India’s Payal Kapadia is back at Cannes with her debut feature, “A Night of Knowing Nothing,” a Directors’ Fortnight selection.

A graduate of the Film and Television Institute of India, Kapadia’s 2017 short “Afternoon Clouds” premiered at Cannes as a Cinéfondation selection.

For “A Night of Knowing Nothing” Kapadia and the film’s cinematographer and editor Ranabir Das began shooting footage of their friends in 2017 on a small camera without a concrete plan and also gathered footage from their friends. In 2019, Kapadia showed the footage to the project’s French producers Petit Chaos, and they were excited by the images.

“This is when we started to really conceive the film,” Kapadia said. “The film is about the life of a university student who is estranged from her lover. The film uses this narrative to look at the life of university students in India.”

Once the filmmakers had a concrete plan, they began looking for financing. Funding came in from various sources including the IDFA Bertha fund, Sundance and CNC as well as some regional funds from France to use post production facilities. The project also participated in the Sheffield DocFest market and FIDLab.

“Being selected at Cannes with this film is quite a pleasant surprise as we had no such expectations,” said Kapadia. “The history of the Directors’ Fortnight section has always been so important to us as filmmakers so being selected here is really great for the film.”

Next up for Kapadia is fiction feature “All We Imagine as Light,” which participated in the Cinéfondation writing residency in 2019, and is now at the financing stage having received support from Ciclic and the Hubert Bals Fund.

“It is a story about two nurses who live and work in Mumbai,” said Kapadia. “The film is also about impossible love and through dreams and fantasies how these impossibilities can be overcome.”

Kapadia is also the the process of developing a short with her French producers.