Author Archive

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.

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.

Arati Raval-Pandey is a huge Mumbai Film Festival fan and religiously prepares her to-watch list every year.

This year too, she has prepared a pool of the most recommended films that she has collated after reading numerous lists and articles on the web.

She is also one of the oldest readers of MFC, and thus decided to share the exploits of her research with all of us this time.

The only disclaimer is that, like all lists, it is a qualitative opinion of various film lovers. A lot of films that people are looking forward to, won’t be here. It’s no Bible – just a reference for those who have little time to know what are the films with most buzz.

  1. Touch Me Not
    Director: Adina Pintilie
    Language / Country: Romanian
    Festival: Golden Bear – Berlin

    Supposed to greatly divide audiences. About modern sexuality

  2. The Heiresses
    Director: Marcelo Martinessi
    Country: Paraguay
    Festival: Best Actress – Berlin
  3. Reza
    Director: Alireza Motamedi
    Language / Country: Persian

    Delightful modern rom-com

  4. Manta Ray
    Director: Phuttiphong Aroonpheng
    Language / Country: Thai
    Festival: Venice Horizon
  5. Azougue Nazare
    Director: Tiago Melo
    Language / Country: Spanish
    Festival: Bright Future – Rotterdam
  6. And Breathe Normally
    Director: Issold Uggadottir
    Language / Country: Icelandic
    Festival: Direction – Sundance
  7. Ma.Ama
    Director: Dominic Sangma
    Country: India

    Only Indian film in the International Competition

  8. Birds of Passage
    Director: Ciro Guerra and Cristina Gallego
    Language / Country: Spanish

    Colombia’s entry for the Oscars

  9. Woman at War
    Director: Benedikt Erlingsson
    Language / Country: Icelandic

    Iceland’s entry for the Oscars

  10. Shoplifters
    Director: Hirokazu Kore-eda
    Language / Country: Japanese
    Festival: Palm D’or – Cannes
  11. Supa Modo
    Director: Likarion Wainaina
    Country: Kenya
    Festival: Crystal Bear – Berlin
  12. Roma
    Director: Alfonso Cuaron
    Language / Country: Spanish
    Festival: Golden Lion – Venice

    Mexico’s entry to the Oscars

  13. Cold War
    Director: Pawel Pawlikowski
    Language / Country: Polish
    Festival: Best Director – Cannes
  14. Burning
    Director: Lee Chang-dong
    Language / Country: Korean
    Festival: FIPRESCI – Cannes

    South Korea’s entry to the Oscars

  15. Champions
    Director: Javier Fesser
    Language / Country: Spanish

    Spain’s entry to the Oscars

  16. Border
    Director: Ali Abbasi
    Language / Country: Swedish
    Festival: Un Certain Regard – Winner

    Sweden’s entry to the Oscars

  17. The Wild Pear Tree
    Director: Nuri Bilge Ceylan
    Language / Country: Turkish
  18. A 12 Year Night
    Director: Alvaro Brechner
    Language / Country: Uruguay
    Festival: Venice, San Sebastian

    Uruguay’s entry to the Oscars

  19. The Miseducation of Cameron Post
    Director: Desiree Akhavan
    Language / Country: English
    Festival: US Dramatic Grand Jury – Sundance
  20. Nancy
    Director: Christina Choe
    Language / Country: English
    Festival: Sundance – Screenwriting Award
  21. Kailash
    Director: Derek Doneen
    Language / Country: Hindi / English
    Festival: Doc. Jury Prize – Sundance

    Documentary on Kailash Satyarthi

  22. Three Identical Strangers
    Director: Tim Wardle
    Language / Country: English
    Festival: Sp. Jury for Storytelling – Sundance
  23. Matangi Maya M.I.A.
    Director: Steve Loveridge
    Language / Country: English
    Festival: World Cinema Doc – Sundance
  24. Mug
    Director: Malgorzata Szumowska
    Language / Country: Polish
    Festival: Grand Jury Prize – Berlin
  25. In the Aisles
    Director: Thomas Stuber
    Language / Country: German
    Festival: Ecumenical Jury – Berlin
  26. The Day I Lost My Shadow
    Director: Soudade Kaadan
    Language / Country: Arabic
    Festival: Lion of the Future – Venice
  27. BlacKkKlansman
    Director: Spike Lee
    Language / Country: English
    Festival: Competed for Palm d’Or; Won Grand Prix

