Since its launch in 2007, Film Bazaar has heralded the rise of independent cinema. Celebrating its 10th edition this year, the annual NFDC Film Bazaar has become a beacon for budding filmmakers from South Asia.

Celebrating its 10th edition this year, the annual NFDC Film Bazaar has become a beacon for budding filmmakers from South Asia. The platform has been tirelessly evolving into a one-stop shop that encourages collaboration between South Asian and international film fraternities; a confluence point for screenwriters, filmmakers, sales agents, distributors, film festival programmers and financiers from around the world.

The Changing Face of Indian Independent Cinema

Since its launch in 2007, Film Bazaar has heralded the rise of independent cinema. An array of titles like The Lunchbox (Ritesh Batra), That Girl in Yellow Boot (Anurag Kashyap), LSD (Dibakar Banerjee/Hindi), Manjunath (Sandeep A Varma/Hindi), Deool (Umesh Vinayak Kulkarni/ Marathi), Shanghai (Dibakar Banerjee/Hindi), The Good Road (Ryan Correa/Gujarati), Television (Mostofa Sarwar Farooki/Bangla Bangladesh’s submission to the Oscars for Foreign Film Category), Chauranga (Bikas Mishra/Hindi),Ship of Theseus (Anand Gandhi)  Arunoday (Partho Sen Gupta/Marathi),  Titli (Kanu Behl/Hindi), Court (Chaitanya Tamhane/Marathi), Thithi (Raam Reddy/Kannada), Fandry (Nagraj Manjule/Marathi), Miss Lovely (Ashim Ahluwalia) , Chauthi Koot (Gurvinder Singh/Punjabi), Margarita With A Straw (Sonali Bose/Hindi/English), Lipstick Under My Burkha (Alankrita Shrivastava/Hindi), Dum Laga Ke Haisha ( Sharat Katariya ), Nil Battey Sannata (Ashwini Iyer Tiwari ),  Island City (Ruchika Oberoi/Hindi), 28 (from Sri Lanka) amongst others have brought to the world a refreshing new perspective on cinema from the Indian subcontinent.

Besides receiving international acclaim and releases, with premieres at prestigious international film festivals including Cannes, Toronto, Berlin and Venice, many films that began their journey at Film Bazaar have also had commercial releases in India. A veritable milestone for independent cinema, several films have been picked up by renowned Indian and international film studios, such as Dum Laga Ke Haisha and Titli being released by Yash Raj Films, UTV releasing Ship of Theseus (presented by KiranRao) and The Lunchbox (presented by Karan Johar),  and Zee releasing the Marathi film Killa.

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A.R. Rehman at Film Bazaar

Interestingly, a lot of the above mentioned path-breaking films that have come out of the Film Bazaar are by debutant filmmakers.

Crunching The Numbers: 2007-2016

Starting off back in 2007 as a first-of-its-kind market in India, Film Bazaar’s first edition spanned 3 days and had45 International delegates, 298 national delegates and 18 participating countries. On the brink of its tenth edition this year, the steady rise in participation over the years, and how far it has come since then, is quite awe-inspiring — the Bazaar in 2015 took place over 4 days with a total number of 1102 national and international delegates from 38 countries.

In 2010, Film Bazaar upped the ante by opening up to films from the whole subcontinent, including Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, making it an inclusive platform for all South Asian films, and there has been no looking back since.

The breakdown of the 10-year journey of NFDC Film Bazaar is as follows:


  • Film Bazaar started in 2007 with 45 International delegates, 298 national delegates and 18 participating countries. This edition had a total of 22 projects.
  • The Screenwriters’ Lab (SWL), as we know it today, was then started off as the Screenwriters’ Block.
  • Mentors at the first edition included filmmakers and academicians like Danish Tanovic (No Man’s Land), Bernd Lichtenberg (Goodbye Lenin), Olivia Hetreed (Girl with a Pearl Earring), Shaji Karun (Piravi, Vanaprasthan), Anjum Rajabali (scriptwriter) and Ashwini Malik (scriptwriter and faculty member, FTII).
  • Films — CPM: Binoy Badal Dennis (Anjan Dutta)


  • The Work-In-Progress (WIP) Lab was introduced with the aim of obtaining on objective overview and suggestions of International mentors on films that are in a rough-cut stage. The purpose of the workshop is to help filmmakers to fine-tune their work before the final edit, with the objectives of positioning these films in the international market.
  • Films — CPM: That Girl In Yellow Boots (Anurag Kashyap), Qissa (Anup Singh), Miss Lovely (Ashim Ahluwalia), Monsoon Shootout (Amit Kumar). SWL: The Good Road (Gyan Correa)
Rahman with nsreen munni-

