Filmmaker Shaunak Sen is elated with his documentary All That Breathes getting one step closer to Oscars 2023 by getting shortlisted, and he is in no mood to rest. He says that it is time to get more rigorous with the campaigning process before the nominations.
Sen’s celebrated film All That Breathes, an internationally co-produced Hindi title, is vying for a spot in the top five of the best documentary feature category.
“It was a late night for us as the announcement was at pacific time. So, essentially it meant endlessly and relentlessly pressing the refresh button on the various websites and the Oscar page for all of us. And finally, when it happened, one of the producers called me and told me and after that there has a sudden eruption of messages and calls,” says Sen while talking about the Delhi-based documentary which follows two siblings, Mohammad Saud and Nadeem Shehzad, who have devoted their lives to rescue and treat injured birds, especially the Black Kites.
Sen celebrated the news by calling the brothers, and having a “meaningful conversation”. “The whole thing about getting the film out and campaigning for it has been rewarding as well as intense. So, this is the necessary wind in the sails, and we are utterly thrilled,” he adds.
Now, with the film entering the second phase of the Oscar race, the voting for nominations begins January 12. The nominations for the 95th Academy Awards will be announced on January 24, 2023, while the Oscars ceremony will be held on March 12, 2023. And Sen admits the next step is to make the campaigning process more intense.
“I have been on the road quite rigorously for the last three months with the campaign. And, it will start again, which is the next step. This is only the first of the hoops to jump. The big one is the nomination. That requires showing the films to all relevant parties. The campaign is a really systemised rigorous hard thing. I will be completely immersed in that for the next month,” says Sen.
The film also won the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Documentary at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, and was showcased at the 75th edition of Cannes Film Festival as well.
Opening up about his experience of campaigning, Sen reveals, “It was a completely steep learning curve. I had absolutely no idea about how campaigning works. I have been in touch with the people for Pan Nalin as well, where we exchange notes. It is a relentless treadmill of flights, hotels, screenings, and repeat”.
Along with All That Breathes, Guneet Monga’s The Elephant Whisperers, RRR and Pan Nalin’s Chhello Show also made their way to Oscar shortlist.
Sen, who has been clarifying that his film has made it to the shortlist not nomination, is happy about the shining India moment. “This is a glorious year for India,” he says with pride.