Making Heroine the New Hero
Asia Society India Centre is pleased to announce the selection of 7 Fellows for the Third Edition of the New Voices Fellowship for Screenwriters 2015-2016 Making Heroine the New Hero. These Fellows were selected out of 389 applications from promising writers across India.
In ‘Making Heroine the New Hero’, the fellowship invited only women-centric scripts this year. Each entry responded to the unique call for gender sensitive, women-driven stories in an effort to expose new writers to the experience of writing from a female character’s point of view and increase the number of women-oriented scripts in the film industry.
“This fellowship represents Asia Society’s commitment to fostering creativity, nurturing new talent, building knowledge communities and with this year’s theme, encouraging stories that would otherwise not be told.” – Bunty Chand, Executive Director, Asia Society India Centre
The 12 shortlisted candidates attended the first residential workshop from 13th – 17th October, 2015 in Khandala, Maharashtra, led by renowned screenwriter Anjum Rajabali and supported by NVFS Mentors Charudutt Acharya and Vikas Sharma, and Members of the Advisory Council: Bunty Chand, Rachel Cooper, Ashwini Malik, Claire Dobbin, Dr. A.L. Sharada, Jeroo Mulla and Uma da Cunha. After the five-day workshop including sessions on the basic principles of screenplay writing, peer and expert feedback sessions, and an interview process, seven fellows will go on to complete the eight-month intensive mentoring programme.
“The fellowship offers so many wonderful things to aspiring screenwriters – full creative freedom, continuous mentoring by knowledgeable seniors, intensive workshops, no copyright lien of any kind, and a healthy fellowship amount! It’s a win-win process for them.” – Anjum Rajabali, Screenwriter, Head of the NVFS Advisory Council
Applications were received from across India including Maharashtra, Delhi, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Bihar, Uttarakhand, Kerala, Telengana, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Assam, Odisha, and Manipur. This year, the selected stories spanned genres from black comedy, horror, thriller, drama, romance and biopics from across a spectrum of writers and filmmakers to a variety of non-cinema professionals and first-time writers.
NVFS has been made possible by a grant from the Time Warner Foundation. One additional fellowship is awarded this year thanks to the support from our cause partner Laadli, a media advocacy initiative of Population First.
The 2015-2016 Fellows are:
- Anand Sachdev (Mumbai) is a Program Manager in Tata Consultancy Services Limited. His passion for movies led him to join the first batch of Anupam Kher’s Academy, ‘Writer Prepares’, where he learnt the art of writing full length movie stories and screenplay under Satyanshu Singh. His winning story is Aakanksha.
- Swara Bhaskar (Mumbai) is an award winning actress in the Hindi Film Industry whose Filmography includes Tanu Weds Manu (2011), Raanjhanaa (2013), and Tanu Weds Manu Returns (2015). Swara is also an occassional writer and columnist and her short stories and articles have appeared in The Little Magazine, Seminar, The Himal Southasian, The Hindu and the Indian Express. Her winning story is Split Ends.
- Wasimbarry Maner (Phaltan, Maharashtra) is a self-taught cinematographer, writer, documentary film director and an instinctive graphic artist since the past 12 years. A science graduate currently studying social work, he also owns a production house, Biroba Films, under which he does all of his productions. His winning story is Wachan.
- Rohini Mohan (Bangalore) is a political journalist who’s worked for more than a decade, writing on human rights for several publications including Al Jazeera, The New York Times, Tehelka, The Caravan, Economic Times, The Hindu and news channel CNN-IBN. Her first book, The Seasons of Trouble, is a nonfiction account on postwar Sri Lanka, and was published in 2014. Her winning story is The Seasons of Trouble.
- Mukti Krishan (Mumbai) is an award-winning 3D Animation and VFX graduate from Vancouver Film School. She has worked in the VFX departments of various Hollywood productions including: Disney’s Tinkerbell and the Weinstein Brother’s Hoodwinked. She has also directed several short films that have won many awards at domestic and international film festivals. Her winning story is Sandhya.
- Bela Negi (Mumbai) is a writer, director and producer with Nitric Films. As a TV producer and director, Bela worked on a travel show “Patli Gully” for Channel V. Bela’s first feature film, Daayen Ya Baayen (2010) is a social comedy set in a village in Uttarakhand. Her winning story is Shadowed.
- LAADLI FELLOW – Srikant Kumar Padhi (Mumbai) is a freelance writer and video editor. With a background in Electronics and Telecommunications Engineering, Srikant has experience working in teleshop ads, corporate films, educational video tutorials, short films and short documentaries. His winning story is POT.
One of our selected fellows, Swara Bhaskar, Actress, 2015-2016 NVFS Fellow said, “This fellowship provides an excellent opportunity and platform to interested screenwriters to hone their skills and I’m genuinely honoured to have this opportunity extended. Thanks for a brilliant five days of learning the craft and understanding that it’s not enough to merely want to tell a story. This fellowship is a much needed intervention in our industry and over the years the fruits will bear onscreen.”
ABOUT THE NEW VOICES FELLOWSHIP FOR SCREENWRITERS (NVFS) 2015-2016
Inspired by the nexus of India’s millennia legacy of story-telling traditions and its equally impressive contributions to the world of film, the New Voices Fellowship for Screenwriters (NVFS), was initiated by Asia Society in India to cultivate new talent and ideas with a focus on developing the craft of script writing. The aim of this programme is to provide a new way in which to understand the scope of independent film, and the way in which Indian films can successfully cross borders to tell important stories that can be both universal in their context and local in their setting.
Through an open application process, 12 writers from across India were selected and invited to attend the first workshop where they had the opportunity to provide peer feedback and work with respected professionals in the field. At the end of the workshop, seven of them were selected to become Fellows of NVFS and enter the eight-month writing programme, in which they will cultivate their stories to a fully-developed script, under the regular and intensive guidance of their mentors. The aim is to encourage the writers to realize their ideas more holistically, and craft them into a competently written screenplay.
A second workshop will be held in February 2016, where fellows will receive feedback from other mentors as well as their peers. The third edition of the fellowship will conclude in May 2016.
Each participating Fellow will receive:
- A stipend of Rs. 2,00,000.
- Regular guidance from the mentors who are eminent screenwriters and writer-directors over the eight-month long programme.
- Two five-day-long intensive workshops conducted by Anjum Rajabali, with the active participation of mentors, advisors and other industry professionals.
- Recommendations on how to approach production houses and studios, how to pitch, and other professional and legal aspects like contracts, copyright and safeguards.
The fellowship is guided by an Advisory Council. The members of the Advisory Council, led by Anjum Rajabali, are Ashwini Malik, Claire Dobbin, Devika Bhagat, Dr. A.L. Sharada, Jaideep Sahni, Jeroo Mulla, Juhi Chaturvedi, Saket Chaudhary, Sriram Raghavan and Uma da Cunha. Bunty Chand and Rachel Cooper of Asia Society are also members of the Advisory Council. The project mentors are Charudutt Acharya, Pubali Chaudhuri and Vikas Sharma. For more information on the advisory council and mentors, please visit: http://asiasociety.org/india/advisory-council-mentors.