Chandrasekhar Reddy’s acclaimed documentary ‘Fireflies in the Abyss’ wins top award

Chandrasekhar Reddy’s acclaimed documentary ‘Fireflies in the Abyss’ wins top award 

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Drishyam Films to release the docu about kids working in Coal Mines in North East on July 1

Chandrasekhar Reddy’s internationally acclaimed docu-feature Fireflies in the Abyss won the award for the best Long Documentary at the International Documentary and Short Film Festival of Kerala (IDSFFK) which concluded on Tuesday and is also selected in London Indian Film Festival, 2016.

The film won the best documentary award in the category of docus of 40 mins and above length category at IDSFFK and will be screened as part of Indian and South Asian films selected at the LIFF. 

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Sharing his joy Reddy says, “IDSFFK has become an important destination for documentaries, and sharing the film with the discerning audience in Kerala was special, but the film winning the top award is the cherry on top.”

The film produced under the banner of Mayabazaar and distributed by Drishyam Films will have a Pan-India release across major metro cities on July 1.

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The Festival run of the film so far:

The film had its world premiere at Busan International Film Festival, 2015 and India premier at Mumbai International Film Festival, 2016 where it won the Golden Conch award for Best Documentary Feature film and the Best Cinematography in the National Competition category. The film was also part of the Market section of the Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival.

It was the only docu-feature from India selected at the prestigious Hot Docs, Canadian International Documentary Festival held early this year.

The 88-minute feature that captures the dream of an 11-year-old boy who fights his way out of life in the rat-hole coal mines, to put himself in school stars Nishant Rai, Raj Rai and Suraj Subba in central characters.


The ‘rat-hole’ mines in the Jaintia Hills of NorthEast India, are hostile pits where men and boys risk their lives everyday to scratch coal out of hard rock. Burrowing into narrow tunnels, they are armed with nothing more than a pickaxe and a torch.

Each of them comes to the coalpit for different reasons. But once there, all of them are looking for a chance to breakout. Some are able to escape, most can’t. Even with the odds stacked against him, Suraj, an 11-year old boy, grapples his wayout of this abyss to eventually put himself in school.

The film follows Suraj and several other miners whose lives intertwine with his, to reveal lives under extraordinary circumstances and the brutal choices they are forced to resolve at every turn of their lives

About the Director:

Chandrasekhar Reddy is an independent producer/director, having extensive experience in a variety of documentary formats –factual, developmental and environmental. Previous credits include films for National Geographic Asia, Discovery Asia, United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Ministry of Tourism GoI, and BBC/OU, UK. His short ‘Coalboy’ was part of the “Why Poverty’ series. ‘Fireflies in the Abyss’, is his debut feature length documentary.