'The Good Pitch' Documentary Program to Debut in India

The event, a partnership between BritDoc and the Sundance Institute, aims to bring select directors together with international NGOs and film funders to facilitate social change through cinema.

The inaugural Indian edition of "The Good Pitch" event will be hosted in Mumbai on Feb. 4, offering six selected documentary film projects an opportunity to forge partnerships with a variety of influential international organizations.

A partnership between BRITDOC Foundation, whose founding sponsor is the U.K.'s Channel 4, and the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program, Good Pitch has taken place internationally since 2004. Previous host cities include Taipei, Johannesburg, San Francisco, and New York, among others.

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The event connects documentary filmmakers with foundations, non-government organizations (NGOs), campaigners, philanthropists, policy makers, brands and media around leading social and environmental issues with an aim to forge collaborations.

“Most often, partnerships are forged to help create change with the film. That's what we look for, to help facilitate change,” says Indian Documentary Foundation chief executive Sophy Sivaraman. “In the past, 1,500 organizations have attended the event from different sectors, all bringing something unique to the table: expert knowledge, research and archives, membership networks and mailing lists, campaigning and lobbying expertise and access to policymakers as well as production and outreach funding. Together they make powerful allies.”

While previous international editions of Good Pitch have been named after the host city, “this is the first time it's getting a country name instead of a city name, considering that India seems like little countries with separate languages and cultures. So it's a satellite event called Good Pitch India,” explains Sivaraman.

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The six selected projects -- short-listed from 200 applications -- will be given a chance to pitch their films to an expert panel, which is being finalized. The panel will include international and national funders, NGOs, corporates and United Nations agencies. The program also includes two film workshops -- the first of which was conducted in October -- to help prepare the finalists to better pitch their projects.

The pitching sessions will be moderated by Indian filmmaker Kiran Rao (Mumbai Diaries), who is married to one of Bollywood's biggest stars, Aamir Khan.

Each project will be given seven minutes to pitch, including showcasing a three-minute trailer, which will then receive feedback from the panel and a select audience. The day will end with each project getting a potential road map and a clear outreach program.
Commercial aspects of a project will also come into play. “One should not try to experiment just for the sake of being different and waste a producer’s money,” says Rao, who recently backed the theatrical release of debut director Anand Gandhi's offbeat Ship of Theseus, after it won critical acclaim on the international festival circuit.

The selected projects are: Driving With Selvi directed by Elisa Paloschi ; Love Commandos directed by Miriam Lyons ; Fireflies in the Abyss directed by Chandrashekhar Reddy ; Border Within Border directed by Debanjan Sengupta and Subhadeep Ghosh; We The People directed by Soniya Kirpalani ; Rooting for Roona directed by Pavitra  Chalam.

Good Pitch India is organized by the Indian Documentary Foundation in association with the Motion Picture Academy of Kerala State (in south India) and Indian government body Films Division.