Monday, July 21, 2014

Award winners of the 11th  Indian Film Festival Stuttgart, July 16 to 20, 2014

German Star of India for director Richie Mehta

 Siddharth has been awarded with the German Star of  India in the category feature film during Sunday night’s closing ceremony of the 11th Indian Film Festival Stuttgart at the Metropol Cinema.

 “The feature film ‚Siddharth‘ convinced the jury by it’s serious topic, the outstanding work of  the director Richie Mehta, the straight performance of the actors Rajesh Tailang and Tannishtha Chatterjee and it’s coherent dramaturgy. Mahendra, a chain-wallah who is fixing broken zippers on the street and his family are living from hand to mouth. Thus a relative’s  offer that Mahendra’s 12-year-old son could work at a far away factory for four weeks, comes right on cue. The boy hits the road and never returns. ‘Siddharth’ deals with an entirely helpless father’s desperate search for his son, he does not even have a photo of, that could help the police with their investigation.  Kidnapped children end up either in prostitution, organ trafficking or as crippled beggars working for the mafia. Mahendra starts a unavailing quest and has to learn, together with the audience, about all the things that could have happened to his child.  The film ends relentless and realistic. The boy cannot be found. Yet the family only can hold on and hope.”

The German Star of  India short film award goes to Tamaash – The Puppet
by the brothers Satyanshu und Devanshu Singh
In their award-winning film, the directors and brothers Satyanshu and Devanshu Singh tell the story of the Anzar, a young boy who needs to learn how to act independently and not to be jealous of the success of others. “We witness the world of children, where major issues are broached such as envy, honesty, diligence, friendship and family. Set in the mountains of Kashmir, the film succeeds in recounting regional culture and mysticism with universal relevance. Direction, acting, images and sound pursue a clear vision and strike the right note for the magical story.”, the jury explained their decision.

 Millions Can Walk byChristophSchaubandKamalMusalewasawardedwiththeGermanStarofIndiainthecategorydocumentary.

The documentary‚ Millions Can Walk by the Swiss and Swiss-Indian directors Christoph Schaub and Kamal Musale about the Jan Satyagraha, the march for justice, convinced the jury “by it’s subject, it’s range and it’s wealth of information as well as it’s diversity of images. It is an important film in documentary aesthetic pictures on the non-violent protest march in the glistening sunlight to 400 km far away Delhi by 100,000 landless farmers and natives to fight together for a honourable existence. The film is thematically touching, demonstrates up close the enormous logistical effort people overcame together and addresses vividly the individual destinies of it’s characters who are, very frankly, telling of their situations, motivations and feelings. Thus the film transports a mood representing the 100,000 Indians, who have been taking the strains of that march. It is a well-balanced film, both interesting and enlightening, on a contemporary not only Indian but global conflict.”

Director’s Vision Award - Lakshmi

The Director’s Vision Award goes to Lakshmi by Nagesh Kukunoor. This award is dedicated to directors who use their films to point out social or cultural grievance. “Kukunoor is awarded for bringing to the world an inspirational story of determination and courage on crimes against abuse of the girl child. The film focuses on the true story of one particular girl who leaves us with hope to fight for a better future.”, the jury explained.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Asian Cinema Fund 2014 Selection Announced
                             29 Projects Selected – 18 Asian Projects, 11 Korean Projects

The Asian Cinema Fund (ACF), a unified body of production support programs for the worldwide development and promotion of Asian films, announced its 2014 selection of 29 projects.

 A total of 565 projects, an approx. 30% increase from last year’s, were submitted across the three categories of ACF - Script Development Fund, Post-Production Fund, and Asian Network of Documentary (AND) Fund. Asian filmmakers from 52 countries, including Japan, Singapore, and Nepal, showed a great interest in ACF and submitted their projects. Participation from India (161 projects) and China (50 projects) continue to show an increase.

Two Indian documentaries have been selected to receive the Asian Network of Documentary (AND) Fund 2014 of the Busan International Film Festival: Khushboo Ranka and Vinay Shukla’s  Proposition for a Revolution.  The documentary will receive a grant of approx. USD 10,000.  It chronicles the journey of the Aam Aadmi Party from its formation in November 2012 to the Delhi state elections in December 2013.
Shirley Abraham’s Like Ants for Sugar.  This documentary will receive approx. USD 5,000. It has also been selected for the Sundance Documentary Edit and Story Lab to be held from July 6-14 it has also received a Development Grant under the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program. It chronicles the travelling tent cinemas of India.

