Saturday, December 24, 2011

From Film India Worldwide’s latest December issue …

The latest issue of Film India Worldwide highlights the 16th International Film festival of India held in Thiruvananthapuram over December 9 to 16. What follows below is one of the articles in this special year-end issue of Film India Worldwide.

As we enter 2012 we urge you to consider subscribing to Film India Worldwide. This quarterly magazine brings you the latest news and happenings in the Indian film scene, both in India and abroad. The magazine lists recent and under production films made in India or films that connect with India. It also covers Indian films that have been selected in film festivals all over the world. The cost is Rs 400 for four issues, starting with the next issue that comes out in February.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Venice screenwriters lab
by Sharat Kataria

Six days in Venice. All paid for. All for writing a script. Things looked swell when Leena Khobragade (Manager, NFDC) called to say that my script, 'Dum Laga Ke' (working title, The Weighting Game) was selected for the Screenwriters Lab organized by NFDC in co-operation with Binger’s Script Lab, Amsterdam. Plans were made to catch George Clooney, Monica Belluci, Matt Damon and many more with their films that were to screen at the Venice film festival. But Martin Roberts (Artistic Director, Binger Filmlab) and Olivia Stewart (Script Advisor, Binger Filmlab) had other plans for us.

It turned out to be a high-intensity close-knit workshop regulated by various mentors. The packed schedule started with an interesting ice-breaker where each of the six participants introduced themselves vis-à-vis their scripts. It was wonderful how we got to know one another instantly through our work. From psychological thrillers to romantic comedies to semi-autobiographical narratives, we were a mixed bag, indeed. It was refreshing to share completely different styles and stories.

One-on-one sessions with individual mentors followed next.

My first session was with Urmi Juvekar

(Writer of Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! and I Am). I had earlier met her at the airport, travelling Mumbai to Venice. We had time to kill before boarding. When I asked her what she thought of my script, hoping that with that, I could put my hours in Venice to better use, she refused to comment. Nor was she amused. Later, it was her no-nonsense attitude that I started truly appreciating. The footnotes she meticulously scribbled on every page took its toll on me initially. She questioned every emotion till it was as clear on paper as it was in my head. Over the next two days, over coffee, we agreed to disagree on many screenplay issues. Before I moved to my next mentor, Urmi left me with interesting pointers on how to choose my words carefully and follow the emotional graph of characters with consistency.

My next session was both an eye opener and a confidence booster. Bianca Taal (Industry advisor, Binger Filmlab), first briefed us on how to pitch scripts to prospective studios and producers. Then a game followed, when we got ten minutes each to hard-sell ourselves and our scripts. It felt like a speed dating exercise.

After our first mock pitch, we met again to discuss the project in detail. Unlike pitches back in Mumbai, Bianca was warm and attentive. No instant messages on her ipad, no signs of boredom on the horizon. This of course was only a precurser to the real pitch during the Film Bazaar in Goa during IFFI.

The last session, slightly rushed, was the one we looked forward to the most. It was with Massimo Gaudioso, co-writer of the highly acclaimed Gomorra, Primo Amore and Benvenuti al sud, among others. We exchanged notes on just about everything - from the art of writing classic comedies to the craft in penning their remakes. We connected most on our love for comedies and creating simple moments of joy in a screenplay. I was happy that he appreciated the finer nuances of my script in spite of my half-baked narration.

All in all, it was a very hectic workshop, morning to evening without a break. We had less time and a lot to discuss. The good part of the workshop was that I know more about my story and characters now. The sad part is that the script still needs working on …

Kataria works as a screenwriter/filmmaker in Mumbai. He has written the scripts for films like Bheja Fry 1 and 2, Fruit and Nut, Hum Tum Shabana and Phillum City. His directorial venture 10ml Love, an adaptation of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream will release in 2012.

Friday, December 23, 2011

PSBT Celebrating A Decade of Broadcasting


Now is the time to subscribe to Film India Worldwide

As we enter 2012 we urge you to consider subscribing to Film India Worldwide. This quarterly magazine brings you the latest news and happenings in the Indian film scene, both in India and abroad. The magazine lists recent and under production films made in India or films that connect with India. It also covers Indian films that have been selected in film festivals all over the world. The cost is Rs 400 for four issues, starting with the next issue that comes out in February.

The latest issue of Film India Worldwide highlights the 16th International Film festival of India held in Thiruvananthapuram over December 9 to 16. What follows below is one of the articles in this special year-end issue of Film India Worldwide.


PSBT Celebrating A Decade of Broadcasting

The past decade has witnessed the growth of a unique non-governmental organisation in the field of documentary filmmaking, one that holds ‘public service’ as its motivating talisman. During this period, it has already commissioned and supported 480 films created by 350 independent filmmakers. In doing so, PSBT (Public Service Broadcasting Trust) has rendered yeoman service to the cause of socially and culturally relevant entertainment, sorely needed at a time when space and funds for it continue to shrink.

