Danis Tanovic’s controversial film Tigers is getting a worldwide digital release on ZEE5 on 21st of this month.

The trailer of the film was dropped some time back. Do take a look.

Directed By: Danis Tanovic
Produced By: Prashita Chaudhary, Kshitij Chaudhary, Guneet Monga, Anurag Kashyap, Andy Paterson, Cat Villers, Cedomir Kolar and Marc Baschet
Cast: Emraan Hashmi, Geetanjali, Adil Hussain & Danny Huston
Sceenplay: Danis Tanovic & Andy Paterson
Music: JAM8
DOP: Erol Zubcevic
Editor: Prerna Saigal
Sound Designer: Anthony B Jayaruban
Production designer: Rachna Rastogi & K.K. Muralidharan
Costume Designer: Niharika Bhasin khan
Casting: Seher Latif, CSA
Line Producer: Vishal Bajaj

“NARI TERI YAHI KAHANI TO #BoreMatKarYaar”

A SCREENWRITING WORKSHOP BY PAROMITA VOHRA ON GENDER SENSITISATION

Feminist ideas always show up as an exception in Hindi films – or most films for that matter. It is crisis, revolution, morality play around themes of rape, dowry, divorce, revenge, victimhood or heroism. But does a feminist film always come waving a flag? Or can we imagine it more interestingly, more true to life, more humorous and sexy with more smarts and heart? Could Hindi Masala RomCom be more feminist than a film about feminism? Are songs and beauty, love and interiority full of feminist possibility (Yes!)? Can we write different female characters without writing different male characters? Can we re-conceptualise ‘issue-based films’? In other words – can we imagine an effortless feminism? One that is part of every kind of film?

Paromita Vohra is a writer & a filmmaker whose work mixes fiction and non-fiction to explore themes of urban life, popular culture, love, desire and gender. Her films as writer include the internationally released feature Khamosh Pani/Silent Waters and as well as the play Ishqiya Dharavi Ishtyle. She is the founder and Creative Director of Agents of Ishq (a unique digital project about sex & love in India)

Date: November 15th, 2018 (Thursday) Time: 05:30 PM

Venue: SWA Office, 201 – 204, Richa Building, Plot No. B – 29, Off New Link Road, Opposite Citi Mall, Andheri (West) Mumbai

NOTE: Only for SWA members. To attend, RSVP by sending an email to contact@swaindia.org Limited seats (for first 45 members only – On ‘First Come, First Served’ basis).

Details: www.swaindia.org/blog/gender-sensitisation-workshop-by-paromita-vohra/

Netflix concluded its inaugural content event in Asia, “See What’s Next: Asia” with a celebration of the company’s rapidly growing diverse content slate in India. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and chief content officer Ted Sarandos joined performers and creators from India to announce eight original films and a new original series. The showcase also included updates on four Indian original series that were previously announced.

“We celebrate India today with an incredible line-up of original films and series that are right now filming across India. This line-up cuts across genres from horror to fantasy and in locations from Leh to Mumbai. The breadth of stories with its local settings and complex characters is incredible and we can’t wait for people to discover and fall in love with them,” said Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer for Netflix.

The “Celebrating India” session at the event saw media and influencers from 11 countries across Asia witness the breadth and depth of Netflix Indian Originals. The updates on four original series include:

  • A trailer for Rajma Chawal, a humorous family drama set in Chandni Chowk, New Delhi, which is set to release globally on Netflix on November 30, 2018. Rishi Kapoor, Amyra Dastur, Aparshakti Khurana and Anirudh Tanwar act in the film, directed by Leena Yadav.
  • A teaser trailer for Selection Day, a series based on Aravind Adiga’s book of the same name. Produced by Anil Kapoor Film Company and Seven Stories Ltd, Selection Day is a coming-of-age drama about two brothers who are raised by their strict, obsessive father to be star cricket players.
  • The cast of upcoming series Baahubali: Before the Beginning, with Mrunal Thakur as Sivagami, Rahul Bose as Skandadasa, Atul Kulkarni, Vaquar Shaikh, Jameel Khan, Siddharth Arora and Anup Soni.
  • The cast of Leila, a dystopian fiction series produced by Deepa Mehta, including Huma Qureshi in the title role and Siddharth Suryanarayan.

Netflix rounded off these updates with the announcement of a new original series:

Typewriter is about a haunted house and a haunted book that stir the imagination of a group of young, wannabe ghost hunters, and a dog, determined to capture the ghost that plagues the notorious home in their neighbourhood in Goa. When a new family and their captivating daughter move into the haunted home, the crew finds it difficult to balance the demands of school and chores with the renewed urgency to capture the neighbourhood ghost before it is too late.

Underlining its investment in original films in India, Netflix unveiled eight new original Indian films spanning genres and involving the best of established and new Indian talent:

Chopsticks is about an under-confident but talented girl, sidestepped at every stage of her life, who seeks out an enigmatic con to help recover her stolen car from a goat-loving, crazy Mumbai gangster. In the process, she finds her confidence and place in the sun. Along with Mithila Palkar who won hearts in Netflix series Little Things 02, Abhay Deol and Vijay Raaz will act in the film. Chopsticks is produced by Ashvini Yardi of Vineyard Productions and directed by Sachin Yardi.

