Payal Kapadia Wins Historic Grand Prix Award at Cannes Film Festival 2024

Payal Kapadia Wins Historic Grand Prix Award at Cannes Film Festival 2024

Indian filmmaker Payal Kapadia won the Grand Prix Award at Cannes 2024 for ‘All We Imagine As Light’, marking a historic moment for Indian cinema.

Payal Kapadia

Cannes Film Festival 2024: Exciting news from the world of cinema! Indian filmmaker Payal Kapadia has made history by winning the Grand Prix Award for her film ‘All We Imagine As Light’ at the 77th Cannes Film Festival. 

This is a monumental achievement, as it marks the first time an Indian filmmaker has received this prestigious award.

The Cannes Grand Prix is the second-highest honour at the festival, just below the Palme d’Or, which was awarded to American director Sean Baker for his film ‘Anora’.

According to a PTI report, Kapadia is the first female director from India and the first Indian film in 30 years to compete in the festival’s main competition. 

The last time an Indian film competed was in 1994 with Shaji N Karun’s ‘Swaham’.


A Heartwarming Reception

After its screening at the Cannes Film Festival, ‘All We Imagine As Light’ received an eight-minute standing ovation! International critics praised the film, calling it a potential winner.


Who is Payal Kapadia?

Meet Payal Kapadia, the 38-year-old filmmaker no stranger to the international stage. 

While ‘All We Imagine As Light’ is her feature directorial debut, she has previously received acclaim for her work. 

In 2021, her documentary ‘A Night of Knowing Nothing’ premiered at Cannes and won the Oeil d’Or (Golden Eye) award. 

Her short film ‘Afternoon Clouds’ was also showcased in the Cinefondation category, which supports emerging filmmakers.

Kapadia shared her excitement and gratitude in an interview with the media on April 17. 

“Being selected for the Cannes Competition is truly thrilling and humbling, especially considering how much I admire many directors selected in this section, both in the past and present. It is an immense honour to be showing my film among them,”

Payal Kapadia

From Protests to Prestigious Awards

Kapadia is an alumna of the Film & Television Institute of India (FTII)

She is also known for leading a significant protest against then-FTII Chairman Gajendra Chauhan in 2015. 

She stood firm in her beliefs despite facing disciplinary action, including a cut to her FTII grant.


An Emotional Acceptance Speech

In a heartfelt moment, Kapadia accepted the award from American actor Viola Davis

She thanked her leading ladies, Chhaya KadamDivya Prabha, and Kani Kusruti, and highlighted the importance of friendship and solidarity among women. 

“Thank you to the Cannes Film Festival for having our film here. Please do not wait 30 years to have another Indian film. This film is about friendship, about three very different women. Often, women are pitted against each other. This is how our society is designed, which is unfortunate. However, for me, friendship is a significant relationship because it can lead to greater solidarity, inclusivity, and empathy,”

Payal Kapadia

About the Film

‘All We Imagine As Light’ tells the story of Prabha, a nurse whose life is disrupted by an unexpected gift from her long-estranged husband. 

Her roommate, Anu, searches for a private spot in the city where she can be alone with her boyfriend. 

The two embark on a road trip to a beach town, where the mystical forest becomes a space for their dreams to manifest.

Kapadia explained in an interview with AFP on May 24 that many Indian filmmakers do not submit their work to international festivals.

 “The Indian industry is quite self-contained, so many filmmakers do not even feel the need to send their work to festivals. But it is difficult to find funds if you want to make a smaller film that’s not narrative-focused or does not work with the industry set-up, so the French system helped me a lot,” she said.

‘All We Imagine As Light’ is an Indo-French co-production between petit chaos (France) and Chalk and Cheese Films (India).



Payal Kapadia’s historic win at Cannes is a proud moment for Indian cinema. 

Her dedication, talent, and perseverance have brought her success and shone a spotlight on the potential of Indian filmmakers on the global stage. 

We cannot wait to see what she creates next!


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