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Eight film projects selected for Mumbai Mantra | Sundance Institute Screenwriters Lab 2012

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MUMBAI: Mumbai Mantra | Sundance Institute Screenwriters Lab 2012, a joint initiative between Mumbai Mantra, the media and entertainment division of the Mahindra Group, and Sundance Institute, has selected eight feature film projects of Indian screenwriters - chosen through an evaluation process of submissions from around the world, including the United States and France.

These Screenwriting Fellows will have the opportunity to work intensely on their feature film scripts with the support of Creative Advisors (established Screenwriters and Directors) in an environment that encourages innovation and creative risk-taking. Through one-on-one story sessions with the Creative Advisors, the Screenwriting Fellows will engage in an artistically demanding process that offers indispensable lessons in craft, a fresh perspective on their work and a platform to fully realize their material.

This year‘s Screenwriting Fellows who will go through an immersive five day workshop (March 11-16) at a Club Mahindra Resort are: 

  • Charudutt Acharya (Sonali Cable Centre)
  • Shonali Bose & Nilesh Maniyar (Margarita, With a Straw)
  • Vikas Chandra (Toothache)
  • Rajnesh Domalpalli (Avani)
  • Prashant Nair (Umrica)
  • Anusha Rizvi & Mahmood Farooqui (Opium)
  • Ajitpal Singh (Manjhi)
  • Kartik Singh (Public School)

The distinguished group of Creative Advisors, include Guillermo Arriaga (Amores Perros, 21 Grams), Marcos Bernstein (Central Station, Foreign Land), Michael Goldenberg (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Contact), Asif Kapadia (The Warrior, Senna), Shekhar Kapur (Bandit Queen, Elizabeth), Kasi Lemmons (Talk to Me, Eve‘s Bayou), Anjum Rajabali (Rajneeti, Aaraakshan), José Rivera (The Motorcycle Diaries, On the Road), Howard A. Rodman (Savage Grace, Joe Gould‘s Secret), Malia Scotch-Marmo (Hook, Once Around), and Audrey Wells (Under the Tuscan Sun, Guinevere).

Rohit Khattar, Chairman, Mumbai Mantra, said, "We are at an exciting storytelling stage in the history of Independent Cinema in India. With the help of our exceptional partners, Sundance Institute, we are keen to recognize, nurture and hone talent in India and across the world. We welcome to the lab the 11 remarkably talented ‘Creative Advisors.‘ We congratulate the 10 Screenwriting Fellows selected for the first Mumbai Mantra | Sundance Institute Screenwriters Lab and look forward to their next films with great anticipation."

Founding Director, Feature Film Program, Michelle Satter and Associate Director, Feature Film Program Int‘l, Alesia Weston said: "Sundance Institute is excited to work with Mumbai Mantra on the launch of this first Screenwriters Lab in India which reflects our ongoing commitment to supporting a world community of independent artists. We are extremely grateful to the accomplished screenwriters who are bringing their expertise and generosity to the Lab as Creative Advisors and the very talented group of Indian screenwriters who have been selected for the Lab."

The Mumbai Mantra | Sundance Institute Screenwriters Lab is the first step in a three-year creative and strategic partnership that includes a robust plan to help Indian filmmakers connect to ever-increasing global audiences. Mumbai Mantra received over 500 applications.

For the selection of the eight projects for the Lab, the Selection Advisory Committee comprising of eminent screenwriters, directors, film critics and film academics considered over 90 screenplays. After an intensive selection process in consultation with the Sundance Institute, the final eight projects were decided.

The committee included Zoya Akhtar, Ira Bhaskar, Pubali Chaudhuri, Anupama Chopra, Aniruddha Roy Choudhary, Tigmanshu Dhulia, K. Hariharan, Feroz Khan, Ram Madhvani, Ranjani Mazumdar, Anuradha Parikh, Anjum Rajabali, Konkona Sen Sharma, Meenakshi Shedde, Vinay Shukla, Rohan Sippy, Singeetam Srinivasa Rao and Anna M. M. Vetticad.

The partnership with Sundance Institute extends over a three-year period, and in addition to the annual Screenwriters Lab, the group has also instituted the Sundance Institute | Mahindra Global Film Making Award (GFA). The 2012 award winners were Etienne Kallos / Vrystaat (FREE STATE) (South Africa), Ariel Kleiman / Partisan (Australia), Dominga Sotomayor / Tarde Para Morir Joven (Late To Die Young) (Chile), and Shonali Bose / Margarita.

With a Straw. (India). Each of the four winning filmmakers received a cash award of $10,000, attended the Sundance Film Festival for targeted industry and creative meetings, and will receive year-round mentoring from Institute staff and creative advisors, participation in a Feature Film Program Lab, and ongoing creative and strategic support.

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