Dance-films are liquid. They flow between the categories of ‘dance’ and ‘film’. The camera reveals new aspects of the body, rhythm and movement to dancers. On the other hand, dance expands the meaning of ‘performance’ in film. The tensions in the hyphenation of the two have resulted in a new language capable of complex articulations.

'Manifest’ is the only dance-film festival in South Asia. Created by AuroApaar-an artist-run, non-profit arts centre in rural South India, this pioneering event aims to catalyse the explosion of the dance-film genre in South Asia and intensify trans-national artistic dialogue.

Structure : 3 day offline event. Screenings will be followed by audience Q&A and interactions with artists. There will be seminars on screen dance and other related topics.

The entries will be curated and viewing restricted to those who have registered for the event.

Where: The main venue is the Alliance Francaise de Pondicherry in the seaside tourist hotspot Pondicherry.

What : Dance-films excluding recordings of performance.

A list of some of the featured Films and Artists from our 2022 and 2023 editions:

Leonardo Martinelli - 'Neon Phantom' (Golden Leopard winner at Locarno 2021)
Holly Wilder - 'Morning'
Jacob Jonas Company - 'Circle'
Samantha Shay - 'Mother Melancholia' - Winner of the 'INSPIRING ART' award
Fu Le - 'Urban Genesis' - Winner of the 'AUDIENCE CONNECT' award

Bernard Brown and Jingqiu Guan - 'Weight of Sugar'
Andrea Boll - 'Downriver'
Neo Justyne Li - 'Come Rain or Shine'
Douglas Rosenberg - 'Song of Songs'
Nicola Hepp - 'Songs of the Underworld'
Marine Chesnais - 'Living on the Threshold'
Kimmo Leed - 'When the Night Falls'
Martina Faux Marimbo - 'The Invisible Inheritance'

While recognising that art-work cannot be assigned ‘points’, Manifest wants to provide recognition to independent art-work and a few stand-out and inspiring films will receive mention by a Jury.

The festival accepts – Feature Length Dance-Films (40 min and over); Medium Length Dance-Films (between 21 and 40 minutes); Short Length Dance-Films (up to 20 mins); Mobile Phone Dance-Films (up to 20 minutes); Student Dance-Films (up to 20 mins); AR/VR Dance-Films (upto 20 minutes)

Please read the Rules and Regulations carefully.

Recordings of dance performances unless used as a cinematic narrative device will not be considered for screening. If you have any doubts about this please write to us at

All genres of films/video, as long as they are largely based on the relationship between the body movement and the tools of cinema as a medium for story-telling.

Once selected all submissions have to be made downloadable.

Student applicants should apply with proof of current enrolment along with a valid student ID.

Submission fees are non-refundable.

Applicants must have all rights and permissions to present the work. AuroApaar, Manifest and individuals associated with these organisations and this event are not responsible for any copyright infringement in the works submitted.

Submission to the festival does not confirm selection in any of the categories or screening of the film.

The ongoing pandemic might compel shifts in the final date. It is also possible that the festival could be completely online or a hybrid model. Filmmakers of selected films agree to screen their films online for restricted viewership and restricted time on a platform chosen by the festival.

IMPORTANT : Technical Requirements: File Extension: .mov or .mp4; Codec: H.264 or Prores; Resolution: Maximum 2K or 1920×1080 (HD); Note: the Data Rate at time of conversion should ideally be a minimum of 5 mbps. The files should not be excessively large - for example a 20 minute film should ideally be no more than 2gb. If there are any queries regarding technical requirements please write to

If the film has speech or text in song or any other form in a language other than English, filmmakers are requested to upload versions with burnt in English subtitles. Please note the subtitles should not be sent as separate files or as caption tracks. The subtitles should be visible as part of the film image upon playing the film copy uploaded or linked to your FilmFreeway account.

Please do not send hard copies of films (DVD or other media) or hard copies of other documents.

The festival does not pay any screening fees.

The festival does not cover travel or other expenses for attending the festival.

The filmmakers of selected films, agree to participate in a live online question and answer session at a date and time mutually discussed and set in advance.

Once selected the films cannot be withdrawn. The festival reserves the right to show a film once it is selected and the submitter is notified.

Submitters authorize the organizers of Auro Apaar And Manifest to store copies of their submissions in their archives, for festival and event screenings for non-commercial purposes and use clips/stills for promotional purposes. The filmmakers will be notified in advance for any potential screenings other than this initial event.

Auro Apaar and Manifest Dance-Film Festival and individuals associated with these organizations are not responsible for any loss or theft resulting in piracy in the process of transfer. Auro Apaar and Manifest Dance-Film Festival affirm that submitted works will not be open to any third party access.

Only For Selected Films: The filmmakers will be required to Email to Photo of Director; Photo of Choreographer; 4 Production Stills; 4 Film Stills; Poster; Director’s Biography/Filmography; Choreographer’s Biography/Filmography. Any additional written or visual material that may aid the understanding of the work or the artistic process is welcome.

By submitting the film the filmmaker/s or their representative/s agree to the Rules and Regulations mentioned above.

Overall Rating
  • Ilana Goldman

    I regret that I was unable to attend the festival, but I was honored to have my film "Discarded" included in the line up. Great communication and festival!

    November 2023
  • Amazing experience, wonderful networking, and beautiful people. Overall a very enriching experience. Looking forward to more such experiences.

    August 2023
    Response from festival:

    Thank you Mihika. It was a pleasure to have you here and participate so actively in the festival. Hope to see you again soon!

  • Meeting and getting to know the directors of the festival and the artists community who surround them in the city of Pondicherry is a once in a lifetime experience, the festival is special, interesting, diverse and high quality, I highly recommend it. Thank you for choosing my movie.

    August 2023
    Response from festival:

    Thank you Naya! It was a pleasure to have you here and get to know you. It was our privilege to show your film, and to host your workshop and performance. Thank you for coming and sharing your work.

  • Wilma Casal

    It was a great pleasure for us to be able to present Brave Steps in the south of India, so far from its "home". Thank you very much!

    August 2023
    Response from festival:

    Thanks Wilma. You film is universal in its appeal! It was great to have it here. Best wishes from Pondy !

  • Marta Renzi

    So pleased that my feature film HER MAGNUM OPUS was included in the festival. I wish Pondicherry weren't so far away from Nyack, New York. But from a distance, it seemed that all went well. Keep Manifest-ing!

    August 2023
    Response from festival:

    Thank you Marta! And thank you for sharing your film. Hope to have you here some time soon!