Renu Savant is a filmmaker and a writer. Selected as a BAFTA Breakthrough India 2021-22 honoree, she is currently based out of Ratnagiri and Mumbai, India. She is a graduate of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune. At FTII she won the Special Mention in the 59th National Film Awards, 2011 and Golden Lotus for Best Direction in the 62nd National Film Awards, 2014 for her short fiction films, Airawat and Aaranyak respectively. She also won the Special Jury Mention at the 4th International Documentary and Short film Festival of Kerala in 2011, the Pune International Film Festival 2012 award for Best Student at FTII, numerous festival selections, Best Short Film at the Third Eye Asian Film Festival 2015, and Best Short Film at the 3rd Student National Film Awards, 2015.
In 2014 she received the Early Career Fellowship from the School of Media and Cultural Studies, TISS, Mumbai. During this fellowship she lived and shot a film in the village of Mirya on the western coast of India. Using the twin strategies of long duration and frugal economy, she created a lyrical and steady exploration of this village and people. The film, called Many Months in Mirya, received the John Abraham National Award for Best Documentary in 2017. It had a premiere in the Artists Cinema section of the 2016-17 Kochi-Muziris Biennale. In 2020, Many Months in Mirya was invited for the Yokohama Triennale, Japan to show among the works of international artists for the duration of the Triennale.
In 2019 she completed ‘The Ebb Tide’, through a film fellowship given by The Public Service Broadcasting Trust, New Delhi, and Doordarshan, the national TV channel. This 60 mins documentary was selected in the 62nd Dok Leipzig Film Festival, Germany, in the Next Masters Competition, 2019. The film had many festival selections in India.
Since 2020, Renu has worked with the form of the video essay and has been experimenting with personal filmmaking using documentary images. She completed two such projects commissioned by the Asian Film Archive, Singapore (a collaborative project) and the Yokohama Triennale, Japan respectively. These two films were shown in an online screening of the National Museum of Asian Art, the Smithsonian Institution, USA in April 2021 among many other festival selections.
In 2020, she received the Arts Practice Grant from the India Foundation for the Art, Bangalore a well-known arts organization in India. Through this grant, she is currently working on a documentation film in the western coast of India. Renu is an MA in English Literature and has worked variously – as a feature writer with a national daily, a Lecturer of English language, and an assistant director before venturing into filmmaking. She has published essays on art and visual culture in journals, including Art India and in ‘Cinema City’, a book by Tulika Publications.
Renu is currently developing her first feature film. Her fiction work draws from her experiences as a woman filmmaker and writer, and as an ethnographic videographer, filmmaker and essayist.