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Sundance Institute I Mahindra
Global Filmmaking Award

Indian filmmaker, 3 others win prestigious Sundance Institute | Mahindra Global Filmmaking Award


• Emerging artists from India, Australia, South Africa and Chile honored for their visionary projects

• Anand Mahindra presents award to Indian winner Shonali Bose

• Robert Redford thanks Anand Mahindra for joint global commitment to nurturing new storytellers and getting their voices out to the widest possible audiences


PARK CITY, UTAH — Sundance Institute and Mahindra today announced the winners of the prestigious 2012 Sundance Institute | Mahindra Global Filmmaking Award, in recognition and support of emerging independent filmmakers from around the world. The winning directors and projects are: Shonali Bose, Margarita. With A Straw from India; Ariel Kleiman, Partisanfrom Australia; Etienne Kallos, Vrystaat (Free State) from South Africa; and Dominga Sotomayor, Late To Die Young from Chile.


The awards were presented at a private ceremony at the Sundance Film Festival by Anand Mahindra, Vice Chairman & Managing Director, Mahindra Group; Rohit Khattar, Chairman, Mumbai Mantra, Michelle Satter, Director and Alesia Weston, Associate Director, Sundance Institute.


Anand Mahindra, Vice Chairman and Managing Director of the Mahindra Group, who presented the award to India’s Shonali Bose, said "Our core purpose is to use all our resources to drive positive change in the lives of our stakeholders and communities across the world - to enable them to Rise. The Global Filmmaking Award fits perfectly with this intent. We are delighted to assist the Sundance Institute in its mission of finding new voices in independent filmmaking from around the world."


"We are grateful to the Mahindra Group for building with us, this multifaceted program, which embraces our joint global commitment to nurturing new storytellers and getting their voices out to the widest possible audiences," said Sundance Institute President and Founder Robert Redford. "It is particularly exciting to join with Anand Mahindra and his Group to expand this collaboration by bringing Sundance Institute's renowned Screenwriters Lab program to India in March, to support one of the most extraordinary cultures on the globe," he added.


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 partners, Sundance Institute, we are keen to recognize, nurture and hone extraordinary talent in India and across the world. We congratulate the four incredible filmmakers who have won the awards this year, and look forward to their next films with great anticipation.”


The Indian award winner Shonali Bose was ecstatic on her win and said, “I am deeply honoured to be the first Indian film maker to receive this prestigious award. To get an award at Sundance is a dream come true! My film, Margarita. With a Straw is indeed a global film rooted in India, and this award will make a huge difference to its life.  This is a fantastic initiative taken by the Mahindra Group and Sundance Institute, and will be a wonderful opportunity for so many talented independent filmmakers in our country. It will help India shine on the stage of world class cinema."


For the selection of the Award for the Indian project, the Global Filmmaking Award Nomination Committee comprised of eminent screenwriters, directors, film critics and film academics. They went through over 20 screenplays and directorial samples of the candidates. After intense debate and deliberation and consultation with the Sundance Institute, Shonali Bose was chosen to receive the award. The Global Filmmaking Award Nomination Committee in India included: Shabana Azmi (Actor, Activist), Shyam Benegal (Filmmaker), Ira Bhaskar (Film Professor), Anupama Chopra (Film Critic), Gautam Ghose (Filmmaker), K. Hariharan (Film Academy Director), Shekhar Kapur (Filmmaker), Anjum Rajabali (Screenwriter, Film Professor) and Ramesh Sippy (Filmmaker).


Each of the four winning filmmakers will receive a cash award of $10,000, attendance at the Sundance Film Festival for targeted industry and creative meetings, year-round mentoring from Institute staff and creative advisors, participation in a Feature Film Program Lab, and ongoing creative and strategic support. This marks the first year that one of the four award recipients is an Indian filmmaker – a commitment to fulfill the vision of Mahindra Group and of Sundance Institute to champion a new generation of Indian filmmakers.


The Sundance Institute | Mahindra Global Filmmaking Award is part of a multifaceted collaboration that exemplifies a commitment to and support of world cinema by the Mahindra Group, one of the largest industrial conglomerates in India known throughout the world for its dedication to excellence and to social responsibility, and the nonprofit Sundance Institute, one of the world’s leading cultural organizations.


The partnership, which also includes the establishment of the Mumbai Mantra | Sundance Institute Screenwriters Lab in India, extends over a three-year period. The Lab will provide an annual opportunity for eight Indian screenwriters to develop their works under the guidance of accomplished international screenwriters and directors in an environment that encourages storytelling at the highest level. The first Mumbai Mantra | Sundance Institute Screenwriting Lab shall take place in March 2012 in India.


The Winners of the 2012 Sundance Institute | Mahindra Global Filmmaking Award are:


Shonali Bose / Margarita. With a Straw (India): 

She falls repeatedly in love, yearns to have sex and wants to be a Bollywood songwriter. Laila. A brilliant mind trapped in a disobedient body.

Shonali Bose has been an activist all her life. She received an MA in Political Science at Columbia University followed by an MFA in Directing from the UCLA School of Theater Film and Television. As a student at UCLA she received a number of awards: Ely Award for Best Documentary, Wasserman Award, Jack Sauter Award, Hollywood Radio and Television Society International Broadcasting Award, Motion Picture Association of America Award.