 In script development category, Sri Lankan director Vimukthi Jayasundara’s Hair of the Dog that Bit You has been selected while Bangladeshi director Abu Shahed Emon’s Jalal’s Story will receive a grant in the post-production category.



Monday, July 7, 2014



Ashim Ahluwalia and Aamir Bashir’s scripts amongst NFDC Screenwriters’ Lab ‘14 finalists

~The Lab this year brings in a new partnership with Sarajevo Film Festival~

Mumbai, Monday, 07 July 2014: Film Bazaar- South Asia’s Global Film Market, NFDC’s (National Film Development Corporation Ltd) promotional arm, announced today the six finalists of the Screenwriters’ Lab 2014. In its eighth edition, the first stage of the Lab this year will be held in Sarajevo Film Festival (15 – 23 August 2014) culminating in the second stage prior to and during Film Bazaar (20- 24 November 2014). The market, like every year, will be held along side IFFI (International Film Festival), in Goa.


The six scripts / screenwriters selected are:

1.      The Boyfriend – Vidur Nauriyal and Ashim Ahluwalia

2.      Winter- Aamir Bashir

3.      Char Log Kya Kahenge – Hitesh Bhatia

4.      Flow  - Vandana Kohli

5.      All about Her  - Ruchi Joshi

6.      The Sunset Club - Karan Tejpal


Vidur Nauriyal and Ashim AhluwaliaThe Boyfriend will be the second feature from the team behind Miss Lovely, directed by Ashim Ahluwalia, which was screened at Un Certain Regard at Cannes Film Festival 2013. Ashim recently received the Hubert Bals Fund for script and project development (a Rotterdam festival initiative) for The Boyfriend. Miss Lovely was one of the five projects at Film Bazaar’s Co-production Market 2008 and Work-In-Progress Lab 2011.


Aamir BashirWinter, is the second feature to follow Harud (Autumn), Aamir’s debut film, which premiered in Toronto Film Festival 2010. As an actor he has also appeared in some of the highlights of the new independent cinema including A Wednesday, Peepli Live and Frozen  (TIFF 2007)


Hitesh Bhatia - Comes to the Lab with a wealth of experience in commercials and directing commercial TV shows and has moved his focus to feature films as he embarks on this new phase in his career with his project Char Log Kya Kahenge


Vandana Kohli  - Has scripted, directed and edited projects for clients including The National Geographic Channel, The History Channel, and India’s national broadcaster Doordarshan. Also a photographer and musician, Flow is Vandana’s first feature film project.


Ruchi Joshi - Followed her film studies in Melbourne Australia with work in music videos, commercials and independent feature films in Mumbai.  All about Her is her second project as a screenwriter.


Karan Tejpal - Has worked for several years in the film industry making commercials for global brands and working as assistant director on mainstream feature films including the mega-hit 3 Idiots, Lage Raho Munnabhai and Ferrari Ki Sawari.  His first feature will be The Sunset Club, adapted from Khushwant Singh’s novel of the same name.


The mentors of the Lab include noted experts from the industry, namely, Marten Rabarts, Senior Consultant – Training and Development, NFDC Labs; Olivia Stewart, Script Developer; Urmi Juvekar, Script Developer; Bianca Taal, International Industry Advisor.


NFDC’s Screenwriters’ Lab was introduced in the year 2007 with the Co-production Market in the inception year of Film Bazaar. The Lab gives an opportunity to six independent screenwriters to develop their skill under the guidance of a variety of industry experts from across the globe. Through one-on-one sessions with their mentors, the Screenwriter fellows are advised on tools and techniques required to improve their scripts and methods to pitch the same in the international domain. The previous editions of the Lab were held in Locarno, Venice and Toronto International Film Festivals.


The Screenwriters' Lab is specially re-designed to prepare screenwriters with original Indian stories for working with the international filmmaking market. 