    African American detective infiltrates a KKK conspiracy

  28. 3 Faces
    Director: Jafar Panahi
    Language / Country: Persian
    Festival: Best Screenplay – Cannes
  29. The Image Book
    Director: Godard
    Language / Country: French
    Festival: Special Palm d’Or – Cannes
  30. Diamantino
    Director: Gabriel A, Daniel S.
    Language / Country: Portuguese
    Festival: Nespresso Grand Prize – Cannes
  31. Climax
    Director: Gasper Noe
    Language / Country: French / English
    Festival: Director’s Fortnight – Cannes

    Musical Horror

  32. Samouni Road
    Director: Stefano Savona
    Language / Country: Italian
    Festival: Documentary Award – Cannes
  33. Widows
    Director: Steve McQueen
    Language / Country: English
    Festival: TIFF, Closing Film at MFF
  34. Shadow
    Director: Zhang Yimou
    Country: Chinese
    Festival: Venice, TIFF
  35. The House That Jack Built
    Director: Lars Von Trier
    Language / Country: English
    Festival: Cannes
  36. Season of the Devil
    Director: Lav Diaz
    Country: Philippines
    Festival: Berlin – Competition
  37. Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot
    Director: Gus Van Sant
    Language / Country: English
    Festival: Sundance
  38. High Life
    Director: Claire Denis
    Language / Country: English
    Festival: TIFF

    Claire’s first English feature

  39. First Reformed
    Director: Paul Schrader
    Language / Country: English
    Festival: Venice – Competition
  40. Ash is Purest White
    Director: Jia Zhangke
    Country: Chinese
    Festival: Competed for Palm d’Or
  41. Non Fiction
    Director: Oliver Assayas
    Language / Country: French
    Festival: Venice – Competition
  42. Our Time
    Director: Carlos Reygadas
    Language / Country: Spanish
    Festival: Venice – Competition
  43. In Fabric
    Director: Peter Strickland
    Language / Country: English
    Festival: TIFF, London FF

    Horror-comedy about a cursed dress in a departmental store

  44. Grass
    Director: Sang-Soo Hong
    Language / Country: Korean
    Festival:
  45. Hotel by the River
    Director: Sang-Soo Hong
    Language / Country: Korean
    Festival: TIFF
  46. Colette
    Director: Wash Westmoreland
    Language / Country: English
    Festival: Sundance, London FF
  47. Beautiful Boy
    Director: Felix Van Groeningen
    Language / Country: English
    Festival: TIFF

    Would be out on Amazon US on October 12

  48. Vision
    Director: Naomi Kawase
    Language / Country: Japanese
    Festival: TIFF
  49. A Tramway in Jerusalem
    Director: Amos Gitai
    Country: Israel
  50. Maya
    Director: Mia Hansen-Love
    Language / Country: French / English
    Festival: TIFF – Special Presentations
  51. Fahrenheit 11/9
    Director: Michael Moore
    Language / Country: English
    Festival: TIFF

    Already released in the US

  52. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
    Director: Joel and Ethan Coen
    Language / Country: English
    Festival: Venice – Best Screenplay

    Western anthology written by the Coen brothers

  53. Sorry to Bother You
    Director: Boots Riley
    Language / Country: English
    Festival: Sundance

    Already released in the US

  54. Too Late To Die Young
    Director: Dominga Sotomayor
    Language / Country: Spanish
    Festival: Locarno – Best Direction

    First woman to win Direction award at Locarno

  55. Thunder Road
    Director: Jim Cummings
    Language / Country: English
    Festival: Grand Jury – SXSW
  56. In My Room
    Director: Ulrich Kohler
    Language / Country: German
    Festival: Un Certain Regard
  57. Wildlife
    Director: Paul Dano
    Language / Country: English
    Festival: Critics Week – Opening Film
  58. Transit
    Director: Christian Petzold
    Language / Country: German
    Festival: Berlin

  59. Dhappa
    Director: Nipun Dharmadhikari
    Language: Marathi
  60. Tesoros
    Director: Maria Novaro
    Language / Country: Spanish
    Festival: Berlin
  61. Balekempa
    Director: Ere Gowda
    Language: Kannada
    Festival: IFFR – FIPRESCI
  62. Soni
    Director: Ivan Ayr
    Language: Hindi
    Festival: Venice
  63. Leave No Trace
    Director: Debra Granik
    Language: English
    Festival: Sundance

    Already released in the US

  64. Mard Ko Dard Nahin Hota
    Director: Vasan Bala
    Language: Hindi
    Festival: TIFF

    Opening Film

  65. Long Days Journey Into Night
    Director: Bi Gan
    Language: Guizhou Dialect
    Festival: Cannes – Un Certain Regard

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” — Martin Luther King

Dear Board members at MAMI,

My name is Shazia Iqbal. I am the writer-director of a short film titled ‘Bebaak’. Our film was supposed to have its world premiere at the Mumbai Film Festival, this year. It is not going to anymore. The leadership at MAMI decided to drop the film.