Bulbul, produced by Anushka Sharma and Karnesh Sharma’s Clean Slate Films, is a period piece set in a vibrant atmosphere amidst age-old beliefs and superstitions. Satya and his brother’s child bride, Bulbul, were inseparable until he was sent to England for his education. On his return, he finds Bulbul has been abandoned by his brother and now lives a solitary existence as the enigmatic lady-of-the-palace, dedicating herself to the welfare of the people. But their ancestral village is plagued by mysterious deaths and stories of a haunting by a woman who lives in the trees. Satya must find the truth behind the lore and save his village from the evil “chudail with the inverted feet”.

Upstarts is a bromance about three college graduates from small-town India, captivated by the startup mania sweeping the country. As they enter the rollercoaster startup ecosystem of big dreams, big money and bigger sharks, they are faced with a big choice – their dreams, or their friendship. Directed by Udai Singh Pawar, Upstarts is produced by Raja Menon, Janani Ravichandran and Jawahar Sharma of Bandra West Productions. This film is supported by real-life heroes from the startup world in Bengaluru.

Cobalt Blue, based on the best-selling novel of the same name, is the story of a brother and sister who fall in love with the same man, and how a traditional Marathi family is shattered by the ensuing events. This story brings out the pain and the beauty of forbidden love, and is written and directed by Sachin Kundalkar.

15th August, produced by Madhuri Dixit, is set in a Mumbai chawl, and follows the course of a single day as its residents prepare for the flag-hoisting ceremony. This Marathi film is about the struggles of middle-class India and in a soaring climax, it is about how love sets us free.

Music Teacher, directed by Sarthak Dasgupta, is a story about an emotionally troubled music teacher, essayed by Manav Kaul, who gets a chance to come to terms with his bitterness with an estranged student, now a renowned celebrity singer of Bollywood. The music teacher vows to get back everything he lost in the past risking all his achievements in the present day.

Hotel Mumbai tells the astonishing true story of the victims and survivors of the devastating attacks on Mumbai in 2008. The film directed by Anthony Maras stars Dev Patel, Armie Hammer, Nazanin Boniadi, Anupam Kher, Jason Isaacs. This film is available on Netflix in the SAARC region only.

Firebrand, directed by Aruna Raje and produced by Priyanka Chopra, Firebrand is a Marathi Film that follows a successful lawyer, a sexual assault victim played by Usha Jadhav, as she tackles difficult family cases while also dealing with intimacy issues in her own marriage. Girish Kulkarni essays the role of her husband Madhav Patkar, an architect by profession. Sachin Khedekar and Rajeshwari Sachdev play a couple in the movie which is high on drama.

About Netflix

Netflix is the world’s leading internet entertainment service with 130 million paid memberships in over 190 countries enjoying TV series, documentaries and feature films across a wide variety of genres and languages. Members can watch as much as they want, anytime, anywhere, on any internet-connected screen. Members can play, pause and resume watching, all without commercials or commitments.

Come November 21st, and fans of Danis Tanovic can watch his much awaited and controversial film Tigers, on Zee’s online streaming platform ZEE5.

The film, based on a real life story, stars Emraan Hashmi, where he plays a Pakistani salesman Syed Aamir Raza, who is fighting a company (allegedly Nestle) whose baby formula is killing infants. The starcast of the film includes Adil Hussain, Supriya Pathak, Danny Huston and Satyadeep Mishra. Allegedly, Nestle paid the makers of the film not to release the film in theatres.

It’s produced by Guneet Monga’s Sikhya Entertainment, and is ZEE5’s first original Hindi film. It premiered at TIFF 2015.

Tanovic has directed films like Death in Sarajevo, Hell, Triage, and No Man’s Land – which won him an Academy Award in 2002.

Roma

Alfonso Cuaron’s latest will be discussed for weeks after release, for it’s ability to create conversations about family, employment, womanhood, relationships, ethnicity, culture, revolutions, politics, and, even dog poop. Roma will certainly develop religious followers across a period of time, especially because of it’s shot like an epic period drama but in fellini style, although not as surreal as the latter -Thanks for bringing fellini back. Cuaron’s latest is definitely his best work, although one can always argue otherwise.

Roma, being Cuaron’s semi autobiographical work takes us through the lives of two women who raised him, the young domestic worker, Cleo; and the mother of four, Sofia. Both these women have been abandoned by men, sketching out to grow into flawed, strong, and memorable characters. The narrative then follows Cleo’s journey into an unexpected pregnancy, and Sofia’s journey after her husband absconds away in the name of work.

roma

Roma starts with a scene of the floor being cleaned, and ends up at the sky. This film puts Alfonso Cuaron right up there with the likes of Fellini, Satyajit Ray, and Truffaut, who have made such epic semi autobiographical work from their childhood memories. Some of the sweeping pan shots of 360 degree need to be watched to believe, they look gorgeous on the big screen -why is this a Netflix film! Also, another achievement on the film would be the immersive sound design which takes you right into Mexico.

