NFDC Film Bazaar brings 14 films in this year’s Open Pitch

The purpose of NFDC Film Bazaar’s Open Pitch is to provide platform to original content makers from South Asian countries who are looking for co-production partners and financial collaborators

NFDC Film Bazaar brings 14 films in this year’s Open Pitch

BKD

After the success of Open Pitch in previous editions of the NFDC film bazaar, this year again select filmmakers will get a chance to pitch their project to national and international producers, distributors, festival programmers, financiers and sales agents. About 14 projects have been selected for pitching this year. The purpose of the co-production market is to provide a platform to the original content makers from South Asian countries who are looking for co-production partners and financial collaborators.

The market is also a focal point for festival directors, programmers, sales agents, producers and financiers to find fresh voices from South Asia. Films presented at previous editions of the Co-Production Market have gone on to receive national and international acclaim.

The selection presents 14 projects from India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, France, Nepal, Singapore and USA. The line-up is an eclectic mix of stories in Hindi, English, Bengali, Malayalam, Assamese, Nepali, Dzongkha (Bhutanese) and Gujarati from established filmmakers as well as new talent;

Aamar Xokolure Bhaalpowa (All Our Loves) | Assamese | India

Director- Mehdi Jahan

Mehdi Jahan completed his masters in mass communication from AJK MCRC, Jamia Millia Islamia in 2011. He shot PSBT produced-documentary, The F-Word by Saba Rehman. He also assisted and shot Sabin Alun a film by noted Assamese film scholar and filmmaker, (late) Altaf Mazid. Jyoti and Joymoti, Mehdi’s first short fiction won 12th National Award for Best Film-Short Feature at SiGNS 2018, Kerala and also competed at the 16th Bogotá Short Film Festival.

Producer- Heer Ganjwala, Human Trail Pictures

Heer Ganjwala graduated from St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai, in Mass Media and then joined the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune, specializing in Film Direction and Screenplay Writing. She and her batch mates formed Human Trail Pictures, a collective of filmmakers which has produced independent regional films since 2014. Mor Mann Ke Bharam (2015), their first feature in Chattisgarhi competed in the India Gold section of Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival and won the Special Jury Prize. Ralang Road (2017), a Nepali feature, premiered at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in the Czech Republic.

Anantah (Eternity)  | Nepali | India

Director- Saurav Rai

Saurav Rai is an alumnus of the Satyajit Ray Film and T.V Institute, with specialization in Film Direction and Screenplay Writing. His short Monsoon Rain had its world premiere at the 34th International Munich Film Festival (2014) Germany. Gudh (Nest), Saurav’s diploma film was an official selection at the 69th Cannes Cinefondation (2016) and the only official Indian entry to compete. His debut feature Nimtoh (Invitation) has been part of the NFDC Work In Progress (WIP) Lab, the Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum (HAF) WIP Lab, 2019 and recently won the Grand Jury Prize, India Gold at the Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival 2019.

Producer- Sanjay Gulati, Crawling Angel Films

Sanjay Gulati is the founder of Crawling Angel Films. A science graduate and postgraduate in business management, he is successfully running a biotechnology company, Biogentek. His pursuit for creativity and cinema drove him towards producing Pushpendra Singh’s Lajwanti (2014) which premiered at the Forum Section of the Berlin Film Festival. Post that, Sanjay went on to produce many more independent films like Hola Venky (2014), Ashwatthama (2017), Once Again (2018), Mehsampur (2018) and the most recent Nimtoh (2019).

Ayna (The Mirror)  | Hindi | India

Director- Alka Raghuram, Junoon Pictures

Alka Raghuram is a filmmaker and a multidisciplinary artist. She won the Director of the Year award at the IDF film festival in 2017 for her feature documentary Burqa Boxers, and Grant Open Doors, at the Locarno Film Festival in 2011. She was awarded the L’Oreal Woman of Worth Vision Filmmaker Award at Tribeca All Access and invited to Berlin Talent Project Market for her fiction script The Conqueror. Her short films Tired of Dancing, Panchali and The Ant and The Monkey have screened at various festivals in the US and abroad.

Producer- Celine Loop, Travelling Light Productions

Celine Loop graduated as a lawyer with a specialization in Intellectual Property Rights law in Belgium and came to India as a backpacker in 2008. She became a partner and producer at Oddjoint for 6 years before venturing out with Travelling Light. She has a filmography that stretches to 6 films- Gandu (2011), Tasher Desh (2012), Brahman Naman (2015) all by Q, Kajarya (2012) by Madhureeta Anand, Ludo (2013) by Nikon & Q and most recently Chippa (2019) by Safdar Rahman. Her films have been shown at festivals all across the world including Berlinale, Sundance, Rome and Sitges.