Rahman with Nasreen Munni


  • In 2009, there was a steady rise in numbers with 93 international delegates, 252 national delegates and 22 participating countries.
  • The Screenwriters’ Lab first time entered into a partnership with Locarno International Film Festival with an objective that the writers also acquaint themselves with international film festivals and markets.  The workshop would be held in two stages with a gap of few months in between to facilitate revision of draft. The first phase for three days in Locarno International film festival and the second phase in Goa for five days prior to Film Bazaar. Mentors: Marten Rabarts (Artistic Director, Binger Film lab), Ido Abram (Director, Binger Film lab), Phillipa Campbell (Producer) and Udayan Prasad (Brothers in Trouble, My Son the Fanatic) as script mentors.
  • The Work-In-Progress Lab had mentors like Derek Malcolm (Former Critic, the Guardian, UK), Darrell Roodt (Director, Writer & Producer) and Olivia Stewart (Script Advisor).
  • Stalls were set up for the first time in this edition of the Film Bazaar.
  • Films —CPM: LSD (Dibakar Banerjee), I Am (Onir), Manjunath (Sandeep A Varma), The Return of the Tiger (Mike H Pandey/John Abraham) SWL: Gangoobai (Priya Krishnaswamy). WIP: I am Kalam (Nila Madhab Panda).
  • NFDC established a partnership with Prime Exchange Germany for the conduct of the Prime Exchange Workshop funded by Media International. Prime Exchange is a worldwide independent initiative that provides a forum to Indian and European Producers and experts in script development, marketing, sales and distribution as well as those in the gaming industry. Under this initiatives, projects from India and Europe were presented and various aspects of script improvement, funding options and distribution avenues were discussed in round table sessions held over three days.


  • Film Bazaar was expanded this year to make it a South Asian Market, a significant step in the growth of the event. As an introductory year, Film Bazaar presented projects from the SAARC Nations, namely Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
  • Film Bazaar 2010 constituted of122 international delegates, 331 national delegates and 37 participating countries.
  • The mentors at the Screenwriters’ Lab were Marten Rabarts (Artistic Director, Binger Filmlab), Ido Abram (Director of Communication, EYE Film Institute, Netherlands) Phillipa Campbell (Script Editor and Writer, New Zealand) and Olivia Stewart (Film Producer, UK-Italy).
  • Derek Malcolm, UK (Former Critic at The Guardian, UK) Darrell Roodt, South Africa (Director, Writer & Producer) and Olivia Stewart (Script Advisor) were the mentors for the Work-In-Progress Lab.
  • Three Digital Theatres were set up for the first time in Film Bazaar in association with UFO Movies. The registered delegates/ filmmakers get an opportunity to book an industry screening for potential buyers, sales agent, distributors, festival Directors/programmers and other industry professionals.
  • The Knowledge Series speakers included Rajkumar Hirani, Marco Mueller and Phil Parker. The Masterclass with Fatih Akin was conducted by Anurag Kashyap.
  • Films —CPM: Television (Mostafa Sarwar Farooki), Shanghai (Dibakar Banerjee), Deool (Umesh Kulkarni). WIP: Baboo Band Baaja (Rajesh Pinjani).
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Rajeev Masand with Kabir Khan at NFDC Film Bazaar.