Why? That is the answer you owe my team and me.

I was not given an official written statement from the board/committee members as to why my film was dropped. This, inspite of me repeatedly asking for the same:

A few more attempts on Whatsapp went unanswered. But this is what I did get:

I was then told by a member that this decision wasn’t fair to me but it was the final decision of the board. And that it was not meant to be a punishment or judgement.

I appreciate the empathy from Team MAMI but it changes nothing.

These are the questions I want to ask:

Then why was the film dropped? If it doesn’t serve as punishment or judgement?

Did you know the content of the film before dropping it? Or were we part of a surface clean-up?

I understand there are ‘collateral damages’ in a battle but my film is as feminist as this battle we are fighting; and if you’re shutting down a film that starts a conversation against misogyny and patriarchy, then what side of the battle are you on?

What side of the movement do you all belong to?

In any fight, you have to keep in mind the words ‘Justice’ and ‘Punishment’.

Justice: being fair and reasonable, treating people equally.

Punishment: the infliction or imposition of a penalty as retribution for an offence.

I was told over a phone call that my film ‘Bebaak’ will be dropped from the festival program because one of the producers is Anurag Kashyap.

I was not told, but was supposed to understand, that since he is accused of “being complicit” in a sexual harassment case (one of the partners at Phantom, Vikas Bahl is accused of sexually assaulting a woman), our film has been disqualified.

Let me clarify that Anurag is one of my two producers. The other is Ajay Rai of Jar Pictures. And the film is independently produced by both.

Phantom Films (of which the directly accused, Vikas Bahl was part of) has nothing to do with us. There was no monetary or production involvement with the accused in any capacity.

This is an open legal case and I will say as much there already is in public domain (and also include some of my personal knowledge) that Anurag did all that he could at the time and unfortunately, yet it wasn’t enough to get the woman complete justice because she did not want to make a formal complaint. (Sorry, I don’t use the politically correct but demoralizing word ‘victim’.)

Anurag was a Board Member of your Academy.

He voluntarily stepped down from the Board to keep your reputation ‘clean’. Here is his tweet (where he also denies being complicit):

Here is another tweet where he denies being silent:

Here he mentions his responsibility to the women with whom he works with (I am one of them) and mentions that we have questioned them regarding the case (him and Vikram):

Anurag and Vikram clarified their side of the story, shared their dilemma and apologised.

But apparently none of this mattered.

You chose to believe a one-sided, article written by a so called ‘investigative journalist’ — Ankur Pathak — who kept many details out of the article because it did not suit the narrative of a story he wanted to tell; painting Anurag and Vikram as the wrongdoers, way more than the accused, Vikas Bahl himself!

And instead of standing up for the truth or even looking for it, you would rather go with the lynch mob mentality and a knee jerk reaction than look for a more nuanced solution to the situation.

I am the writer-director of the film. I have a female lead, and more than fifty percent of my main cast and crew are women. We have all become the “collateral damage” of a movement that is meant to empower women. I don’t fully understand law but I understand enough about equality and just treatment. You’re questioning the integrity of two men who are currently defending a woman in court/fighting an accused sexual predator and you’re taking action against them (and my team) based on an article.

Ankur Pathak is NOT the court of law. Isn’t this also a form of harassment?

Anurag and Vikram have apologized for not taking a harder stand, but at no point did they accept being complicit. I have been working with Phantom Films as a Production Designer (since early 2017), and I have never once seen Vikas Bahl, the accused in the company premises or on shoots.

In some personal conversations, Anurag spoke about Vikas and expressed his disgust with the man, said he wanted to take action against the man. I know of Shubhra (his girlfriend) being adamant about the same. He didn’t want his name on Mukkabaaz and later in other films but was bound by the contract. I am a witness to Anurag’s struggle, but since I am an ally, my testimony here doesn’t matter.

After the shoddy Huffpost article was published, Vikram stood amongst all the employees at Phantom Films and asked us to raise any doubts we had about the case. Without any hesitation, I and other women (and men) threw several questions at him regarding the case and each of those questions were answered. Convincingly.

Today he too stands punished. A film produced by him, directed by Atul Mongia has also been removed from your anthology slate. So now any film can be rejected or dropped on the basis of past association, whether the accused is involved or not?

Today Anurag and Vikram are being punished. As is everyone associated with them. Including their films; our films. Meanwhile, Vikas Bahl has slapped a defamation case against them.

