6 Indian screenplay writers to participate at Locarno Film Festival

MUMBAI: In an endeavor to provide platform to young talents National Film Development Corporation Ltd. (NFDC), has organized the screenplay workshop Screenwriters’ Lab 2009 in association with Binger Filmlab of The Netherlands, Locarno Film Festival with the support of the Swiss Foreign Ministry’s Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), and the Entertainment Society of Goa.

After conducting a nationwide search and inviting applicants to submit their screenplay to NFDC, the selection committee selected 6 most promising screenplays out of 92 applications received from all over India. The 6 screenplays selected for Screenwriters’ Lab 2009 are: Gangoobai by Priya Krishnaswamy, The Prompter’s Son by Somen Mishra, Vanish by Pratim D. Gupta, Synchronicity by Sidharth Singh & Lalit Ajgaonkar, F 20 by Aparna Pednekar and Adigaram 79 by Vinod Veera

Screenwriters’ Lab 2009, a 2-part screenwriters’ workshop for writing and selling original Indian screenplays will be held at Locarno International Film Festival, Locarno, Switzerland from 8 – 12 August, 2009 and the second  session will culminate at Film Bazaar, Goa from 24 – 26 November 2009. The workshop will be conducted by Binger Filmlab artistic director Marten Rabarts, in association with some international guest mentors.

The selection committee consisted of writer-director Sooni Taraporevala (Little Zizou) and author, film critic, founder-editor of Asian Film Quarterly Cinemaya, founder president of the Network for Promotion of Asian Cinema (NETPAC) and founder of Osian’s Cinefan Film Festival, Aruna Vasudev, Binger Filmlab director Ido Abram and Rabarts.

The selection committee jointly reviewed all applications and selections were made keeping in mind the quality of the writing and the potential of the screenplay for presentation at the international market.

Taraporevala says, “We had a hard time selecting only 6 screenplays because there was a profusion of talents this year. It was wonderful to see so many original, inventive ideas.”

Screenwriter’s Lab 2009, a 2-part workshop is designed to prepare screenwriters’ with original Indian stories for working with the international filmmaking market place. It aims at improving a completed screenplay in its final stages and to increase the international marketability of the same.

Rabarts considers this an opportunity for presenting to the international market screenplays that are original and authentic Indian stories that balanced a strong (Indian) cultural specificity with an underlying universal human layer.

Vasudev says, ‘The initiative of NFDC to set up the Screenwriters’ Lab cannot be too highly commended. In India, Screenwriting has still not been recognised as a profession, like cinematography or editing. Yet it is the screenplay that is the basis of a good film.’

The Binger Filmlab is an Amsterdam-based training center for feature filmmakers. The two part workshop matches screenplays with the Binger Filmlab advisors who will mentor the writers on improving their writing efforts.

The collaboration with the 62nd Locarno Film Festival is under the “Open Doors” program organized with the support of the SDC, continues its ongoing commitment to raising the visibility of film projects from developing countries.

The workshop culminates at NFDC’s Film Bazaar India at Goa, where the revised screenplays will be pitched to potential Indian and international partners.