Biswanath Rath showcases Kotpad handloom, unveils poster for Habaspuri documentary at Cannes 2024

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Filmmaker Biswanath Rath at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

Cannes/Bhubaneswar: Filmmaker Biswanath Rath has made history at the 77th Cannes Film Festival by showcasing Odisha’s lesser-known handloom traditions. On his first visit to this prestigious event, Rath launched the posters of his upcoming feature documentary, “Habaspuri Weaving: The Second and Last Death???” This documentary highlights the unique and nearly extinct Habaspuri Handloom tradition from the Kalahandi district of Odisha.

Rath’s new documentary follows the success of his previous work, “Kotpad Weaving: The Story of a Race Against Time,” and underscores his commitment to celebrating and preserving Odisha’s rich artisan heritage. This project, which featured in the final 12 documentary projects at last year’s NFDC Film Bazaar in Goa, is supported by the NFDC Film Bazaar Documentary Co-Production Market 2023. Rath is producing and creatively supervising the documentary under his banner BnR Films, with direction by Mayur Mahapatra. The research team includes Rath, textile designer Anupriya Mridha, US-based textile enthusiast Corinn Flaherty, Mahapatra, Siddhant Swaroop, and Debasish Pratihari.

The poster for the feature documentary, “Habaspuri Weaving: The Second and Last Death???”, was launched at Cannes.

For the first time in the history of Cannes, Rath showcased the Kotpad Handloom by wearing a Kotpad Kurta, a gift from the Kotpad weavers, honouring his documentary work on this traditional craft.

Reflecting on his Cannes experience, Rath said, “Attending Festival de Cannes was a truly great and memorable experience. It was fulfilling to promote our culture and tradition on such a significant international platform. Although Sambalpuri handloom has been showcased before, this is the first time Kotpad Handloom has been presented at Cannes. This is my tribute to everyone involved in the Kotpad handloom ecosystem.”

He added: “The poster launch of ‘Habaspuri Weaving’ was a special moment for our team. This documentary, a spiritual successor to ‘Kotpad Weaving,’ explores the Habaspuri Handloom tradition, the challenges it faces, and potential solutions for its revival and growth.”

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