  • Film Bazaar 2011  saw a turnout of 170 international delegates, 380 national delegates and 40 participating countries with a country delegations from Australia, Canada and Israel
  • Screenwriters Lab entered into partnership with Venice International Film Festival. Marten Rabarts (Lab Head & Script Advisor), Bianca Taal (Industry Advisor), Olivia Stewart (Script Advisor) and Urmi Juvekar (Screenwriter& Script Advisor) were the mentors for the Screenwriters’ Lab. Lunch Box (by Ritesh Batra) and Dum Laga Ke Haisha( Sharat Katariya) were part of this Lab
  • The Work-In-Progress Lab projects were mentored by Derek Malcolm (Film Critic & Historian, UK),  Katriel Schory (Executive Director, Israel Film Fund),  Chris Paton (Senior Vice-President, Acquisitions & Development Fortissimo Films, Netherlands).
  • ‘Incredible India’ came on board as the official partner, and promoted India as a filming destination. Film Locations play a critical role in determining tourist traffic both from India and abroad. A positive synergy exists between the film and tourism industries in several countries around the world. An incredible India evening was organized that was hosted by Hon’ble Union Mister of Tourism. The highlights of the evening was a performance of the Manganiyar Seduction, conducted by acclaimed director Roysten Abel, founder of the Can and Abel Theatres
  • Knowledge Series conducted sessions moderated by Shubhra Gupta, Zoya Akhtar, Abhay Deol, Sanjay Suri and Kalki Koechlin. It also had a session with Cedomir Kolar, Producer of the Academy Award Winning film, No Man’s Land.
  • Two new awards were introduced this year: the Incredible India Award for the Best Project in the Co-Production Market & Digital Intermediate (DI) Award sponsored by Prasad Labs for the Best Project in the Work-In-Progress Lab.
  • Screening Room (now known as Viewing Room) was first set up with an aim to present films seeking finishing funds, world sales, distribution partners and film festivals.The films are viewed on individual computer terminals in private booths via specially designed Viewing Room software. Film programmers, distributors, world sales agents and investors can watch complete films as well as films that are awaiting completion. They can access details about the respective projects as well as contact the filmmakers through this software.To create a more user-friendly experience, viewers can choose to view the films on the basis of parameters like duration, language, stage of completion, type and festival history among others. Investors can also choose to view films, which have applied specifically for finishing funds.The Viewing Room allows access only to buyers, financiers, world sales agents and festival programmers.
  • Film Bazaar partnered with Screen International to publish Film Bazaar Dailies with a view to capture day-to-day coverage at Film Bazaar, and published 1500 copies of each daily released on each day of the market.
  • Films —CPM: Liar’s Dice (Geethu Mohandas), Chauranga (Bikas Mishra). SWL: Dum Laga Ke Haisha (Sharat Katariya), The Lunchbox (Ritesh Batra). WIP: The Good Road (Gyan Correa), Ship of Theseus (Anand Gandhi), Mumbai Cha Raja (Manjit Singh), B A Pass (Ajay Bahl).


  • This edition of Film Bazaar saw a total of 712 national and international guests from 33 participating countries.
  • Marten Rabarts (Script Lab Head/Script Advisor Head of Training & Development, NFDC), Bianca Taal (Industry Advisor & Programmer, International Film Festival Rotterdam), Olivia Stewart (Script Advisor, Producer/ Writer) and Urmi Juverkar(Screenwriter  & Script Advisor) were the mentors for the Screenwriters’ Lab.
  • The mentors for the Work-In-Progress Lab consisted of Chris Paton (Senior Vice-President, Acquisitions & Development Fortissimo Films, Netherlands), Sudhir Mishra (Film Director  & Screenwriter, India) and Phillipa Campbell (Producer, New Zealand).
  • The Incredible India Award for the Best Project in the Co-Production Market was awarded to Chavunilam (A Voice from Elsewhere) by Vipin Vijay and Sweesh Sukumar, who received a cash award of Rs 10 lakhs. The Digital Intermediate (DI) Award sponsored by Prasad Labs for the Best Project in the Work-In-Progress Lab was awarded to Phoring by Indranil Roy Chowdhury, who received the sponsorship for Digital Intermediate process.
  • Films — CPM: Titli (Kanu Behl), Court (Chaitanya Tamhane), Chauthi Koot (Gurvinder Singh). SWL: Island City (Ruchika Oberoi). WIP: Phoring (Indranil Roy Chowdhury), Crossing Bridges (Sange Thondok).


  • This edition witnessed an attendance of a whopping 831 national and international guests from 36 countries, with country delegations from Australia, Canada and Poland.
  • The Screenwriters’ lab had Marten Rabarts, Olivia Stewart, Esther Van Driesum (Script Developer) and Bianca Taal as mentors.
  • The Work-In-Progress Lab mentors included Marco Mueller, Derek Malcolm, Laurent Danielou (Managing Director Rezo films) and Phillipa Campbell.
  • Producers’ Lab was introduced with an aim to educate and empower more and more independent producers. The idea behind the lab was to allow the participants to acquire the necessary skill set to develop the independent film ecosystem. In addition the aim of the lab was for independent producers to learn as much as they can about international fund fund, co-production, festivals and markets.
  • The Knowledge Series had speakers like Farhan Akhtar, Thierry Fremaux (Delegate General, Festival de Cannes) and Sudhir Mishra, who spoke on a variety of topics such as the role of a sales agent and latest cinema releasing strategies; present trends in Indian Cinema etc. were also covered.
  • The Incredible India award was given to Rajesh Jala for his film Chingari and the DI Prasad Lab’s award was received by Kanu Behl for Titli.
  • Films— WIP:Margarita With a Straw (Shonali Bose), Killa (AvinashArun), Fig, Fruit and Wasps (MS PrakashBabu).


