Sundance Institute Reveals Finalists for Indian Screenwriting Workshop

Sundance Institute, Mumbai Mantra India Screenwriters Lab 2014 - H
Sundance/Mumbai Mantra

The program, a partnership with Mumbai-based conglomerate Mahindra Group, will offer eight aspiring writers an opportunity to develop their scripts with experienced Indian and Hollywood screenwriters.

The Sundance Institute and Mumbai Mantra -- the media and entertainment division of leading Indian conglomerate the Mahindra Group -- have announced eight finalists for the third annual Mumbai Mantra, Sundance Institute Screenwriters Lab. The workshop will be held from March 16-21 at the Club Mahindra Resort in Tungi, near Mumbai.

Mumbai Mantra said it received over 500 submissions for the lab, from applicants both from India and the overseas Indian diaspora.

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This year’s final eight selections are: Navneet Behal (Experiments with Truth); Ashvin Kumar (Noor); Bornila Chatterjee (Nuclear Hearts); Gaurav Madan (Shaktipur Crude); Deepanjali B Sarkar (Svadharma); Dylan Mohan Gray (The Last Day of Winter); Sanjay Talreja (The River Murder); and Neeraj Ghaywan and Varun Grover (Ud Jayega / Fly Away Solo).

The finalists will be mentored by a select panel of creative advisors featuring leading international and Indian screenwriters including: Naomi Foner (Running on Empty), Michael Handelman (Night At The Museum), Dante Harper (The Delicate Art of the Rifle), James V. Hart (Contact), Malia Scotch Marmo (Hook), Anjum Rajabali (Raajneeti), Elena Soarez (City of Men), Rose Troche (Go Fish) and Sooni Taraporevala (The Namesake).

“Sundance Institute and Mumbai Mantra share a commitment to supporting the growth of independent artists in India, and we look forward with excitement to our third Screenwriters Lab together,” Sundance Institute Feature Film Program founding director Michelle Satter and international director Paul Federbush said in a joint statement, adding, “We are 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.”

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“These are exciting storytelling times for independent cinema in India,” added Mumbai Mantra chairman Rohit Khattar. “With the help of Sundance Institute, we are keen to recognize, nurture and hone talent in India and across the world. We welcome to the lab the nine remarkably talented creative advisors.”

At the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, Sundance Institute and Mahindra announced four recipients of the Sundance Institute, Mahindra Global Filmmaking Award. Winners were awarded a cash prize of $10,000 and attendance at the festival for a specially curated five-day program of targeted creative and industry meetings, screenings and panels. The 2014 award winners are: Tobias Lindholm for A War (Denmark); Hong Khaou for Monsoon (Vietnam-U.K.); Ashlee Page for Archive (Australia); and Neeraj Ghaywan for Fly Away Solo (India).

In the past year, six former award winners wrapped production on their projects, including Ariel Kleiman’s Partisan (Australia), Shonali Bose’s Margarita With A Straw (India), Aly Muritiba’s The Man Who Killed My Beloved Dead (Brazil), Bogdan Mustata’s Wolf (Romania), Seng Tat Liew’s In What City Does It Live (Malaysia), and TaylaLavie’s Zero Motivation (Israel) – with three others poised to begin production this year.