Public broadcasting in India existed much before PSBT came into being, but what the organisation has successfully contributed is a nuanced approach towards creating accurate, impartial, good quality content. By encouraging independent filmmakers to focus on a host of socio-cultural issues that are not addressed adequately by mainstream media, PSBT has, in the words of its Managing Trustee, Rajiv Mehrotra, attempted to “create and sustain an independent, participatory, pluralistic and democratic space in the non-print media”.

That PSBT’s efforts have been invaluable in the creation of such a space in India is evident from the films it produces year after year, with an extensive breadth and range of concerns. Freedom, diversity, democracy, gender, sexuality, ecology, urbanisation, globalisation and so on – all topical concerns in the dynamic reality of today’s India – have informed the choice of theme and context in PSBT’s films. In dealing with these issues, a sensitive, empathetic perspective prevails, honed in part by the mentoring PSBT provides.

Creating meaningful and thought-provoking films, though not its sole activity, forms a major part of PSBT’s function. Once or twice every year, filmmakers are invited to submit proposals in keeping with a ‘commissioning brief’ that articulates an immediate or pressing concern. Proposals received are circulated among PSBT’s trustees and filmmakers who make it to the short list and are asked to provide a more comprehensive proposal, including ‘pitching’ the idea directly to the trustees.

Once the film is commissioned, PSBT acts not only as a funding agency but also as a mentor. Feedback is provided at every stage, and peers are invited to evaluate rough cuts, contributing professional guidance. During this process, PSBT remains committed to the independence of the filmmakers. While offering suggestions, it ensures the film remains the filmmaker’s articulation and responsibility, no mean achievement as it strives to negotiate the space between commercial television on the one hand and state managed television on the other.

‘Open Frame’, which has become synonymous with PSBT, is the series title of all the films it produces, as well as being the name of its annual festival and forum. Over the years, the festival has evolved into a dynamic hotspot for new ideas, impassioned discussions, and workshops that impart skills crucial to the craft of filmmaking. Open Frame is supported by the Goethe Institute, Movies that Matter Foundation, UNESCO, British Council, Prasar Bharati, INPUT (International Public Television), India Habitat Centre and India International Centre.

PSBT films travel across the country and internationally, with one out of every ten films winning an award. In addition, every PSBT-produced film is assured broadcast on Doordarshan, through which it potentially reaches six million viewers around the country. In this sense, PSBT has been able to utilise the vast potential of the state broadcaster, using its phenomenal reach in the interest of disseminating well-made, meaningful content.

Rajiv Mehrotra sees this partnership, between the state-run broadcaster and independent filmmakers, as being imperative at a time when there is an omnipresent nexus between business, advertising and mainstream media, and also because of the neglect public broadcasting has suffered. “Public television fulfils its role and justifies the use of public money only when it delivers quality content that meets the real, felt needs for information and entertainment,” he says. “Where public money funds public television, as in India, it becomes a greater imperative to create an independent, autonomous structure that reassures audiences of the credibility of their information.”

If we wish for a vibrant democracy that allows for a multitude of voices to sing their individual songs, where minorities are adequately represented, and where the marginalised can still hope for equal participation in the life of the nation, the work of organisations like PSBT needs to be facilitated as well as felicitated.


Swati Chopra is a writer and editor. Her most recent book is Women Awakened: Stories of Contemporary Spirituality in India (HarperCollins, 2011) <>

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Film India Worldwide salutes the 16th International Film Festival of Kerala.

The special issue of Film India Worldwide, with its cover story on the 16th International Film Festival of Kerala, is now ready.

This issue highlights the India-related films being screened at the 2011 Kerala film festival which was held December 9 to 16 in Trivandrum. In addition, this issue also lists Indian films screened at other leading festivals in the last quarter of 2011. It then covers close to 70 films in different genres (debut, art-house, films made outside of India that relate to India, Bollywood films, and films from the Subcontinent - Bangladesh, Pakistan, Burma) that are new and/or in the final stages of production. The issue has articles as well on the latest news and happenings in the Indian film scene, both in India and abroad.

We give below one of the articles in this special year-end issue of Film India Worldwide.


India Welcomes WIFT

By Shweta Chawla

WIFT India has become the 45th chapter to join the international platform of Women in Film & Television. Petrina D’Rozario is its Founder President

India through Women In Film & Television Association (WIFT) will, for the first time, be profiling the work force of women employed in various areas of film and television and other screen-based media. With that, its centralised database will help filmmakers connect with each other.

The WIFT India Chapter, as part of the WIFT International network, is committed to support the work of women filmmakers worldwide. It will do so by increasing their presence at international film festivals and creating opportunities for screening films globally. WIFT will be a not-for-profit membership organisation dedicated to provide a dynamic global platform to facilitate the exchange of ideas, create opportunities and recognise the achievements of women in film, television and other screen-based media.

Founder/President of WIFT India, Petrina D’Rozario, was determined to form a WIFT chapter in India after she had witnessed the work that WIFT did on a global platform through networking, learning opportunities, scholarships, mentorships, internships, job opportunities, presence at international film festivals, as well as helping women who aspire to work in the film and TV industry.