Eka (Solo)  | Bengali | India, Bangladesh, France

Director- Suman Sen

Suman is an MBA with a postgraduate degree in Mass Communication along with an Advertising Diploma and certification in Design Fundamentals and Entrepreneurship. With his decade long experience in Brand Strategy and Account Planning, he has crafted trans-media stories for many renowned brands like ABP Group, Asian Paints, Radio Mirchi, CEAT, Ishq FM, ZEE Bangla. In 2012, he founded Fame Per Second, a communication agency in Calcutta, India. ‘Eka’ is going to be his debut feature film.

Producer- Bijon Imtiaz & Arifur Rahman, Goopy Bagha Productions Limited

Arifur Rahman and Bijon Imtiaz are a filmmaking-duo who founded Goopy Bagha Productions Limited in 2013. Both Asian Film Academy Producing Fellows, they’ve produced internationally award-winning films. Kingdom of Clay Subjects (2016) directed by Arifur and produced by Bijon world premiered at 42nd Seattle International Film Festival. Goopy Bagha’s most recent project Paradise got Roman Paul of Razor Films as its German co-producer and was selected at the Berlinale Co-Production Market 2019.

Ettamedam (The Deathplace ) | Malayalam | India

Director- Jiju Antony

Jiju Antony is an Engineer by education and marketer by profession. Though a late entrant to the world of movies, Jiju wrote few shorts before graduating to feature length. Eli Eli Lama Sabachthani? (The Forsaken), Jiju’s debut feature as a writer/director was a crowdfunded venture and was screened in major film festivals.

Producer- Shaji Mathew, Niv Art Movies

Delhi based Niv Art Movies stands for making experimental and artistic movies. Their latest production, Chola got selected in the Orizzonti Competition in 2019 Venice International Film Festival. Their most acclaimed production S Durga won the prestigious Hivos Tiger Award in 2016 apart from screening in more than 50 major film festivals across the world.

Feast | English, Hindi | Singapore, India

Director - Leon Cheo

Singapore based filmmaker Leon Cheo graduated from Chapman University with a BFA in Creative Producing. He is also an alumnus of Outfest InFusion (2016), Berlinale Talents (2014), Asian Film Academy (2013) and Tokyo Talent Campus (2012). His short The Three Sisters won the Best Short Film at the 2012 NETPAC-Jogja Asian Film Festival. Most recently, his short titled SIN-SFO won the Best Live Action and Best Director at the 2019 Singapore National Youth Film Awards. His project Feast was awarded a development grant by Talents Tokyo’s Next Masters Support Program in 2016 and was selected for Torino Film Lab Extended (Singapore) in 2018.

Producer - Jen Nee Lim, Pilgrim Pictures Pte Ltd

With more than 10 years’ experience, Jen Nee Lim has shepherded countless projects as Producer/Writer, with stints in film acquisition, marketing and distribution. Her feature film Truth Be Told won Best Original Film at the Asian Film Festival of Rome 2007. Jen also produced the web series People Like Us and is currently producing its second season. Jen is developing a slate of projects including feature films psychological thriller Follower (NAFF It Project 2016 in BiFAN), coming-of-age drama A Renunciation (Screen Canberra Accelerator Film POD 2018-19) and Feast.

Home Of The Rain Catcher | Hindi | India, USA

Director - Vikas Khanna

Vikas Khanna is an award winning, Michelin starred Indian chef turned filmmaker. His started his journey as a filmmaker with The Holy Kitchens (2010), a documentary film series that explores food sharing traditions in different faiths. A movie about his life Buried Seeds (2019) created by America-Russian filmmaker Andrei Severny, was premiered at 71st Venice Film Festival (Venice Days). His directorial debut The Last Color (2019), had its world premiere at the 30th Palm Springs International Film Festival & was part of the Discovering India section at Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival 2019. The film also had a special screening at the United Nations headquarters.

Producer - Jitendra Mishra, Bindu Khanna & P Kaul, House of Omkar

Leading the team at House of Omkar, producer Jitendra Mishra has worked in many award winning feature films like I am Kalam, Buried Seeds, Desires Of The Heart among others. The recently launched production house is committed towards creating meaningful cinema with a team of producers associated with socially relevant films. Their most recent production The Last Color has had a successful festival run winning multiple awards & accolades including Best Feature Film at Indian International Film Festival of Boston (IFFB).

