Punjabi||113 minutes||First feature film, Winner of the ‘Special Jury Award’ at Abu Dhabi Film Festival, the ‘Golden Peacock’ for Best Film at the International Film Festival of India, Goa, and three national awards|
|2015||Chauthi Koot||The Fourth Direction||Punjabi||115 minutes||Second feature film, Winner of the Singapore International Film Festival Silver Screen Award for Best Asian Feature Film|
|2016||Awaazan||Voices||Punjabi||45 minutes||travelogue film on Punjabi poet Amarjit Chandan|
|2016||Ghuspaithia||Infiltrator||Punjabi||45 minutes||Short film part of the omnibus titled ‘In The Same Garden’|
|2019||Khanaur||Bitter Chestnut||Pahari, Hindi & English||It will be premiering around mid 2019|
- 2011 - Best Direction for Anhe Ghore Da Daan
- 2011 - Best Feature Film in Punjabi for Anhe Ghore Da Daan; shared with NFDC (producer)
- 2015 - Best Feature Film in Punjabi for Chauthi Koot; shared with NFDC & Kartikeya Singh (producers)
- 2011- Special Jury Award for Anhe Ghore Da Daan, Abu Dhabi Film Festival
- 2012 - Golden Peacock for Best Film for Anhe Ghore Da Daan, International Film Festival of India
- 2012 - Best Film for Anhe Ghore Da Daan, Imagine India Film Festival, Madrid
- 2012 - Paris Project Award at the 10th Hong Kong – Asia Film Financing Forum for Chauthi Koot. Shared with Flowing Stories directed by Tsang Tsui-shan.
- 2015 - Golden Gateway for Chauthi Koot, MAMI Mumbai Film Festival
- 2015 - Grand Prix for Chauthi Koot, Belgrade Auteur Film Festival
- 2015 - Silver Screen Award for Best Asian Film for Chauthi Koot, Singapore International Film Festival
- "Punjabi film 'Chauthi Koot' goes to Cannes". Times of India. 16 April 2015. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
- "Gurvinder Singh". Retrieved 18 June 2012.
- "I wasn't expecting national award: Gurvinder Singh". Hindustan Times. New Delhi. IANS. 7 March 2012. Retrieved 18 June 2012.
- "59th National Film Awards for the Year 2011 Announced". Press Information Bureau (PIB), India. Retrieved 18 June 2012.
- "59th National Awards: Winners". New Delhi. NDTV. 7 March 2012. Retrieved 18 June 2012.
- "National Awards: Gurvinder Singh wins Best Director for 'Anhe Ghorey Da Daan'". IBN Live. New Delhi. 7 March 2012. Retrieved 18 June 2012.
- "59th National Film Awards for 2011 - Feature Films" (PDF). Directorate of Film Festivals. Retrieved 18 June 2012.
- Dargis, Manohla (18 May 2015). "From India, a Tale Shaped by a Director's Memories of an Assassination". ArtsBeat. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
- "The Fourth Direction wins Belgrade Festival of Auteur Film". Cineuropa - the best of european cinema. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
- Frater, Patrick (5 December 2015). "'Fourth Direction' Wins Top Prize at Singapore Festival". Variety. Penske Business Media, LLC. Retrieved 17 December 2015.
- "'Haraamkhor', 'Chauthi Koot' bag top honours at Mumbai film fest". The Indian Express. 6 November 2015. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
- "Your guess is as good as mine as to who dictated the (national) awards: Gurvinder Singh". The Indian Express. 29 May 2016. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
- https://www.filmcompanion.in/gurvinder-singh-interview-cafe-mani-kaul-khinaur/. Missing or empty
- said, Prajna Shastry (29 July 2013). "Swabhaav". Crazy Mind's Eye. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
- "Gurvinder Singh's film wins Hong Kong Fest award". Indian television.com. 23 March 2012. Retrieved 18 June 2012.
- ""Četvrti pravac" pobednik 21. Festivala autorskog filma | Festival autorskog filma". faf.rs. Retrieved 17 June 2016.