Village Rockstars beat 27 other contenders, including Hichki, Padmaavat, Raazi, Love Sonia, Nude, Pihu and Padman.
A 12 member jury led by SV Rajendra Singh Babu, chairman of the Film Federation of India announced the film as the official contender for Oscars 2019 in the Best Foreign Language Film category.
Rima Das shared with Indian express that she got hints of the news previous night but, “Of course, I couldn’t say anything then but today has to be the happiest day of my life.”
Das who hails from a village called Kalardiya, in Assam’s Chaygaon said, “I just happened to be home — and what timing to receive this news. Right now I’m celebrating with my family, friends and the cast.”
Rima Das is a self-taught filmmaker and has shot Village Rockstars in a handheld camera. The film has been made in four years time and the cast surprisingly consists of every actor sourced from Kalardiya village.
The film has traveled to more than 70 film festivals around the world.
At the 65th National Film Awards earlier this year, the 87-minute drama also won four awards, for Best Feature, Best Editing, Best Location Sound Recordist and Best Child Artist.
The film is about a 10-year-old girl called Dhunu played by child actor Bhanita Das (who happens to be Rima Das’ niece), dreams of forming her own rock band and goes on a hunt for an electric guitar in the village.
Talking about the film Bhanita Das had shared with Indian Express that, “I did not have any storyboard forVillage Rockstars. Since there was no crew, I did not use any artificial light. I shot in the magic light — in the morning and afternoon when the sunlight is not harsh. All the actors, barring well-known Assamese actor Kulada Bhattyacharya, who appears as a wise man, are from my village. And they literally learned how to act under mukoliaakax (open skies).”
On the effort required to get the film noticed by the Academy members, Das said: “I have heard that we need a good promotion campaign. But I am a solo producer without any studio back-up, so it would be great if the governments of India and Assam understand my position and help.”
The film will get a nationwide release on the 28th of September.
The 91st Academy Awards is scheduled to be held on February 24, 2019.