I, the Song | Dzongkha | Bhutan, France

Director -  Dechen Roder, Dakinny Productions

Dechen Roder is one of the few female filmmakers from Bhutan who has been making documentaries and small films since 2005. She founded her own company – Dakinny Productions in 2009. She directed Lo Sum Choe Sum (3 Year 3 Month Retreat) in 2015, which was nominated for the  Berlinale Shorts Competition 2015. Her debut feature Honeygiver Among the Dogs was the recipient of the Asian Cinema Fund 2016 post production award) and premiered at Busan International Film Festival 2017 and Berlinale 2017. The film won 3 awards at the Fribourg Film Festival 2017 and was also nominated for the Asia Pacific Screen Awards 2017.

Producer- Thinley Choden, Dakinny Productions

Thinley Choden is a producer and social entrepreneur. Her first film project was in 2007, where she worked as an advisor for Emmy Award winning documentary Bhutan: Taking the Middle Path to Happiness. In 2008 she established a successful non-profit READ Bhutan, which she headed until 2014, and produced a series of short documentaries directed by Dechen Roder.  In 2015, Thinley collaborated on Honeygiver Among the Dogs assisting in fundraising, publicity and taking the role of an investor and presenter of the film. I, the Song will be her first feature as co-producer.

Indreni Pari (Across The Rainbow Bridge) | Nepali | Nepal

Director - Niranjan Raj Bhetwal, Icefall Productions

Born in Nepal, Niranjan pursued a Bachelor in Film Studies specializing in Film Direction at the Oscar International College (College of Film Studies, Nepal) in 2013 followed by a diploma in Digital Animation and Video Editing. Kafal Pakyo (Bayberries Have Ripened) (2014) travelled to more than 50 film festivals and won 5 different awards including Best Film and Best Director at various festivals. He is also a founding member of Bikalpa Cinema Society.

Producer - Ram Krishna Pokharel, Icefall Productions

Ram is the Producer and Head of Icefall Productions and has extensive experience in production services in Nepal. He is the first Nepali Producer who participated in EAVE Producers’ Workshop with a scholarship from CNC (France) in 2017. He was also awarded an Emmy for ESPN produced sports documentary A Mountain To Climb for his role as an associate producer. Over the past several years Ram has developed and produced several films that have appeared in many national and international film festivals and won awards.

Sabras (Salt) | Gujarati, English | USA, India

Director - Sushma Khadepaun

Sushma is an Indian writer/director currently based in New York City pursuing MFA in Screenwriting & Directing at Columbia University. Her short film Foren (2016) premiered at Palm Springs ShortFest 2017. She has been a participant of the International Co-Production Atélier at La Fémis in Paris; selected for Pitch NY organized by NBCUniversal, IFP New York, and the NFDC Script Development Lab. She was also a finalist of Ryan Murphy's Half Directing Fellowship, 2018. Her script Salt was a finalist at the Hampton's Screenwriting Lab and is currently in the second round at Sundance Labs.

Producer - Andrea Kuehnel, Leitwolf Filmproduktion GmbH

Andrea is a producer at Leitwolf Filmproduktion GmbH where she is mainly responsible for international co-production films. A Fulbright alumni, she obtained her MFA in Film Production from New Orleans in 2015. She is an alumnus of the prestigious Atelier Ludwigsburg-Paris, a Masterclass for young producers in Europe. Andrea has produced many short films including her recent film Ella, co-produced with ARTE and German broadcaster SWR.

Sand City | Bengali | Bangladesh

Director - Mahde Hasan

Based in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Mahde Hasan is an introspective and visually keen screenwriter and director. His short film I Am Time (2013) and Death of a Reader (2017) was showcased at 69th & 71st Locarno Festival in the Open Doors Screenings section and he placed first for his short Where is the Friend's Home in the #movieofmylife section at Locarno Festival 2017. He participated in the Open Doors Hub 2018 an international co-production platform at Locarno and got the development grant from CNC for his debut feature Sand City. Sand City was also part of Produire au Sud, Nantes and La Fabrique Cinema, Cannes.