Please don’t misconstrue this as personal agenda in support of friends/employers. I am merely stating the facts.

In the meantime, the rest of us have to suffer the wrath against one man. This is where I’m lost. Let’s look at this more objectively.

MAMI is a prestigious film festival. It is run and backed by some of the most powerful people in the industry. My film ‘Bebaak’ is just another short film. What we share in common is that we were both backed by Anurag Kashyap.

You asked me to drop Anurag’s name (because he insisted that ‘Films are bigger than individuals), I agreed. A feminist film getting a platform in the midst of the country’s biggest Me Too wave is a great deal; I revised my DCP, Trailer and Poster and had his name removed. (Poster attached)

Similarly, MAMI was also supported by Anurag as a Board member. He voluntarily stepped down. So now the short film is sans Anurag’s name and MAMI, the big film festival, doesn’t carry his name either. To apply your very fair analogy, if you still decided to drop my short film for my association with Anurag… shouldn’t you also dissolve the board itself for your association with Anurag?

Why don’t YOU take that moral responsibility and shut yourself down for previously being associated with those who YOU believe have been complicit?

Have you also done a check on your other Board members? Made sure they are not in association with any accused? Or not complicit?

Because as I see, there are at least two MAMI Board members who were in the know-how of an actress being harassed during audition by a director (already accused publicly). I was personally told by this actress that your Board members did nothing despite being from a big film family. (You can keep an independent inquiry panel and I will testify and name the board members. I assure you I would not have galls to say this if it wasn’t the truth.)

So does MAMI agree to dissolve its board to stand in solidarity with the movement since their own board members are complicit? Or is this only applicable to filmmakers?

Now let me explain the hypocrisy. These are the films MAMI has dropped:

  1. Satyanshu and Devanshu Singh’s Chintu ka Birthday.

    Producer: AIB (Tanmay Bhat accused of not taking action against accused Utsav Chakravorty, Gursimran Khamba accused by an ex-girlfriend of harassment.)

  2. Rajat Kapoor’s Kadakh. Director himself accused of assaulting a couple of women.
  3. Kanu Behl’s Binnu ka Sapna. Producer: Chintan Ruparel (of Terribly Tiny Tales, accused of harassing multiple women.)
  4. Atul Mongia’s Awake. Producer: Vikramaditya Motwane (partner at Phantom, accused of not taking any action against accused Vikas Bahl).
  5. My film Bebaak. Producer: Anurag Kashyap (partner at Phantom, accused of not taking any action against accused Vikas Bahl).

Each of these films has a different issue, yet every single cast and crew member of the above mentioned films have received the same verdict. Everyone’s film stands cancelled today.

When Hollywood started the Me Too movement and Kevin Spacey was found guilty of assaulting Anthony Rapp, years ago, Netflix replaced him in House of Cards. Only him. Spacey was also replaced in Ridley Scott’s All the money in the world. But the show/film wasn’t cancelled.

Please tell me which Filmmaker/Actor in Hollywood or any other film industry has been punished because they are guilty by association.

But I guess at MAMI, you want to take a very hard stand on this and punish everyone who is in a 100km radius of any accused. This must have required a very strong vetting process, I hoped. But that is not the case.

I am also guessing that the MAMI team aren’t fully aware of these films/incidents mentioned below: (though they are all the over internet and really hard to miss).

  1. Lars Von Trier’s The House That Jack Built. He is directly accused, not a complicit; one of the most powerful filmmakers to be outed during the Me Too movement last year. Singer-Actor Bjork accused him of sexual assault during filming of ‘Dancer in The Dark’.His partner — Peter Aalbæk Jensen — at his company, Zentropa (producers of The house that Jack built) is also accused of sexual misconduct.How does Lars’ film qualify to play?
  2. Beatriz Seigner’s Los Silencios. Anurag is credited as one of the producers on the film. Did you guys know? (Well… I did inform your team.)
    How is one of Anurag’s films still playing at the festival?
  3. Paul Schrader’s First Reform. Harvey Weinstein, a predator of the worst kind has been assaulting women for decades. In response, this is what Paul Schrader had to say in a Facebook post:Is MAMI comfortable playing a film by a maker who is more offended by the recutting of films, than sexual assault on women?Please remind me if any of my producers made such insensitive, vile statements about treating women as secondary to making films.