  • Film Bazaar saw a steep rise in attendance with a total of 1042 national and international delegates from 38 countries.
  • Marten Rabarts, Olivia Stewart, Urmi Juvekar and Bianca Taal were the mentors for the Screenwriters’ Lab.
  • Romance Screenwriters Lab, Film Bazaar, in association with Harlequin, introduced the first ever Romance Screenwriters’ Lab, which focused on developing scripts based on romance and women-centric plots. The lab was held in three stages and the participants were mentored by three eminent people from Indian film industry. The mentors were Bhavani Iyer, Habib Faisal and Girish Joshi.
  • Screenwriters’ Lab partnered with Sarajevo film festival and the 6 writers travelled to Sarajevo for the first lab session.
  • Marco Mueller, Phillippa Campbell, Gabor Greiner (Film Boutique), Sunmin Park (Producer, Maxmedia) and Francesca Calvelli (Editor) were the mentors for the Work-In-Progress lab.
  • The documentary Work-In-Progress lab was introduced this year, and the mentors were Derek Malcolm (Film Critic and Historian with London Evening Standard), Claudia Tronnier(Commissioning Editor, ZDF), Noemi Schory (Producer/Director Belfilms Ltd.), Ikka Vehkalahti (Commissioning Editor, YLE) and Per Kirkegaard (Editor).
  • Investor Pitch was set up with an aim to provide a platform for the curated and mentored film projects that are in various stages of development/completion to pitch to financiers who are looking to back independent film projects. The idea is also to bring top investors and production houses to attend these sessions so that the projects get maximum visibility and have possibility of investors coming on board these projects in order to finance their production or completion or P&A requirements.
  • Film Offices were set up first time at Film Bazaar 2014 with an objective of connecting the Indian state Tourism bodies and international film commissions with Indian Filmmakers. The offices provide state tourism bodies & international film commissions with a platform to showcase their locations and incentives that they will be able to offer filmmakers for filming in their respective state/countries. There were five Tourism Offices namely Chattisgarh Tourism, Telangana Tourism, Madhya Pradesh Tourism, Tamil Nadu Tourism and Korea Film Council & Korea Tourism Organisation.
  • The Knowledge Series featured panelists like Karan Johar, Rohan Sippy, Ritesh Batra, Anurag Basu, Vishal Bharadwajand many more.
  • The DI Prasad Lab’s award went to Raam Reddy’s Tithi in fiction category and to Khusboo Ranka and Vinay Shukla’s Proposition for a Revolutionin the non-fiction category.
  • Films — WIP: Tithi (Raam Reddy), Nil Battey Sannata (Ashwini Iyer Tiwary)
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Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore with Nina Lath at NFDC Film Bazaar.


  • This edition of the Bazaar took place over 4 days with a total number of 1102 national and international delegates from 38 countries.
  • Urmi Juvekar, Alfredo Covelli (Director, Producer and Script Advisor), Marcel Beaulieu (Script Advisor, Screenplay Writer), Chris Paton and Teresa Hoefert de Turegano (Funding Advisor, International Co-Production & Development, Medienboard Berlin-BrandenbergGmbh) were the mentors for Screenwriters’ Lab.
  • There were also new segments created in Screenwriters’ Lab, which were Children & Young Adult and Romance.
  • Two projects from the Screenwriters’ Lab for Children’s – Lottery Ticket by Sagarika Banik and Adventures of Kaka & Kiki by Shreyas Thathachar, were invited to participate in the co production market at Financing Forum, Malmo, Sweden.
  • The Work-In-Progress lab had Marco Mueller, Chris Paton, Olivia Stewart, Philippa Campbell, Pernille Bech Christensen (Editor) and Jacques Comets (Editor).
  • The documentary WIP Lab had Ikka Vehkalahti, Noemi Schory, Peter Jager (CEO Autlook Films), Per Kirkegaard, Derek Malcolm and Menno Borema as mentors.
  • Film Tourism Workshop: This edition of Film Bazaar hosted its first ever Film Tourism Workshop. The workshop was held two days prior to Film Bazaar with an objective to promote film tourism and India as a filming destination.
  • Film Tourism Symposium presented by Ministry of Tourism, in association with the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and National Film Development Corporation, the symposium’s primary objective was to encourage a dialogue between members of the film fraternity and certain key Central Government Ministries/agencies like the ASI, Railways, Ministry of Home Affairs, on the current challenges filmmakers are facing with regard to filming in India and the steps that can be taken towards facilitating greater ease of shooting feature and non-feature films. The symposium would go a long way in captalising on the economic potential of film tourism in the country as a whole since the interactive sessions would focus on how india could be positioned as an attractive destination to the international film community.
  • Film Facilitation Office: The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India, along with National Film Development Corporation launched Film Facilitation office at the Film Bazaar. Hon’ble Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting, Government of India, unveiled the logo of the Film Facilitation Office (FFO), whose tagline “ Film in India” seeks to position India as preferred filming destination. The Film Facilitation Office, housed in the NFDC, would be positioned as the specialised single window to obtain filming permissions in India, thereby easing the procedure of obtaining permissions to execute the production of feature and non-feature films in the country.
  • Dadasaheb Phalke Chitranagari, popularly known as Film City, Mumbai, partnered with Film Bazaar,showcase and promote nine Marathi films  in the sections ‘Viewing Room’ and ‘Industry Screenings’.
  • CPM introduced Open Pitch where selected projects pitched their projects to the international film community. It received an overwhelming response
  • The Knowledge Series had several interesting sessions, featuring speakers from Youtube and Twitter, to Shoojit Sircar, Vikas Bahl, A.R.Rahman etc.
  • Films—WIP: Tu Hai Mera Sunday (Milind Dhaimade), Gurgaon (Shankar Raman), Lipstick Under My Burqa (Alankrita Srivastava), Juje (Miransha Naik)