Producer- Rubaiyat Hossain, Khona Talkies

Rubaiyat is one of Bangladesh’s handfuls of female filmmakers who established Khona Talkies, a leading production company in Bangladesh with the vision of producing films in a local terrain with possible foreign co-production and creative tie-ups. She has produced and directed a few, both nationally and internationally acclaimed films. She is a Locarno Open Doors alumnus. Most recently, her feature Made in Bangladesh was world premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival 2019.

Producer- Aadnan Imtiaz Ahmed, Cinema Cocoon

Aadnan Imtiaz Ahmed is a young producer from Bangladesh. He is an alumnus of Locarno Film Festival's Open Doors Lab, 2016, Produire au Sud, Nantes, 2018 and DPC II, 2018. His produced films have been featured in Locarno Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, International Film Festival Rotterdam, BFI London Film Festival, Hong Kong International Film Festival and others.

Producer- François D'artemare, Les Films de l'Après-Midi

François d'Artemare has produced feature-length films from countries all over the world, including Bosnia and Herzegovina (Aida Begić’s Children of Sarajevo, Djeca, and Snow); Ethiopia (Hiwot Admasu’s short film New Eyes); Hungary (Balint Kenyeres’s Hier); Iran (Keywan Karimi’s Drum); Portugal (João Canijo’s Fatima; Marco Martins’s São Jorge; films by Manoel de Oliveira; João Salaviza’s Montanha; and João Viana’s Our Madness); Romania (Radu Muntenan’s One Floor Below); and Bangladesh (Rubaiyat Hossain's Made in Bangladesh).

The Displaced | Hindi | India

Director - Vijay Jayapal

A self taught filmmaker and management graduate, Vijay quit his high paying corporate job to pursue his long time dream of making films. Vijay made his feature debut in 2016 with Tamil language film Revelations, which had its world premiere at Busan International Film Festival 2016 and was released worldwide on streaming platform Netflix. Vijay’s second feature Nirvana Inn, a Hindi language psychological horror drama was completed with post production support from Busan’s Asian Cinema Fund (ACF) and premiered at the Busan International Film Festival 2016. The Displaced, also part of the NFDC Screenwriters’ Lab 2017 will be his third feature film as a writer/director.

Producer - Mathivanan Rajendran, Stray Factory

Mathivanan Rajendran is a design researcher and independent film producer. He is the founder of Stray Factory which focuses on international co-productions. He started his career in the performing arts producing and directing shows for over a decade before transitioning to digital media. He ran a Youtube channel before finally moving to independent cinema. His current projects include Nasir directed by Arun Karthick co-produced with the Netherlands and Nirvana Inn directed by Vijay Jayapal which was supported by the prestigious Asian Cinema Fund from Busan, South Korea. He has also been selected for the prestigious EAVE Producers Lab 2020.

Schirkoa| English | India

Director/Producer -Ishan Shukla, Ishan Animation

Ishan Shukla, is an Indian animation filmmaker. After dropping out of BITS Pilani, India, he went on to pursue a career in animation from 3D Sense Media School, Singapore in 2008. He has spearheaded projects ranging from TV commercials to TV series in Singapore and India. His first animated short film Schirkoa qualified for the Oscars 2017. It also won Best Animated Short at American Movie Awards, Bollywood Film Journalists Awards followed by 122 film festival screenings and 35 international awards.

He is now working on making Schirkoa into a feature film.

Varna Heights (Varna Heights) | Hindi | India, USA

Director - Rajan Khosa, Elephant Eye Productions Pvt. Ltd.

Rajan directed Gattu (2012) which received a Special Mention by  Deutsches Kinderhilfswerk (Children’s Charity of Germany) at Berlinale, a Screen Award in India, and 20 international awards. His feature film Dance Of The Wind (1997) premiered at Venice, winning at Rotterdam, Chicago, London, and Nantes. His film Bodh Vriksha (1987) received a National Award and three Oberhausen Awards. He has been a recipient of Huber Bals in Rotterdam & Monte cinemaverite in Locarno.

Producer - Meraj Shaikh, Wingman Pictures Pvt. Ltd.

Meraj’s prolific career has spanned all facets of film in India, both indie and blockbuster - from running production management on hits such as Black, Kasoor, and Ek Din 24 Ghante, to working as an Executive Producer on classics such as Mumbai Cutting, Once Upon A Time In Mumbai and Gangs Of Wasseypur. He has also served as a Line Producer on award-winning international productions such as The Lunchbox and Trishna. Leveraging his vast breadth of production experience, Meraj founded his independent production house Wingman Pictures in 2007, with the goal of bringing innovative thinking to the Hindi media industry.

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