It would be criminal to not mention the breathtaking scene towards the end at a family holiday on the beach. The scene of Cleo and the kids in the sea is one of the best monochromatic scenes ever seen. This dripping with love, water, and, dog-poop poetry by Cuaron on his childhood memories and the women who shaped him is a must watch, his work is more empathetic than the people he is compared with earlier in this write up.


Climax 

Climax can easily be said to be Gasper Noe’s comeback. If not for the hype, I would’ve easily resisted watching another film by Gasper Noe, a filmmaker who has which always relied upon sensationalism, provocativeness, and intensely shocking narratives and visuals. His latest is more shocking and more deranged, but this time, his antics work in the favour of the story.

A troupe of young dancers have gathered in an old school building’s empty rehearsal hall for a party, which hits high notes of dance in the beginning but ends up hitting horrifying notes of a bad acid trip, which at some points you wish would get over earlier. Such is the horrifying portrayal of a young dance troupe’s party which quickly goes downhill.

image-w856

Noe’s comeback is innovative in its fixation of treating this as a dance film, even when people are dying of drug overdose. This is a break from Noe’s sexual obsession and stays true to his vision, the camera work accompanies the dance styles sequences as the camera flips and sweeps at so many occasions, as if the camera is also dancing on acid with the troupe. The visuals are so mesmerising that you end up sincerely watching even the horrifying ones towards the latter half. Gasper Noe is an important filmmaker because he gives us a break from the usual cinematic diet, providing visceral, stunning, and bold images of a young dance group, mostly women suffering from a bad trip of LSD. A strong mention for the kickass innovation, Gasper Noe has done with the credit sequences, randomly popping up in the film.

 

Woman at War

Weapons, check! Strategy, check! And of course a live band to accompany the warrior, check! This surreal Icelandic film, although conventional, has much to offer and enjoy. This political-musical-comedy is a terrific watch, where some dry Icelandic humour and absurd characters, spice up the otherwise conventional tale.

Halla, a middle aged choir director, has a secret mission, to bring down the heavy industrialisation in Iceland, using nothing but a bow and an arrow. Alongside, she has even written a new manifesto which is sent flying across the town as leaflets, found an accomplice in her long lost cousin, and, has gotten her application to adopt a girl child accepted in Ukraine. One cannot resist to stand by Halla’s strong resilience, whose living room has posters of Gandhi and Mandela.

womanatwar_1

This local Icelandic Robin Hood’s character is fleshed out extremely well, allowing the viewer to accompany her in this tough adventure, amidst stunning locations of Iceland, which are magically shot in the film, allowing the rural and rustic Iceland to grow into it’s own character for the film. The vibrantly offbeat mood of the narrative is accompanied brilliantly with the live band playing some eclectic music to support Halla. The weirdly placed jokes (deadpan humour style), like the one on Vikings, are sure to leave you in splits.

 

Touch Me Not

Romanian film ‘Touch Me Not’ raises questions about body, sexuality, and intimacy, in the most dishonest and non-intimate manner. This film has admirers who have awarded it the Golden Bear at Berlin, however, failed to raise any interest for me. The film manages to blend fiction with reality seamlessly, but ends up exploring more themes than it can handle. The strange relationship humans have with their bodies could have been a strong subject, this however is a huge missed opportunity.

Laura Benson is Laura, who appears in dialogue scenes with the director, discussing her issues with voyeurism. Christian Bayerlein is a man with spinal muscular dystrophy who wants to challenge body-image preconceptions. Tomas Lemarquis is looking at comparable ideas. It is all heading towards the sex club. The scenes featuring Christian, narrating his perception about beauty and touch are some of the only watchable parts of the film. The rest of the affair is extremely naive, petty, and radical to an extent that it can be an attempt of narcissistic filmmaking.

donottouch-750x400
Harsh Desai

The official selection of projects for National Film Development Corporation’s Film Bazaar Co-Production Market 2018 has been announced. This year, 20 projects have been selected to participate in the Market. After the success of Open Pitch in previous editions, this year again the selected filmmakers will be pitching their projects to a curated audience of national and international producers, financiers and sales agents.