The Screenwriters’ Lab 2013 finalists at Film Bazaar included: Rajesh Jala’s Chingari (The Spark), Nikhil Mahajan’s Dainik (Daily), Bela Negi’s Kaalapani (Dark Waters), Varun Grover’s Maa Bhagwatiya IIT Coaching Class (Mother Goddess Coaching Class), Shanker Raman’s My Brother the Salesman and I, and Ashish Aryan’s T Se Taj Mahal (T for Taj Mahal). While Rajesh Jala won the Incredible India award for Chingari and also got Cedomir Kolar’s France based ASAP Films board as the co-producer of the film, Nikhil Mahajan’s Blue Drop boarded Varun Grover’s Maa Bhagwatiya IIT Coaching Class as the producer of the film.


Please visit for more details about the Lab and its mentors.


About NFDC India

The National Film Development Corporation Ltd. (a Public Sector Enterprise under the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting) was formed by the Government of India with the primary objective of planning, promoting and organizing an integrated and efficient development of the Indian film industry. With more than 300 films in 21 Indian languages, many of which have earned wide acclaim and won national and international awards, NFDC's architecture aims towards creating domestic and global appreciation of the Cinemas of India. While its recent successes include films like The Lunchbox by Ritesh Batra, The Good Road by Gyan Correa, its catalogue boasts of classic titles like, Gandhi by Richard Attenborough, Salaam Bombay by Mira Nair, Train to Pakistan by Pamela Rooks, Duvidha by Mani Kaul, Ek Din Achanak by Mrinal Sen amongst many others.


In lieu of its mandate of  fostering excellence in cinema and promoting diversity of Indian culture, NFDC also conducts script development, need based workshops through NFDC Labs. Having commisioned 30 productions / co-productions in 17 Indian languages and introduced 19 new filmmakers, NFDC has restored 87 titles and digitised 31 titles under its brand Cinemas of India.


Held every year in November alongside IFFI in Goa, NFDC’s Film Bazaar- South Asia's Global Film Market in Goa, the biggest co-production and distribution market for the entire South Asian region, will be in its eigth edition scheduled from 20- 24 Nov 2014. With a modest beginning of 204 delegates from 18 countries in 2007, Film Bazaar saw 831 delegates from 33 participating countries in 2013, witnessing a growing attendance of mainstream and influential global film fraternity.


For more information, please contact:

Pallavi Deshmukh – NFDC l PR and Marketing

H: +91 97699 56801 l E:


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Call for Entries!

16th Mumbai Film Festival 2014, October 14 to 21

Organized by the Mumbai Academy of Moving Image (MAMI)

Eligible for submission - Films made after November 1, 2013 Deadline August 2.

Official Sections

International Competition for the First Feature Films of Directors - films made within one calendar year from the date of upcoming festival can participate and compete for cash awards amounting to USD 200,000.

Above the Cut - First feature films of directors which could not be accommodated in the International Competition for the First Films of Directors.

World Cinema - Award winning and critically acclaimed films screened in other film festivals are invited for this section.

India Gold 2014 is a competition section for Indian feature films. Films by Indian film makers made within one calendar year from the date of upcoming Festival can participate in this competition.

Only films which have not been screened in India will only be considered for this competition. Awards Golden Gateway trophy plus cash prize of Rupees 10 lakh for the Best Film and Silver Gateway trophy plus cash prize of Rupees 5 lakh for Second Best Film.

New Faces in Indian Cinema is a non-competitive section which will screen first and second feature films of the Indian directors and aims to provide a promotional platform to young emerging Indian filmmakers.

Film India Worldwide is part of the non-competitive section of the festival World Cinema segment. This section screens films by filmmakers of Indian origin and / or about the people of Indian origin living across the world, the films which showcase concerns of the community and the cultural cross roads they inhabit.

Feature length films produced after October 31st, 2013 are invited from all over the world to participate in this non-competitive format.

The Real Reel - Aims to showcase award winning and critically acclaimed feature length documentaries which carry strong opinions on issues concerning our social lives, human nature and many other topics. The documentaries produced after October 31st, 2013 are invited from all over the world to participate in this non-competitive format.

Dimensions Mumbai Short Film Competition - open to young Mumbaikars below the age of 25 years.

Harmony – Celebrate Age competition will showcase short fiction films, short documentaries, feature length fiction films and documentaries on the concerns, spice, fun and adventure of growing older. The Best Film will get a cash award of Rupees 50,000, the Second Prize winner will be awarded Rupees 25,000.

