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8 Feature Film Projects Selected For Mumbai Mantra I Sundance Institute Screenwriters Lab- 2012


Mumbai, India — Mumbai Mantra, the media and entertainment division of the Mahindra Group, collaborated with Sundance Institute for the inaugural Mumbai Mantra | Sundance Institute Screenwriters Lab 2012.  Eight feature film projects were selected through a rigorous evaluation process from screenplays submitted by Indian screenwriters from around the world.


These Screenwriting Fellows had the opportunity to work intensely on their feature film scripts with the support of Creative Advisors (established Screenwriters and Directors) in an environment that encouraged innovation and creative risk-taking. Through one-on-one story sessions with the Creative Advisors, the Screenwriting Fellows were engaged in an artistically demanding process that offered indispensable lessons in craft, a fresh perspective on their work and a platform which fully realized their material.


This year’s Screenwriting Fellows who went through the immersive five day workshop (March 11-15) at the Club Mahindra Resort were: 

  • 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).


The distinguished group of Creative Advisors, included Guillermo Arriaga (Amores Perros, Babel)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, Shall We Dance).

In a joint statement, Sundance Institute’s Founding Director, Feature Film Program, Michelle Satter and Associate Director Feature Film Program Int’l Alesia Weston said, We can't thank you enough for this magnificent experience of India. It was, for all a truly magical introduction to you country. Congratulations on pulling off this vision, this feat, which we know has taken so much hard work, long hours and tremendous dedication. You should be so proud and forever know it has had a profound impact on all who participated.’

They earlier said The Sundance Institute is excited to be working with Mumbai Mantra on the launch of our first collaborative Screenwriters Lab in India. This program reflects the Institute’s ongoing commitment to supporting a world community of independent artists through Labs, Festival programming, and year-round resources. We are extremely 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.”


Rohit Khattar, Chairman, Mumbai Mantra, said, “We are at an exciting storytelling stage in the history of Independent Cinema in India. With the help of our exceptional partners, Sundance Institute, we are keen to recognize, nurture and hone talent in India and across the world. We welcome to the lab the 11 remarkably talented ‘Creative Advisors.’ We congratulate the 10 Screenwriting Fellows selected for the first Mumbai Mantra | Sundance Institute Screenwriters Lab and look forward to their next films with great anticipation.”

Mumbai Mantra received over 500 applications. For the selection of the 8 projects for the Lab, the Selection Advisory Committee was comprised of eminent Indian screenwriters, directors, film critics and film academics who considered over 90 screenplays. After an intense selection process in consultation with the Sundance Institute, the final 8 projects were chosen. 


The committee included Zoya AkhtarIra BhaskarPubali ChaudhuriAnupama Chopra, Aniruddha Roy ChoudharyTigmanshu DhuliaK. HariharanFeroz KhanRam Madhvani, Ranjani MazumdarAnuradha ParikhAnjum Rajabali, Konkona Sen SharmaMeenakshi SheddeVinay ShuklaRohan SippySingeetam Srinivasa Rao and Anna M. M. Vetticad.


The Mumbai Mantra | Sundance Institute Screenwriters Lab is the first step in a 3 year creative and strategic partnership that includes a robust plan to help Indian filmmakers connect to ever-increasing global audiences. In addition to the annual Screenwriters Lab, the group has also established the Sundance Institute | Mahindra Global Filmmaking 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.