The selected projects for 2018 are –
A Home Far Away | English, Spanish | India, France, USA
Director: Mohsen Makhmalbaf
Mohsen Makhmalbaf is known as one of the most influential filmmakers and founders of the new wave of Iranian cinema in the world. His films like Salam Cinema, A Moment of Innocence, Gabbeh, Kandahar and The President have been widely well received across the globe and have brought him over 50 international awards from the prestigious film festivals like Cannes Film Festival and Venice International Film Festival.
Producer: Sanjay Bhattacharjee, Sitting Duck Pictures
Sanjay Bhattacharjee is a UCLA alumni with 20 years’ production experience and has been a producer on projects like Frozen (Toronto International Film Festival, 2007), Manorama Six Feet Under and Amu (Berlinale Forum and FIPRESCI Critics’ Award, 2005). Sanjay is currently producing an adaptation of Paul Theroux’s novel The Elephanta Suite, co-written by Sooni Taraporevala, starring Brendan Fraser, in partnership with Brillstein Entertainment Partners.
Producer: Mauktik Kulkarni, Mauktik Productions Pvt Ltd
Mauktik Kulkarni has more than 10 years of experience in fund-raising and project management. He has co-produced and executive produced Riding On A Sunbeam, a unique travel film directed by Brahmanand Singh and edited by Irene Dhar Malik, both national award winners. The film A Home Far Away is based on his solo, 8000 km bike trip in South America and the memoir A Ghost of Che authored by him.
Producer: Charlotte Uzu, Les Films d’Ici
Since 2003, Charlotte Uzu has been developing international films for Les Films d’Ici and structures financing with co-producers worldwide. Her filmography as a producer includes projects like- Waltz with Bashir (Ari Folman), Aurélie Dupont (Cédric Klapisch), Louis XV, The Black Sun (Thierry Binisti), An Opera Season (Richard Copans), Marilyn, Last Sessions (Patrick Jeudy), Clint Eastwood, A Life in Film (Michel Henry Wilson), Cerro Bayo (Victoria Galardi), Operation Libertad (Nicolas Wadimoff) and 3000 Nights (Mai Masri)

A New Prophet | Bengali, English | Bangladesh, USA
Director: Rezwan Shahriar Sumit
Sumit’s first docudrama City Life, earned him a place at the Berlinale Talents 2008 as an up-and-coming director. His short films have premiered at Copenhagen International Children’s Film Festival, Sarasota and New York Film Festival; and have been acquired by MUBI, VPRO, ASPiRE TV for worldwide distribution. Sumit’s first feature The Salt in Our Waters was awarded Bangladesh’s National Film Grant, France’s CNC and a writing grant by Spike Lee Film Production. He is also a Cannes-IEFTA Global Film Expression alumni. A New Prophet was awarded with the Sloan Foundation Production Grant in 2017.
Producer: Lilian Mehrel
Lilian Mehrel is a writer, director, and multimedia artist. Her work in immersive storytelling has premiered at Tribeca’s Interactive Playground, Google Daydream: Immersive Films Program and at the Tribeca Immigration Co/Lab: AR narrative exhibit in 2016. She is also a Google Tilt Brush artist. Lillian is also the recipient of awards like IFP Marcie Bloom Fellowship 2016-17, Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans in 2013, Sloan Foundation (The Loneliest, 2017), Nancy Malone Directing Award, 2015 and Kodak Student Film Award nomination.

Amar Colony | Hindi, Punjabi, Bengali | India
Director & Producer: Siddharth Chauhan, Secret Corridor Pictures
Siddharth is an independent filmmaker from Shimla. He founded Secret Corridor Pictures with the aim of working with the local talent in his home town Shimla. He has won the Satyajit Ray Award at London Indian Film Festival for his short film Papa in 2017. His latest short film Pashi premiered at Rhode Island Film Festival and was recently reviewed by Indie Shorts Magazine as the Best Indian Short Film of 2018.

Bend in the Coffin | Sinhalese | Sri Lanka
Director: Ilango Ramanathan
Ilango’s short film Silent Tears has traveled to 27 International Festivals and won 19 Awards and was screened at Locarno Open Doors 2017. A graduate from the Rockport College USA, he has participated in Asian Film Academy and Berlinale Talents. He has directed several social awareness commercials for child abuse, autism, and heart and cancer awareness for organizations like UNICEF. His debut feature Scent of a Dead Body is currently under production.
Producer: Hiranya Perera, Silent Frames Productions (Pvt) Ltd
Hiranya started out as the producer of Good Morning Sri Lanka – MTV. As the youngest woman director-producer, she has directed TV commercials for Stein Studios, while also taking care of the end-to-end production. She started own production house, Silent Frames Productions where she produced her first short film, Silent Tears directed by Ilango Ramanathan. She continues to produce TV commercials and films in Sri Lanka. Her first feature project Scent of a Dead Body is currently under production.

Bichal Sal (Rapture) | Garo | India, China
Director: Dominic Sangma
A graduate from Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute, India his diploma film titled Rong’Kuchak (Echoes) won the National Student Film Award for Best Short Film in 2014 and Special Mention in Ca ‘Foscari Short Film Festival, Venice 2015. His debut feature film MA•AMA, an Indo-China Production was presented at the Film Bazaar Work-in-Progress Lab 2017 and will premiere at the International Competition section of MAMI Mumbai Film Festival 2018.
Producer: Jiangshang Xu, Anna Films
Jianshang Xu graduated from the Directing Department of Beijing Film Academy, China. Her Diploma short film Void had its world premiere at Busan International Film Festival 2018. MA•AMA was her first international co-production feature with Indian director Dominic Sangma. Rapture is her second feature film.
Currently, she is pursuing course in producing at Busan Asian Film School, Korea.