Bose’s first feature, Amu, based on the 1984 genocide against Sikhs, won two National Awards (Best Film, Best Director), the FIPRESCI Critics Award amongst ten international awards. The film was an official selection at the Berlin Film Festival, followed by Toronto and many others. The film was released theatrically in North America (2007) by Emerging Pictures and in India (2005) by Shringar. Bose converted the screenplay into a novel which was published by Penguin.

Bose co-wrote and co-produced the feature film Chittagong, directed by her husband Bedabrato Pain. The film is slated to release in 2012. She currently lives in Delhi.


Etienne Kallos / VRYSTAAT (FREE STATE) (South Africa):

Set during the annual corn harvest in the Free State, Vrystaat explores the rites of passage into manhood for a new generation as they navigate identity and sexuality within the fractured realm of post-Colonial Africa. Developed in conjunction with the Sundance Institute Screenwriters Lab and the Cannes Cinefondacion Residence.

Etienne Kallos is a Greek/South African filmmaker with an MFA in film directing from NYU. His work has screened at festivals worldwide, including Sundance, Cannes, Berlin, and Telluride. His film Eersgeborene was the first Afrikaans-language film to be awarded a Lion for Best Short Film at the 2009 Venice Film Festival. He recently developed Vrystaat at the Cannes Cinefondation Residence program in Paris


Ariel Kleiman / PARTISAN (Australia):

In an undisclosed commune cut-off from the outside world, a guarded criminal named Gregori controls a group of women and children who not only assist him on the farm but also carry out dangerous assassinations in the neighboring towns. His authority is undisputed until one child, Alexander, decides to quietly undermine his plans.

Ariel Kleiman last appeared at Sundance with his short film DEEPER THAN YESTERDAY, which received the Jury Prize in International Filmmaking. The year prior, his student film YOUNG LOVE received Honorable Mention in Short Filmmaking.



In an isolated community far from the city, three women face a forest fire that threatens their sense of belonging and their lives.

Dominga Sotomayor was born in Santiago de Chile in 1985. In 2007, after finishing her Direction studies at the Universidad Católica de Chile, she received a scholarship to complete a Masters in Film Direction at the ESCAC, Barcelona. She has taught film at Universidad de Chile and Universidad Católica, in Santiago.

She has recently finished her first feature film, DE JUEVES A DOMINGO (Thursday To Sunday), which was selected to participate in the Cannes Cinéfondation Résidence and supported by Hubert Bals Fund, Fondo de Fomento Audiovisual (Chile) and CORFO.

Dominga has also directed the short films CESSNA (2005), NOVIEMBRE [November] (2007), DEBAJO [Below] (2007), LA MONTAÑA [The Mountain] (2008) and VIDEOJUEGO [Videogame] (2009) which have taken part and received awards in different festivals.

TARDE PARA MORIR JOVEN is her second feature film. The project has been previously developed at the Binger Filmlab and the Jerusalem International Film Lab.


About Sundance Institute

Sundance Institute is a global nonprofit organization founded by Robert Redford in 1981. Through its artistic development programs for directors, screenwriters, producers, composers and playwrights, the Institute seeks to discover and support independent film and theatre artists from the United States and around the world, and to introduce audiences to their new work. The Institute promotes independent storytelling to inform, inspire, and unite diverse populations around the globe. Internationally recognized for its annual Sundance Film Festival, Sundance Institute has nurtured such projects as Born into Brothels, Trouble the Water, Son of Babylon, Amreeka, An Inconvenient Truth, Spring Awakening, I Am My Own Wife, Light in the Piazza and Angels in America. Join Sundance Institute on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.


About Mahindra Group

Mahindra embarked on its journey in 1945 by assembling the Willys Jeep in India and is now a US $14.4 billion Indian multinational. It employs over 1,44,000 people across the globe and enjoys a leadership position in utility vehicles, tractors and information technology, with a significant and growing presence in financial services, tourism, infrastructure development, trade logistics and, recently, the entertainment industry. 

Its media and entertainment company, Mumbai Mantra Media Ltd, presented Indian National Award-winning Best Feature Film, ‘Antaheen’ in 2009, and has recently co-produced ‘The Tempest’ directed by Julie Taymor . It is evaluating various opportunities in the media and entertainment space in India as well as internationally. www.mumbaimantra.com


The Mahindra Group has a long standing commitment to the arts and humanities. The Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Awards (META) were created to encourage both emerging and established theatre and celebrated its Sixth Anniversary in 2011. The Group’s encouragement and support to world music will be at its fore at the second annual Mahindra Blues Festival in Mumbai  in February 2012 – the largest festival of its kind in Asia, showcasing the best international Blues artists and providing a common platform for emerging Indian Blues bands.

Mr. Anand Mahindra, Vice Chairman & Managing Director of the Mahindra Group, recently gave an endowment of $10 million to the Humanities Centre at the Harvard University, his alma mater.

To encourage and support the ‘young and the unknown’ and to give back to the communities it operates in, has been the core of the Mahindra Group’s involvement in art and culture. www.mahindra.com.