Shubhashish Bhutiani‘s Kush won the Satyajit Ray Foundation Short Film Competition at the recently concluded London Indian Film Festival. The director made the film inspired by a true story that his teacher told him, for his graduation project at New York’s School of Visual Arts.

The short film was shortlisted at the Academy Awards and has won over 20 awards across several international film festivals in various countries, including the Best Short Film at Venice International Film Festival in 2013. Kush was short-listed by the Academy for 10 live-action shorts that will advance in the Oscar race.

It has also won awards at the Film Lab Festival and the South Asian International Film Festival, among others. Kush’s win at Venice Film Festival only makes Shubhashish the fifth Indian director after Kedar Sharma, Satyajit Ray (twice) and Mrinal Sen to bring this prestigious Award to India. And only the fifth Indian film to get shortlisted at the Oscars.

The film, which has won a national award too, is based on a true story. Set against the backdrop of prime minister Indira Gandhi’s assassination on October 31, 1984 and the subsequent violence against Sikhs, it shows how In the immediate aftermath of the assassination, a teacher travels back from a field trip with a group of 10-year-old students, including Kush, the only Sikh in the class.