Fairy Flower Miles | Hindi, Bhojpuri | India
Director: Balaka Ghosh
Balaka Ghosh is a filmmaker based in Kolkata, India. Her film The Vehicle with The Soul Of A Man has traveled to 30 international film festivals. Her documentary Footprints in the Desert, co-produced by NHK Japan and funded by AND-DMZ fund, premiered at Busan International Film Festival 2014. Two of her fiction scripts have been awarded in Asia Pacific Screen Lab, Australia (2014) & Asian Cinema Fund, Korea (The Fog Catchers, 2017). In the past, her projects have received funding from IDFA, AND-DMZ Fund, Doordarshan, IDFA-Bertha fund, Films Division, IGNCA(GoI), NHK Japan, Banff Mountain Culture, and Al Jazeera.
Producer: Kumud Ranjan, Next Story Communication Pvt. Ltd
Kumud Ranjan has been a producer and cinematographer of feature length films produced by NHK Japan, IDFA Bertha fund, Al Jazeera English, BANFF Mountain Culture, BIFF AND-DMZ. In the past, he has worked as a video journalist with multinational television channels. He is producing an experimental short fiction Love in The Time of Acid Rains which was pitched at The Palace Film Festival, Bulgaria.

Girls Will Be Girls | English, Hindi | India
Director: Shuchi Talati
Shuchi Talati is an alumnus of the American Film Institute and recipient of the Women in Film endowment. She just finished story producing the first season of WYATT CENAC’S Problem Areas for HBO on policing in America. Her tenth short film, Mae and Ash was an official selection at the Atlanta Film Festival, Palm Beach International Film Festival, and WAMM Film Festival. She is collaborating with an all-woman team to develop her first feature film, Girls Will Be Girls.
Producer: Richa Chadha, Kamli Pictures
Richa Chadha is an actor, writer, and producer known for her work in films like Anurag Kashyap’s Gangs of Wasseypur (premiered at Director’s Fortnight, Cannes 2012 and won her a Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actress), the anthology film Words with Gods by Mira Nair (Venice International Film Festival, 2014) and Masaan, an Indo-French Co-Production (Un Certain Regard – Cannes Film Festival, 2015). Richa produced her first short film Khoon Aali Chithi in 2017. She is committed to developing content that challenges in the male gaze in media production.

Hangdan | Assamese | India
Director & Producer: Jaicheng Jai Dohutia, Mayamara Production
Jaicheng Dohutia is a filmmaker from Assam, India. He directed and produced his debut feature film Haanduk (The Hidden Corner) which was part of Film Bazaar Work-In-Progress Lab, 2015. The film went on to bag the Jury Grand Prize at 18th MAMI Mumbai Film Festival 2016, Best Feature Film in Moran at 64th National Film Awards 2016, NETPAC Award for Best Asian film at All Light International Film Festival 2017 and Best Film at 7th Assam State Awards 2018.

Hinterland | Hindi | India
Director: Rahil Ahmed Patel
Rahil Ahmed Patel has been the second unit director on Abhishek Chaubey’s upcoming film Sonchiriya and Zoya Akhtar’s Amazon Prime Series Made in Heaven. Having worked with Abhishek Chaubey and Vishal Bhardwaj, his credits as a 1st Assistant Director include films like Dedh Ishqiya (2014), Udta Punjab (2016), Matru ki Bijlee ka Mandola (2013) and 7 Khoon Maaf (2011).
Producer: Abhishek Chaubey, MacGuffin Pictures LLP
Abhishek Chaubey is the co-founder of MacGuffin pictures that has recently produced A Death in the Gunj (2017) and the upcoming Sonchiriya. As a director, he has helmed critically acclaimed films like Udta Punjab (2016), Dedh Ishqiya (2014) and Ishqiya (2010). He was also the creative producer on the film Ek thi Daayan (2013). Abhishek’s writing repertoire includes such acclaimed films as Omkara (2006) for which he won Filmfare Award for Best Dialogue Writing, and Kaminey (2009).
Producer: Honey Trehan, MacGuffin Pictures LLP
Co-founder of MacGuffin Pictures, Honey Trehan is the co-producer of A Death in The Gunj (2017) and upcoming Sonchiriya. He was the creative producer on Talvar (2015) and associate creative producer on Chittagong (2013). His filmography includes such films as Maqbool (2003), Omkara (2006), 7 Khoon Maaf (2011), Talvar (2015) and Udta Punjab (2016).

In the Belly of a Tiger | Hindi | India
Director: Jatla Siddartha
Jatla Siddartha is an alumnus of the Film and Television Institute of India and the Asian Film Academy, Busan. His first short film, The Artist premiered at Busan International Film Festival in 2012 while his debut feature Love and Shukla had its world premiere at Busan International Film Festival 2017. The film traveled to more than 30 festivals worldwide and won NETPAC Award at Jogja-NETPAC Asian Film Festival. He has also been awarded Busan Script Development Fund (Asian Cinema Fund) 2018 for In The Belly of a Tiger.
Producer: Amanda Mooney, Momo Films
Amanda Mooney is an associate creative director and filmmaker based in Mumbai. Her recent work includes Love and Shukla (NETPAC Award, World premiere, Busan International Film Festival), Belongings (2017), and In the Belly of Tiger (Busan Script Development Fund). She is also currently producing and directing a documentary on the DACA generation in post-Trump America, Hermosa Puerta Grande.

