Riding on the Moon Boat

How does a young girl deal with the changing social dynamics of her surroundings?

Project type: Fiction Feature
Project status: Pre-Production
Writer/Director/Producer: Triparna Banerjee
Producer: Sue-Ellen Chitunya
Creative Producer: Shivajee Chandrabhushan
Cinematographer: Riju Das
Cast: Adil Hussain
Cast: Anjali Patil
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An adolescent girl faces adversity and discrimination as her father is shunned by the majority of the village, but she perseveres with resilience and hope, to overcome these challenges and thrive.


In the quaint Eastern Indian village, Amina and her father Gaffur face the harsh reality of their circumstances. Struggling against drought and deprivation, they find themselves trapped in a cycle of adversity. Amina, a bright and curious student in Grade 8, nurtures dreams of space travel, longing for a world beyond their own. Her closest friend and confidante is Varsha, she is also her classmate at the village school. Gaffur lost his land to pay for his debts and now works as a tenant farmer on the land of the village chief. Gaffur’s deep affection for Mahesh, his ageing farming ox, is well-known in the village. His heart aches as he witnesses Mahesh’s frail body deteriorating, worsened by the dwindling grazing land and their inability to afford proper fodder. As summer worsens in a village steeped in superstition, the revered Priest presents a solution. All must join for a ritual sacrifice of goats, to invoke the Goddess to bring rain. Amina soon learns that unable to pay his debt Gaffur lost all his land. To run the household, she tries to find a job in the village. Amina suggests they should leave the village, but Gaffur disagrees, ‘Why leave the land of our ancestors, he asks. Despite the surmounting troubles, Amina doesn’t give up. Finally, does the family manage to ‘save’ their beloved bull? Or is it a tragic defeat of vulnerability at the altar of time and power? The film captures the realities of rural India and the daily grind of the people. The dreams of a young girl offer a ray of hope amidst the struggle, while the touching relationship between a man and an animal adds a poignant layer to the narrative.

Meet the Filmmakers

Triparna Banerjee – Writer/Director/Producer
Triparna Banerjee is a scriptwriter and independent filmmaker from India, committed to bringing stories from fringes to the fore that appeal across borders. Triparna’s foray into professional screenwriting began as a scriptwriter for the renowned children’s television series, Galli Galli Sim Sim (Sesame Street), produced by Miditech for Nickelodeon. She then made her mark as an Associate Producer for the critically acclaimed feature film Frozen (2009), which premiered at the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival and garnered international recognition with over 30 festival selections and 18 awards, including 2 National Awards in India.

Triparna has collaborated with independent filmmakers as well as established production houses and networks such as Miditech, Hotstar, Citoc Motion Pictures – CinePlay, Zee5, SVF Entertainment, and Baweja Studios. Her work has been acknowledged with selections at renowned film events, like L’atelier Cinéfondation at the Cannes Film Festival 2012, HAF at the Hong Kong Film Festival 2015, and Film Independent’s Global Media Makers LA residency Program 2019, by Film Independent and US State Departments Bureau of Education and Cultural affairs.

Her most recent work as a Writer and Impact producer, the documentary feature From the Shadows, has been awarded the prestigious Hatched grant by Chicken & Egg Pictures, USA. As a scriptwriter, Triparna is currently working on an Indo-American web series and two Indian feature films, while also developing her debut feature film as a director, titled ‘Riding on the Moon Boat,’ selected at the Asian Project Market in 2021 at Busan International Film Festival.

Sue-Ellen Chitunya – Producer
Lydia “Sue-Ellen” Chitunya is a Zimbabwean-American filmmaker. She is a Presidential Leadership Scholar who has gained recognition for her short films, earning membership in the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (AMPAS / OSCARS). She has been a recipient of the Roger and Chaz Ebert Foundation Fellowship award and has been selected for various artist development programs, including the WIF Emerging Producer Program, Film Independent Producing Lab, Berlinale Talents, and Rotterdam Lab. Her work has been supported by SFFILM, The Gotham, and Durban FilmMart.

Chitunya’s short films have been screened at festivals worldwide, including Rotterdam, BFI London, Tribeca, and Iris Prize. Her previous work experience includes marketing for Disney College Program, and programming for Zimbabwe, Atlanta and Slamdance Film Festivals. Additionally, she has worked as a post coordinator for Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Endgame (2019) and Black Panther (2018). She recently expanded her interests into television working as a Jr. Executive on both This is US (S5 &6) and Only Murders in the Building (S1&2). She recently produced the feature documentary For Tomorrow (2022), which is now available on Amazon Prime and the interactive rom-com Mr. Right (2022) available on mobile app stores worldwide.

Shivajee Chandrabhushan – Creative Producer
Shivajee Chandrabhushan is an award-winning filmmaker. He began his career as a Photographer and television producer. His first feature film Frozen (2007), won more than 20 International Awards and two National Awards – Best First Feature of a Director and Best Cinematography. It premiered at Toronto Int’l Film Festival (2007) and was later screened at Festivals like Rotterdam, Palm Springs, San Francisco, Busan and Hong Kong International Film Festival among many others.
Shivajee’s subsequent works garnered attention at prominent International film labs, including L’Atelier at Cannes Film Festival’s Cinefondation program, APM at Busan International Film Festival, and HAF at Hong Kong Film Mart. He also served on the International Jury at the Vladivostok International Film Festival in Russia in September 2010. A multifaceted artist, Shivajee excels in writing and directing feature films, documentaries, web films, and commercials. His creations have been showcased at major international film festivals such as Toronto, Busan, Cannes, and Rotterdam, among others.

Riju Das – Cinematographer
Riju Das graduated from the Film and Television Institute of India in Cinematography in 2013 and has since worked on various fiction and non-fiction films collaborating with some of the finest directors in Indian cinema.

His work on the latest documentary film All That Breathes has been awarded the prestigious American Society of Cinematographers Award for Best Cinematography in a Documentary Film at the 37TH Annual ASC Awards held in March 2023. He had also been awarded the Best Cinematography award for the same film at the Cinema Eye Honours Awards 2023 and the DOC NYC Film Festival 2023. The film also won the Best Documentary Feature Film at the Cannes Film Festival 2022 and the Sundance Film Festival 2022. All That Breathes also received a nomination for the ‘Best Documentary Feature’ at the recently concluded 95th Academy Awards 2023. Some of his previous works include cinematography in the film Aamis / Ravening an Assamese language fiction feature film directed by Mr. Bhaskar Hazarika which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival 2019.

Adil Hussain – Cast
Adil Hussain is a notable actor known for his role in the Oscar-nominated film Life of Pi and the International Emmy winner series Delhi Crimes. He has acted in multiple Indian films. His notable works are in The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Star Trek, and Hotel Salvation, which also earned him a National Award in India.

Anjali Patil – Cast
Anjali Patil is an actress known for multinational and multicultural projects. Anjali has received the National Award for Naa Bangaaru Thalli and the Presidential Award of Sri Lanka for best actress for With You Without You. Her film Newton was India’s official entry to the Oscars 2018.

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