animal planet

And the Cannes Palm Dog goes to Nellie from ‘Paterson’

The bulldog was the frontrunner at this irreverent awards ceremony at the Cannes Film Festival.

The Cannes Film Festival has room for all kinds of movies about all kinds of humans – as well as our four-legged best friends. The Palm Dog Award has been recognising the “best performance by a canine (live or animated) or group of canines” since 2001. This year’s winner is Nellie, the bulldog from Paterson. Jim Jarmusch’s drama about a bus driver and a poet was screened in the Competition section, and Nellie was a clear frontrunner for the award. The bulldog, who died a few months ago, is the first posthumous recipient of the prize, which is a collar.

Set up by British journalist Toby Rose, the Palm Dog ceremony is one of the lighter sidebar events at the festival. The event inspires puns that would not be permitted for the rest of the Cannes coverage. The Telegraph calls the event cinema’s “Nouvelle Wag”, which an AFP report announcing the prize this year declared that “...the audience was sad to learn that Nellie was no longer around and a body double Bulldog was brought in to soothe the pup-arazzi.”

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A clip from ‘Paterson’.

Here is a look at five other woof-worthy winners from previous years.

Bruno in ‘Triplets of Bellville’ One of the most charming animated dogs out there, Bruno beats all the tail-wagging and overly cute anthropomorphised beasts from the Disney kennel. For one thing, he can barely lift his enormous belly off the ground. But he does dream, Bruno does.

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‘Triplets of Belleville’.

Zochor from ‘The Cave of the Yellow Dog’ It’s hard to decide who is cuter in this Mongolian movie from 2005 – the rosy-cheeked girl from a livestock rearing family or the stray dog that she adopts.

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‘The Cave of the Yellow Dog’.

The strays from ‘Mid Road Gang’ This Thai comedy proves that redevelopment projects in cities affect animals too. Forced off their turf by a mall, a group of stray dogs seeks a better life. The pooches attempt to cross a busy highway to the other side where a “dogtopia” awaits them.

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‘Mid Road Gang’.

Lucy in ‘Wendy and Lucy’ A woman attempts to make new beginnings in Alaska along with her dog, the mixed-breed and loyal Lucy. When Lucy gets lost, Wendy changes her course. You would too.

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‘Wendy and Lucy’.

The cast of ‘White God’ Kornel Mundcruzo’s acclaimed Hungarian movie also won the top prize in the Un Certain Regard section at Cannes in 2014. The allegorical tale follows a 13-year-old girl whose father turns out her beloved pet dog Hagen, which then becomes part of a feral pack that takes over the city. The sequence in which 200 trained dogs rampage through the empty streets of Budapest is easily one of the most scintillating uses ever of canines in cinema.

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‘White Dog.
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Changing the conversation around mental health in rural India

Insights that emerged from discussions around mental health at a village this World Mental Health Day.

Questioning is the art of learning. For an illness as debilitating as depression, asking the right questions is an important step in social acceptance and understanding. How do I open-up about my depression to my parents? Can meditation be counted as a treatment for depression? Should heartbreak be considered as a trigger for deep depression? These were some of the questions addressed by a panel consisting of the trustees and the founder of The Live Love Lough Foundation (TLLLF), a platform that seeks to champion the cause of mental health. The panel discussion was a part of an event organised by TLLLF to commemorate World Mental Health Day.

According to a National Mental Health Survey of India 2015-16, conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), common mental disorders including depression, anxiety disorders and substance use disorders affect nearly 10% of the population, with 1 in 20 people in India suffering from depression. The survey reported a huge treatment gap, a problem that is spread far and wide across urban and rural parts of the country.

On 10th of October, trustees of the foundation, Anna Chandy, Dr. Shyam Bhat and Nina Nair, along with its founder, Deepika Padukone, made a visit to a community health project centre in Devangere, Karnataka. The project, started by The Association of People with Disability (APD) in 2010, got a much-needed boost after partnering with TLLLF 2 years ago, helping them reach 819 people suffering from mental illnesses and spreading its program to 6 Taluks, making a difference at a larger scale.

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During the visit, the TLLLF team met patients and their families to gain insights into the program’s effectiveness and impact. Basavaraja, a beneficiary of the program, spoke about the issues he faced because of his illness. He shared how people used to call him mad and would threaten to beat him up. Other patients expressed their difficulty in getting access to medical aid for which they had to travel to the next biggest city, Shivmoga which is about 2 hours away from Davangere. A marked difference from when TLLLF joined the project two years ago was the level of openness and awareness present amongst the villagers. Individuals and families were more expressive about their issues and challenges leading to a more evolved and helpful conversation.

The process of de-stigmatizing mental illnesses in a community and providing treatment to those who are suffering requires a strong nexus of partners to make progress in a holistic manner. Initially, getting different stakeholders together was difficult because of the lack of awareness and resources in the field of mental healthcare. But the project found its footing once it established a network of support from NIMHANS doctors who treated the patients at health camps, Primary Healthcare Centre doctors and the ASHA workers. On their visit, the TLLLF team along with APD and the project partners discussed the impact that was made by the program. Were beneficiaries able to access the free psychiatric drugs? Did the program help in reducing the distance patients had to travel to get treatment? During these discussions, the TLLLF team observed that even amongst the partners, there was an increased sense of support and responsiveness towards mental health aid.

The next leg of the visit took the TLLLF team to the village of Bilichodu where they met a support group that included 15 patients and caregivers. Ujjala Padukone, Deepika Padukone’s mother, being a caregiver herself, was also present in the discussion to share her experiences with the group and encouraged others to share their stories and concerns about their family members. While the discussion revolved around the importance of opening up and seeking help, the team brought about a forward-looking attitude within the group by discussing future possibilities in employment and livelihood options available for the patients.

As the TLLLF team honoured World Mental Health day, 2017 by visiting families, engaging with support groups and reviewing the successes and the challenges in rural mental healthcare, they noticed how the conversation, that was once difficult to start, now had characteristics of support, openness and a positive outlook towards the future. To continue this momentum, the organisation charted out the next steps that will further enrich the dialogue surrounding mental health, in both urban and rural areas. The steps include increasing research on mental health, enhancing the role of social media to drive awareness and decrease stigma and expanding their current programs. To know more, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of The Live Love Laugh Foundation and not by the Scroll editorial team.