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Sundance's Film Forward Heads to India, Announces Mumbai Mantra Screenwriters Lab

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by Sophia Savage
March 12, 2012 3:53 PM
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Sundance's Film Forward: Advancing Cultural Dialogue is traveling to India March 15-22--hitting Mumbai, New Delhi, Aligarh, Noida and Gurgaon. Film Forward will bring their selection of ten films (listed below) to India, in collaboration with Mumbai Mantra Media Ltd, The American Center in New Delhi, Taj Enlighten Film Society and Whistling Woods Collaborate. Film Forward will host Q & As with the filmmakers of "Senna" (pictured) and "Somewhere Between" as well as workshops at venues throughout the five cities. It's all free to university students and the general public.

Sundance's Keri Putnam says:,"It is exciting to expand our relationships with the vibrant community in India as we mount this multi faceted cinematic program,..we hope to continue building cultural bridges which encourage discourse, the creation of new ideas and a meaningful cross-cultural dialogue.”

Here's more info on Film Forward. Additional tour dates are listed below. Film Forward 2012 will hit China, Imperial Valley, Morocco, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Oklahoma and Paris by years end.

Sundance is also teaming with Mumbai Mantra for their first-ever joint screenwriters lab. Eight feature film projects from Indian screenwriters have been chosen. Submissions were received from around the world and evaluated for inclusion. The selected projects are listed below with additional information.

Upcoming FILM FORWARD Tour Dates
China: March 14-22
India: March 15-22
Imperial Valley: May 1-4
Morocco: May 6-13
Colombia: July 9-14
Puerto Rico: August 22-26
Oklahoma: September 6-8
UNESCO, Paris: September dates tbd

2012 FILM FORWARD Films

Another Earth / USA (Director: Mike Cahill) — After the discovery of a duplicate Earth, tragedy strikes, and the lives of these strangers become irrevocably intertwined.  When one of them is presented with the opportunity to travel to the other Earth and embrace an alternative reality, which new life will they choose?  Cast: Brit Marling (also a co-writer), William Mapother, Matthew-Lee Erlbach
 
Beginners / USA  (Director: Mike Mills) — BEGINNERS imaginatively explores the hilarity, confusion, and surprises of love through the evolving consciousness of Oliver, whose life is rocked by two announcements from his elderly father: that he has terminal cancer, and that he has a young male lover. Cast: Ewan McGregor, Christopher Plummer, Melanie Laurent
 
Bran Nue Dae / Australia (Director: Rachel Perkins) — This musical, set in the Summer of 1969, tells the story of a young man who flees the Catholic mission where he is studying to join the priesthood.  He journeys across Australia on a life-changing journey that ultimately leads him back home.  Cast: Rocky McKenzie, Jessica Mauboy, Geoffrey Rush
 
Buck / USA (Director: Cindy Meehl) — BUCK profiles famous “horse whisperer” Buck Brannaman, tracing his life from an abusive childhood to his career as a world-renowned horse handler and trainer. By teaching people to communicate with horses through instinct, not punishment, he frees the spirit of the horse and its human comrade.

Grbavica / Bosnia and Herzegovina (Director: Jasmila Zbanic) — GRBAVICA explores the painful long-term effects of war on a Bosnian woman and her daughter as they struggle to make a life in post-war Sarajevo.  Removing the veil from the ultimate taboo of the war in the Balkans, the use of rape as a weapon, the film reveals that the post-war denial of this war crime is as devastating as the crime itself.  Cast: Mirjana Karanovic, Luna Mijovic, Leon Lucev.

The Green Wave / Germany (Director: Ali Samadi Ahadi) — Ali Samadi Ahadi’s timely documentary reveals how Iranian civilians reacted to the 2009 Iranian Presidential elections.  Using actual footage of the protests as well as interviews with Iranian bloggers and political leaders, Ahadi paints a compelling portrait of a nation on the brink of revolution.

On the Ice / USA (Director: Andrew Okpeaha MacLean) — Two Alaskan teenagers deal with guilt and a web of deceit after accidentally killing a friend in a fight that got out of control. With their future in the balance, the two boys are forced to explore the limits of friendship and honor. Cast: Frank Irelan, Adamina Kerr, John Miller

Senna / UK (Director: Asif Kapadia) —The story of Ayrton Senna, perhaps the greatest race car driver who ever lived, is an epic tale that literally twists at every turn. Facing titanic struggles, he conquered Formula One and became a global icon who was idolized in his home country.

Somewhere Between / USA (Director: Linda Goldstein Knowlton) – Somewhere Between tells the story of four teenaged girls adjusting to life in the US after their Chinese birth parents are forced to part with them due to China’s “One-Child” policy.  The film provides an intimate look into the lives of teenage adoptees as they come to terms with their unique identities.

Unfinished Spaces (Directors: Benjamin Murray, Alysa Nahmias)— Fidel Castro invites 3 exiled architects back to Cuba to finish work on art school they started 40 years ago.  Featuring intimate footage of Fidel Castro, the documentary offers a remarkable view into Cuba’s past, present, and future.


The Mumbai Mantra | Sundance Institute Screenwriters Lab

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)

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.

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).

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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