Submission of a film must be made on the official Festival entry form, duly completed and sent with a preview screener (DVD PAL – all region), synopsis and the complete cast and credits.

Email :,

For regulations and submission, visit

Tongues Of Fire! Indian Film Festivals Abroad

Sun June 22, 2014

The rise and shine of Indian film festivals abroad

Arriving in London, I found that there are two somewhat allied film festivals that were running almost back to back, both placing Indian cinema on a pedestal. One did so within an Asian canvas and the other was exclusively Indian.

‘Tongues of Fire’ presented its renamed The London Asian Film Festival (LAFF) over June 1 to 14. The festival, now in its 16th year, is spear-headed by its founder/director Dr Pushpinder Choudhary. LAFF opened with Nagesh Kukunoor’s Lakshmi, on a real-life case of child abuse and prostitution in Hyderabad with the director present. Kuku later conducted a Master Class. LAFF paid tribute to two great filmmakers who passed away recently. One was to Yash Chopra. His wife Pam Chopra attended and chaired a discussion on her legendary husband. The other was on the reputed filmmaker from Bengal, Rituparno Ghosh. Several recent films from India were screened.

caryAlmost a month later, London is paying host to a newer festival pertaining only to India. The London Indian Film Festival is the brainchild of Cary Rajinder Sawhney, a familiar figure in Indian film circles. He is part Indian, born and raised in the UK, but spends a lot of time in India boning up on his decades of research into Indian films. Like so many NRIs, he also spends time with his family in Delhi. An aside here: NRI is somehow a discomfiting acronym suggesting an exile from one’s country of birth – as is Bollywood , an umbrella term for all of Indian cinema, when it is just a segment, in numbers and genre, of India’s film production.

Cary’s background in cinema is rich and varied. He worked for the British Film Institute at one time, and then became a film programmer covering Indian and Asian cinema for the London International Film Festival, which he does to this day. He is also a filmmaker of shorts films, who is now embarking on his first feature. His debut work Looking For You (2009, 12 mins, a mystery romance on a reincarnation theme set in London),screened at 12 international festivals, his short film Khanna (2012) won the Future Filmmaker Award at Palm Springs Short Film Festival (2012) and Best Short Award at New York Indian Film Festival (2013).

Five years ago, Cary decided to launch his own London Indian Film Festival (LIFF). He runs this annual event ( held this year over July 10 to 17) as executive and programming director, assisted by writer/journalist Naman Ramachandan and a dedicated team, in which I am involved as well as founder-advisor.

The highlights of LIFF, 2014 are ‘A Conversation with Farhan Akhtar’ , ‘Master Class by cinematographer Santosh Sivan’ and a rare appearance by Nana Patekar, lead actor in the closing Marathi film, Hemalkasa, directed by Samruddhi Porey. The film presents an inspiring insight into the life of the revered Magsaysay Award winner, Baba Amte. LIFF will open with the Emma Thompson-produced UK film Sold, directed by Jeffrey Brown on child prostitution fed into Kolkata from Nepal.

Film festivals exclusive to Indian films began sporadically about fifteen to twenty years ago. They were regarded as a niche event catering to an ethnic audience’s nostalgia for a former homeland. Today, dozens of Indian film festivals dot the world, more emerging each year, besides the many Asian ones in which India plays a major role. They are attended by an increasingly mixed audience where Indians are often outnumbered. These festivals are valued by Indian filmmakers because they give a solus position to the cinema emanating from India, and also as prized venues which help them gain international goals.

In earlier years, press conferences offered the only opportunity for a festival audience to interface with the filmmaker. Today, the Indian film festivals provide larger platforms of Master classes held by Indian filmmakers, or Conversations by leading film personalities (last year at LIFF it was Irrfan Khan who regaled his audience as he talked to filmmaker Asif Kapadia (whose film The Warrior launched Irrfan on the international scene).

Now, films are often introduced by leading names in the film industry. The question/answer sessions after each film are a major draw. There are also days set aside for filmmakers to meet leading local film professionals who guide them on on structuring their production costs on a new film and also on making advance inroads into foreign markets. At times, authors can present their latest books on Indian cinema.

Courtesy: - India's first independent on-line daily which was launched on January 27, 2014.reproducing Uma da Cunha's column