Kho – Kho | Malayalam | India
Director & Producer: Rahul Riji Nair, First Print Studios
Rahul Riji Nair founded the production company First Print Studios under which he made his debut feature film as a writer-director, Ottamuri Velicham (Light in the Room). The film won him several state awards including Best Feature Film in 2017 and World Premiered at the New York Indian Film Festival 2018. The film also won the German Star of India Award for Best Feature film at the Indian Film Festival of Stuttgart, 2018. The film also premiered at the India Gold Competition Section of MAMI Mumbai Film Festival 2018.

Little Thomas | Hindi, Konkani, English | India
Director: Kaushal Oza
Kaushal Oza is an alumnus of the Film and Television Institute of India, and has won National Awards for his two short films, Vaishnav Jan Toh and Afterglow. Afterglow was also India’s Official entry to the South-Asian Film Festival of SAARC, where it won the Special Jury Award in 2013. Little Thomas was developed at the NFDC Children’s Screenwriters’ Lab 2016.
Producer: Shaan Vyas, Awe Studios
Shaan Vyas worked as a producer with Sikhya Entertainment and successfully produced films like The Lunchbox, Masaan, Zubaan and Dear Dad, during his tenure there. He recently produced the BFI partnered Indo-British horror Darkness Visible and Aasha the Street Dog with Cinestaan International. His new production outfit Awe Studios, aims to empower filmmakers with a unique voice and vision and take them to the world.

Lonak (The Dark Year) | Hindi | India
Director & Producer: Sange Dorjee Thongdok, TNT Films
Sange Dorjee is an alumnus of Satyajit Ray Film & Television Institution. His debut feature film Crossing Bridges was the first feature film in Sherdukpen dialect of Arunanchal Pradesh. It also won the National Award for Best Feature Film in Sherdukpen in 2013. In 2016, he was selected for the Berlinale Talent Campus. Under his production banner TNT Films, he directed and shot The Nest, a documentary film which won the Best North-East Film award at Woodpecker International film festival. The Nest also won Best Film and Cinematography awards at the 5th National Documentary and Short Film Festival. His second feature film River Song has been produced by Jar Pictures, Mumbai.

Reshma Shera | Hindi | India
Director: Megha Ramaswamy
Megha Ramaswamy’s two films, Newborns (2014) and Bunny (2015), both had their world premieres at TIFF, and traveled to various Indian and international festivals. Her short film The Last Music Store won the audience Best Documentary award at South Asian International Film Festival, USA. She also has her own production banner, Missfit Films. Megha also co-hosts CAUSE EFFECT, a platform that produces cause related content and outreach programs and is a beneficiary of the prestigious Chicken & Egg grant for women filmmakers.
Currently, she is working on the final stages of her debut feature set in her own whimsical version of Mumbai – The Odds.
Producer: Alan McAlex, JAR Pictures
Alan started his journey assisting top cinematographers in the country but soon identified his passion for production. He has line produced critically acclaimed independent films like Frozen (TIFF 2007), Ocean of an Old Man (Busan 2008), Autumn (TIFF 2010), Peepli Live (Sundance 2010) and Patang (Berlinale ’11). He cofounded JAR Pictures, a versatile production company steadily gaining hold in the Indian film industry and produced successful films like Gangs of Wasseypur (Director’s Fortnight, Cannes 2012), Liar’s Dice (Sundance 2014 and India’s official entry to Oscars 2014) and Killa (Berlinale 2014 – Crystal Bear Winner) while helming the line production of cinematic achievements like Dangal and Talvar as an Executive Producer.

Some Little Shreds of Memory | Hindi | India, Germany
Director & Producer: Karan Talwar
Karan Talwar is the co-founder of Harkat Studios, an arts studio based in Mumbai and Berlin. He has directed many short documentary stories and experimental films as part of his work at Harkat. Karan has also curated exhibits like The Museum of Ordinary Objects and In the mood for Melancholia, where he worked with material memory and experiential storytelling. With a multi-disciplinary background, he matches ideas with mediums and his work ranges from conceptual installations to filmmaking. He has assisted filmmaker Prakash Jha on projects like Raajneeti, Satyagraha, Chakravyuh, and Aarakshan.
Producer: Michaela Talwar, Harkat Studios U.G.
Michaela Strobel is a producer, journalist, filmmaker, marketing consultant and co-founder of Harkat Studios. She has worked as an international correspondent for ZDF in Brussels and concept developer and strategist for public and private TV channels. She has produced a variety of original and marketing content for companies like Netflix, Fox Star Studios and Disney.

