Schirkoa: In Lies We Trust Schirkoa: In Lies We Trust

In 2016, Indian director Ishan Shukla made a strong first impression with his short film Schirkoa, which screened at dozens of film festivals, picking up top honors at LA Shorts Fest and SIGGRAPH Asia.

Now, the director is back with a feature adaptation of that film titled Schirkoa: In Lies We Trust, which got a new trailer over the weekend as it made its world premiere at the Rotterdam Film Festival.

The Schirkoa: In Lies We Trust synopsis reads:

Rumors about a mythical free land sow havoc in an ultra-regulated society where citizens wear paper bags on their heads to dissolve their differences. In this stylish sci-fi animation, a well-oiled system with echoes of George Orwell’s 1984 starts crumbling when whispers of a land where freedom reigns begin to spread. The hero, a fresh council member in love with a free-spirited girl, finds himself involved in a complicated net of incidents that open his eyes to a new reality.

In Lies We Trust and its short film predecessor stand out as fantastic examples of filmmakers using game engines to create impactful animated works. Shukla’s feature was created entirely inside Unreal Engine. We spoke with the filmmaker about his process back in 2017 after the breakout success of his debut short.

Speaking with Screen Daily in November of last year, Shukla explained how his work has developed since, saying:

I have been developing a distinctive animation style for this film for years. The idea is to seamlessly fuse the intricacy of realistic cgi with the timeless charm of hand-drawn animation, as it is where my heart lies. The result is akin to viewing a meticulously detailed painting brought to life on the cinematic canvas.

Schirkoa: In Lies We Trust is an India-France co-production between Shukla’s Red Cigarette Media animation studio and Paris-based Dissidenz Films. It’s co-produced by German outfit Rapid Eye Movies in association with Civic Studios and Cofinova 18.


Written and directed by: Ishan Shukla

With the artistic collaboration of Bich-Quan Tran

Original score: Sneha Khanwalkar

Sound editing and sound design: Nicolas Titeux

Designs: Ishan Shukla, Yaning Feng

Lies’ clothes are designed by: Antonio Grimaldi

Storyboard: Shahab Serwaty

Cinematography, FX, Lighting: Ishan Shukla

Editing and Compositing: Ishan Shukla

3D Animation Supervisor: Piyush Mittal

Head of MoCap: Jean-François Szlapka

Sound Mixing: Florent Fournier-Sicre, Nicolas Titeux

Voice Cast: Golshifteh Farahani, Asia Argento, SoKo, King Khan, Denzil Smith, John Sutton

and introducing Tibu Fortes and Shahbaz Sarwar

Voice guest stars: Lav Diaz, Gaspar Noe, Karan Johar, Shekhar Kapur, Anurak Kashyap, Piyush Mishra

Producers: Bich-Quan Tran and Ishan Shukla

Co-producers: Stephan Holl, Samir Sarkar

Executive Producer: Anushka Shah