Acclaimed writer-director Reema Sengupta has done everything from music videos and commercials to interactive video installations but she's best known for her narrative-based films. Her last short film, Counterfeit Kunkoo (2018) about housing discrimination and marital rape toured 120 festivals, and won 40 awards. It was also the first Indian fiction short to be selected at Sundance in 16 years.
This year, her latest short film, Nocturnal Burger is returning to the Sundance Film Festival for its world premiere on January 21.
Nocturnal Burger is a 28-minute short film about a 13-year-old girl and a 30-year-old man who are brought to a police station in Mumbai in the middle of the night by two strangers. Amidst questionable motives and unreliable narrators, a frustrated female constable investigates what happened that night, and what could’ve happened.
The film's logline reads, "Somewhere between fantasy, trauma, paranoia, precaution, and the promise of a burger, a night gets catapulted into an investigation of child abuse at a dysfunctional police station in Mumbai."
The film is made by Catnip Productions also founded by Reema, starring Bebo Madiwal, Millo Sunka, Trupti Khamkar, Shrikant Mohan Yadav, Pushpendra Singh, Somnath Mondal, Vicky Shinde and Mukesh Pachode. It's produced by Reema, and Michael Y Chow and executive produced by Surekha Sengupta and Sue Turley.
Reema has always had strong social commentary stitched into her films since the very beginning like the satirical The Tigers: They're All Dead about the frighteningly low current tiger population in India or Counterfeit Kunkoo depicting the vulnerability of a divorced woman in India trying to find a house and her struggles with financial independence. It also captures the idiosyncracies of misogyny that a middle-class woman faces in contemporary India.
Reema is a feminist and she has taken her mother's name as an expression of it. Her films tell the real stories of women and are as powerful as they are intimate. She's also working on her first feature film.
The trailer for Nocturnal Burger was released a month ago where a young girl is being questioned by a female constable about an incident that happened on her walk. It's an arresting glimpse into the depth and darkness of the upcoming short film.