Swan Song | English, Hindi, Black Mountain Monpa, Dzongkha or Bhutanese | India, Bhutan
Director: Vandana Kataria
Vandana Kataria graduated from the National Institute of Design and went on to direct numerous commercials, music videos, and corporate films. She has worked as a Production Designer on feature films like Detective Byomkesh Bakshy (2015), Shanghai (2012), and Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! (2008). In 2016, she was selected for the Berlinale Talent Campus. She made her debut as a writer and director with Noblemen produced by Saregama India Limited. Presently, she is engaged in the pre-production of her next film with RSVP.
Producer: Milan Agarwal, Tulsea
Milan Agarwal is the content development and strategist at Tulsea, which is a strategic talent and content management company. Tulsea has produced films like Sulemani Keeda (2014) and a national award winning short film Tamaash (2013). The company also has an unparalleled roster of filmmaking talents, including writers like Juhi Chaturvedi (October, Piku, Vicky Donor), Sudip Sharma (Udta Punjab, NH-10), Akshat Verma (Kaalakaandi, Delhi Belly), and Varun Grover (Masaan, Sacred Games) to directors like Vikramaditya Motwane (Trapped, Udaan, Lootera, Sacred Games), Navdeep Singh (NH-10), and Alankrita Shrivastava (Lipstick Under My Burkha).

Tito-Mitho (Bitter-Sweet) | Nepali | India
Director: Tribeny Rai
Tribeny Rai is an independent filmmaker from Sikkim, India. An alumnus of Satyajit Ray film and Television Institute, she has worked with Prasar Bharati, Doordarshan Kendra Gangtok on a series of documentary films based on women empowerment. Her debut short film Yathawat (As It Is) premiered at the International Film Festival of India 2015 (Goa), Kathmandu International Mountain Film Festival (KIMFF), and Kolkata International
Film Festival. Her experimental film For Children Only won the Best Sound Design award at National Student Film Awards 2015. In 2015, she was selected as a film fellow for Dharamshala International Film Festival Fellowship Programme and in 2016, she attended the 8th VGIK International Summer School held in Russia as the only Indian representative.
Producer- Geeta Rai, Dalley Khorsani Productions
Geeta Rai is a school teacher by profession and a film enthusiast by choice. She is actively involved in social works aiming to empower women of villages financially and socially. She has produced three films namely-Memory of A Heart (screened at 13th IAWRT Asian Women Film Festival under the Artists’ Film and Video section), Daughter, and Sikkim Soccer Girls all directed by Tribeny Rai.

Three Mothers | Tamil, French | India, France
Director: Chezhiyan Ramalingam
Chezhiyan Ramalingam is a filmmaker and cinematographer who primarily works in the Tamil film industry. He won the Best Cinematography Award at London International Filmmaker Festival (LIFF) for the film Vagabond (Paradesi) in 2013. His debut feature film To Let won Best Indian film award in Kolkata International film festival and National Award for Best Regional film. He is also an acclaimed author of a series of books about cinema titled Ulaga Cinema (World Cinema) in Tamil.
Producer: Prema Chezhiyan, La cinema
Prema Chezhiyan is a professional music scholar, teacher and book publisher. After completing her higher studies from Trinity London Music College, she published ten volumes of books about Western Music theory in Tamil. The books got best publisher award from Ananda Vikatan 2011. Her first movie as a producer, To Let got her the National Award for Best Feature Film in Tamil.

Ullozhukku (Undercurrent) | Malayalam | India
Director: Christo Tomy
Christo Tomy, an alumnus of Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute, India is an independent filmmaker from Kerala, India. His short films Kamuki (Sweetheart) and Kanyaka (Virgin) won him National Awards for Best Direction (2016) and Best Debut Film (2014), respectively. He was selected for the 9th International Students Film Camp in Serbia, and the documentary he made there titled Apart, was listed as the second best work in the TV Story category at INTERFER – International Media Festival, Apatin, Serbia (2015). Undercurrent was also a part of the NFDC Screenwriters’ Lab, 2017.
Producer: Geetu Mohandas, Collective Phase One
Geetu Mohandas’s debut short film Are you listening? premiered at International Film Festival Rotterdam 2010. Her debut feature film Liar’s Dice, premiered in competition section at the Sundance Film Festival 2013 and was India’s official entry for the 87th Academy Awards. The film also won Best Actress and Best Cinematography awards at the 61st National Awards. She is an integral part of Collective Phase One, which was formed to create an alternative path in filmmaking. They have produced many acclaimed films like Rajeev Ravi’s Njan Steve Lopez, Kamal K. M’s I.D., among many others.

VR Peon | Hindi | India
Director: Kabir Mehta
Kabir Mehta’s first film a docu-fiction short film Sadhu In Bombay had its North American premiere at Slamdance Film Festival and won the award for Best Narrative Film at the 55th Ann Arbor Film Festival. His first feature length project BUDDHA.mov, a docu-fiction hybrid, had its world premiere at Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival 2017 in the First Features Competition and will have its Indian premiere at MAMI Mumbai Film Festival 2018.
Producer: Homi Adajania, Maddock Films
Homi Adajania is a writer and Indian film director of critically and commercially successful films like Being Cyrus, Cocktail, and Finding Fanny. Maddock Films, founded by Dinesh Vijan, is one of the prominent production houses in the Indian Film Industry with a wide slate of films including Love Aaj Kal, Cocktail, Badlapur, Hindi Medium and Stree recently. The core belief at Maddock is to make films which are both heavy on content as well as commercially viable and entertaining films. With an interesting slate of upcoming films, Maddock Films plans to continue creating memorable and exciting films for Indian & International audiences.