With the support of Uma da Cunha, Dimple Verma, Riddhi Wallia and an Advisory Board comprising Anupama Chopra (Journalist, Film Critic), Ashvini Yarde (Head of Programming, Colors,

GEC), Ashni Parekh (Entertainment Lawyer), Jeroo Mulla (HOD, Social Media, Sophia Polytech College), Kiran Rao (Producer, Director), Paromita Vohra (Documentary Director, Writer), Sooni Taraporevala (Screenplay Writer, Director/Producer), Vandana Malik (Executive Director, Network 18) and Madhusree Dutta (National award-winning Documentary Director), WIFT India has become the 45th chapter to join the international platform of Women in Film & Television.

“Having been part of the WIFT New Zealand chapter, I have experienced the importance of a support system that helps newcomers to the film industry. This platform already existed but we needed to become part of that global support system. I approached the chairperson to set up an India chapter. I believe that WIFT is a gateway to global networking opportunities and interacting with leading professionals from the industry through activities like workshops, seminars, screenings and exchange programmes," says Petrina D’Rozario, Producer.

Recently, the short film Green Bangles, written and directed by Archana Shinde, was submitted by WIFT Mumbai for the Showcase 2012 organised by WIFT International. It has been selected for screening across 44 chapters worldwide.

On a 10-member jury team of the Indian Panorama for the International Film Festival of India, this year, five were women. At the 13th Mumbai Film Festival, the competition section featured 14 films of first-time film directors and of these, six were by women. Last year, this festival had an all-women international jury. These facts are a true indication of the rapid growth in the number of women in film and television in India today, compared to only a decade ago.

Memberships open in March 2012

Students ` 500, Professionals Rs 1000 annually, Facebook WIFT MUMBAI


“Women are seen in increasing numbers contributing to the medium’s growth and creativity. With the India Women in Film & Television chapter, this work force will have a platform to establish and enhance its professional presence." - Uma da Cunha, Editor, Film India Worldwide

“I'm delighted to know that WIFT has a Mumbai chapter now! It's a brilliant initiative and one that has tremendous potential to make the multifarious, fertile and inventive female voice be heard out loud.” - Loveleen Tandan, Co-director, Slumdog Millionaire

“Mumbai’s emerging chapter can benefit from these platforms by bringing the work of women filmmakers from India to the forefront of our international programs. WIFTI members worldwide embrace this new addition to our WIFTI network at upcoming film festivals and international events.” - Kimberly Skryme, WIFTI Chairperson

“I am very happy to be a part of WIFT India, through which I hope we will be able to create a more level playing field for women in the world of film and television in India - a world which will certainly benefit from the greater participation and the perspective of women. Having always had fewer opportunities and limited exposure, through a community like WIFT, women can been couraged and supported to step out and follow their dreams. We hope to inspire young women to achieve their potential and build a strong network for them to grow and learn from, which in turn we hope will go a long way in resolving inequities and creating a more equal society.” - Kiran Rao, Producer/Director

“It is with the single objective of making this opportunity available to many more women, especially those living in the small towns and cities of our very vast country, that we have launched the WIFT chapter in India."- Vandana Malik, Executive Director, Network 18

“The number of women in the Hindi Film and Television Industry has increased greatly in the past decade. However, to my mind it's not nearly as large as it should be. If half were women, then we'd be talking! I think WIFT will help us reach that goal in a very big way."- Tanuja Chandra, Director

Shweta Chawla, a freelance journalist, is based in Mumbai

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Call for Entries

New York International Film Festival (NYIFF)  

The Longest  Running Independent Film Festival In NYC And LA.

Now Accepting Entries For Los Angeles, April 12th - 19th, 2012. 

Don't Miss The Early Bird Deadline. Lowest Submission Fees In Our 19 Year History! 

Dubbed by The Wall Street Journal as "THE INDEPENDENT ALTERNATIVE TO THE GRAND NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL," the NYIFF has been a major showcase for independent features, shorts, documentaries, music videos and animation in New York and Los Angeles since 1993.

The New York International Film Festival (NYIFF) in Los Angeles 2012 is now open and accepting entries (features, shorts, documentaries, music videos, animations, webisodes, TV pilots, screenplays, etc.) for our 2012 LA Festival. Festival dates: April 12th-19th, 2012. 

Festival screenings will take place exclusively at Raleigh Studios located at 5300 Melrose Ave., Hollywood, CA 90038. 

Please click on the NYIFF Submission Form link below. Please follow the instructions and mail or email your entry as the deadline is quickly approaching. The  Early Bird Deadline is December 21st, 2011. If you are mailing your submission, it must be POSTMARKED by December 21st, 2011 OR you can submit INSTANTLY online.

Please let us know by replying to this email if you plan to submit for the "EARLY BIRD DEADLINE," so that we know to look out for your materials. 


You can access the NYIFF Submission Form on NYIFF's Official website:

Direct Link on Site (to access submission form):


"A Novel Romance" (Steve Guttenberg, Shannon Elizabeth) film's international rights were acquired by New Film. All of this happened right after the picture premiered as the closing-night film of the NYIFF.|News|LatestNews