  • Film Bazaar 2016 promises to be more exciting than ever, with several interactive arenas in the pipeline. Knowledge Series is conducting a special Sidebar dedicated to exploring Virtual Reality (VR) as a technology in great detail, following Shekhar Kapoor and Sudhir Mishra’s session last year on multiple film narratives developed with VR technology, and how VR lends itself to this unique way of storytelling.                Including an interesting visual experiences inventory, and some very exciting sessions, expositions and demos, the sessions will be conducted by independent transmedia writer/producer/director Michel Reilhac, Amsterdam-based Mirjam Vosmeer, and Avinash Changa, who specialises in Digital Concepts and Production Techniques, including Virtual Reality, 3D Animation and Augmented Reality.
  • FFO Workshop: the FFO plans to organize a One-Day Workshop at the forthcoming Film Bazaar with Nodal Officers appointed by various State Governments and Central Government Ministries / Departments / Agencies to act as the one-point contact for easing the process of filming in their respective jurisdiction. The Proposed One-day Workshop will aim to hold focused interactive sessions conducted by International Producers who have had an interest in filming in India or have previously shot in India and are going to be a part of Film Bazaar. It is also planned to have discussions with Indian Filmmakers and Line-Producers who will be present at the Film Bazaar on the parameters governing the “Most Film Friendly State” Award, marketing of locations etc. The Workshop will include a case study presentation by the State of Gujarat, which won the National Award for the Most Film Friendly State in 2016. It is envisaged that these discussions would motivate and mobilize the Nodal officers from State and Central Governments towards not only easier and timely facilitation of permissions for shooting films in their State, but also undertaking initiatives for a favorable filming environment.
  • Film Bazaar 2016 has received a whopping 202 entries for Viewing Room this year, the highest ever so far.
  • Dadasaheb Phalke Chitranagari, popularly known as Film City, Mumbai, is collaborating with Film Bazaar, and showcasing ten Marathi films (Sairat, Natsamrat, Half Ticket, Double Seat, Halal, Katyar Kaljat Ghusali, Bernie, Saha Gun, Daagdi Chaawl and Koti) in the sections ‘Viewing Room’ and ‘Industry Screenings’.
  • Gujarat Tourism has collaborated with the 10th edition of NFDC’s Film Bazaar as a state partner to promote itself as a film-friendly destination. The state, which received the national award for ‘Most Film-Friendly State’ last year, participated in the Film Bazaar for the first time in 2012, and took up a film office in 2015 to promote Gujarat as filming destination.
  • Screenwriters’ Lab for Children’s content is being supported by NFDC and Dutch Culture. The writer’s visited Cinekid, a premier children’s film festival in Amsterdam.
  • The Co Production Market has introduced video pitching in Open Pitch. This will enable filmmakers to offer a glimpse into the world of their projects.
  • The growing response over the years has been immensely encouraging, and indicates that we can look forward to an excellent turnout of national and international delegates in the upcoming edition.