Cold War

The Best Director award winner at Cannes 2018, Pawel Pawlikowski’s Cold War is an epic love saga, in a 4:3 aspect ratio, where a man and a woman begin a tumultuous relationship in the ruins of post world war Poland. The film, as revealed in the end, is inspired and an ode to Pawlikowski’s parents and their love story. For me, this is Pawlikowski’s version of La La Land, and a triumphantly stronger version of it where the couple goes through 15 years of Cold War where they not only cross geographical territories, but also musical ones. Watching this at Regal, moved me into a Sahir Ludhyanvi mood. 

In 1949, while conducting auditions for a Polish folk troupe, Wiktor (Tomasz Kot) is smitten by Zula (Joanna Kulig, earlier seen in Pawlikowski’s stunning Oscar winner Ida), a village girl who could sing extremely well, and is unapologetic in acknowledging her involvement in her father’s murder too. Soon, the ensemble is formed, with Wiktor helming it, and a romance kickstarts,  helmed by Zula’s temperament. This temperamental couple (almost like America and Russia, although more romantically involved) in the cold backdrop, dance their way through this melancholic ballad across thousands of nights, meeting and separating from each other in Berlin, Yugoslavia, and even, Paris. 

The narrative shuffles from highs and low of the relationships, like the tides of the sea, into a melancholic end, almost like the sad ballad which moves from polish folk to French jazz, ultimately ending into a defeating silence. At just 89 minutes, Pawlikowski is completely in control of this epic, where the music allows poetic contemplation upon the carefully designed frames.

cold4_1581_107693844

 

Long Day’s Journey Into Night

Bi Gan gives a surreally hypnotic trip, which is a treat to watch, and an equally amusing trip to write about. Divided into two parts, this film’s first half is in 2D, exploring in no linear fashion, the loss and sadness of the protagonist; the second half of the film is a dreamy sequence, shot in a single take, and to be viewed in 3D. Watching this film is like entering into a local jadugar’s tent, you know everything is unreal, but you are still amazed at the countless possibilities. 

In the first half of the film, I was suspended into a semi lull stage, almost hypnotically following Wong Kar Wai styled sequences between the protagonist and the woman. These stylish sequences are often cut to show us the protagonist pondering poetically over life. Such atmospheric blend is sure to put one into drowsy state, and just when my eyes had completely surrendered to the protagonist, he entered a porn theatre and asked me to wear my 3D glasses with him, leading me into an almost hour long sequence. This part, shot in a surreal fashion, is a single take where the protagonist goes through phenomenal spaces like an old hallway of pool tables, a rustic room of slot machines, and an old touring karaoke van setup. One of the most beautiful portions of this long take is the bizarrely slow ropeway sequence which gives us a wider understanding of the space. Bi Gan shows signs of becoming an auteur, because this plotless film is so ambitious and yet strange. For instance, another sequence of the second half has a kid who promises to help the protagonist only if he can defeat him in Ping Pong -the ping pong game ends in a conversation on memories and time, which is extremely elusive.

Watching this film is a hallucinating experience, I would be unapologetic in saying that this was almost like lucid dreaming. Accompanied by a mesmerising cinematography and mesmerising soundscape, Long Day’s Journey into Night makes every other film playing at Mumbai Film Festival fall short in ambition and execution. However, everything at the end is only transitory.

long-days-journey-into-night

 

Non-Fiction

I am not amongst those who can resist an Oliver Assayas film, especially if it also happens to star the greatest of all time Juliette Binoche. Oliver Assayas has been one of the popular favourites at MAMI, with both Clouds of Sils Maria, and Personal Shopper receiving brilliant response. These earlier films were atmospheric thrillers which tackled contemporary themes, however, his latest Non-Fiction is like a warm evening embrace for writers and their contemporary issues. The mehfil of conversations which the lead characters create is a delightful watch.

Alain and Leonard, a writer and a publisher, are overwhelmed by the radical digitalisation of the publishing world. Deaf to the desires of their wives, they struggle to find their place in a society whose locks they can no longer key into. Twitter and Instagram seem to be new literary platforms, and books are no longer in vogue, however e-books are selling like pancakes, and audiobooks recited by celebrity stars are even more in demand. All the four characters are dealing with the change in times, in their own particular manner. They however, share their frustration while hustling through these changes. 

Using dialogues as verbal duels; references of Michael Haneke, Bergman, and even, Star Wars; and the gorgeous performance of Juliette Binoche; Oliver Assayas delivers a scintillating and thought provokingly beautiful Non-Fiction, which although simple in treatment, is ambitious in digging undiscovered depths of philosophy. Almost like a Woody Allen dialogue based tango, Non-Fiction treats heavy questions in a breezy manner, resulting into a sweet, funny, philosophical, and cheerful drama. It is easy to fall short of words while describing Non-Fiction, because all the lines in Non-Fiction are such literary gems, you might have to watch it twice to get the eloquent delight created here.

non-fiction.jpg

Harsh Desai