    Paul Schrader criticised for tone-deaf response to Weinstein allegations

    Hollywood writer-director Paul Schrader has been criticised for claiming he is more offended by film producer Harvey…
    http://www.independent.co.uk

    Also this:

    Paul Schrader’s Rape Comments Aren’t Helping Anyone

    Obviously there have been a lot of horrible takes on the subjects of consent and sexual assault due to the accusations…
    http://www.pajiba.com

  4. Nagraj Manjule’s An Essay of The Rain: The news came last year that Nagraj Manjule, the director of powerful films like Fandry and Sairat was accused by his wife of assaulting her physically, emotionally, verbally and she also gave details of how he kept her locked in the house while the family went to collect National Award for Manjule.But this qualifies at the festival?

    Exclusive: ‘Sairat’ Director’s Ex-Wife Tells Her Story of Abuse

    Nagraj Manjule’s Sairat not only gifted its director glowing reviews, but also crowned him as the maker of Marathi…
    http://www.thequint.com

  5. OXFAM.There is a GENDER EQUALITY award by Oxfam at MAMI.Is this the same Oxfam that was embroiled in major sexual misconduct since 2010? This is a huge one to skip.

    How Oxfam sexual misconduct scandal unfolded

    Allegations of sexual misconduct by Oxfam workers in 2011 have rocked the aid sector. Here’s how the scandal unfolded…
    news.sky.com

    Few things in the world would be as ironical as naming a gender parity award on a company accused of a major sex scandal.

    Minnie Driver: Oxfam bosses ‘knew what was going on and did nothing’

    Actor and activist who worked with the charity for 20 years stepped down to ‘send a message’ after Haiti sexual…
    http://www.theguardian.com

    26 new cases of sexual harassment and assault at Oxfam, committee hears

    Mark Goldring, chief executive of Oxfam GB, has said that his charity has received 26 new reports of sexual assault and…
    http://www.civilsociety.co.uk

Shouldn’t MAMI step down for getting into partnership with a company that has been informed of several sexual assaults but did nothing? Isn’t this a direct association?
(If this is untrue, I will apologise for it.)

And to end with, I also hope you have put the remaining 200 films screening at MAMI through a strict, vetting process. Because as I see and know of the industry, if every film is to be dropped because a cast or crew member is remotely in any association with an accused… no film will play here. I hope no one at MAMI is naïve to believe otherwise.

I say all of this at the risk of damaging my directorial career that hasn’t even started. I challenge you to dive deep into your conflicted conscience.

Because your own integrity stands questioned now.

My film is about a young woman who defies a religious authority when attacked with blatant misogyny. I was told that if the film is screened, its bigger purpose will be lost. I don’t agree. Keeping a gender equality film away from a social and political change makes no sense. It displays a lack of courage.

I am terribly sorry if I sound angry and hurt and broken. I am all of that.

It takes a lot to make even a short film. Writing, Directing, Designing, Casting, Recces, Auditions, Edit sessions, Subtitles, non stop late night Sound and DI sessions, Production. Managing budgets. Accounts. Constantly losing locations. Even a day before the shoot. Reshoots. Press kits. Catalogues. Trailer. Poster.

I kept shuffling between my short film and five Production design projects, last year. Working at an average of 20 hours a day for months.

It took me a year. One whole year! To make a 20 minutes short.

How much time did you guys take to drop the film?

I decided to make a short film because I couldn’t sell my feature film to any Studio. It had a female lead.

Female lead and female director is a risk. Aap lead ko change kar ke male kar do‘, said one of the Studio heads (they makes family entertainers).

Love the idea. Why don’t you give the script to us? We’ll develop it with another director.
So either the director or the lead had to be male.

But that wasn’t the case for a short.

But we were still making a religiously sensitive film in a deeply religious society. We were thrown from locations — Mosques and Tombs — because even when shoots are allowed in sanctimonious environments, Women aren’t.

While dealing with all the humiliation, I held myself and my team together and decided to put it all in my film. Because that’s what story tellers do. We don’t use our physical might, we use our words.

That struggle, that fight was a nightmare. But expected. This struggle, this fight – unexpected.

I thought of MAMI as female-driven connoisseurs of cinema. But for me now, there is no difference between that studio head who thinks women can’t direct, the men who threw us out from the mosque or the members at MAMI Board. Everyone is only concerned with their farce image.

We are a short film. Film festivals are our only hope. We don’t release in theatres.

We don’t have a chance at 40-crores weekends. All we want is to be seen, for our story to reach people.

Do you think my cast and crew of 80 people and I deserve this? As a feminist group, you have shut down a feminist voice even before it took off. This is so heart breaking for my entire team.

But I will not let this be my embarrassment. It is your embarrassment for treating films and filmmakers like disposable trash.

Do you also understand what does your ‘holier than thou’ decision do to us? You don’t think any festivals, will think twice before picking us up? And I know this letter kills our chance further, but I was not taught to be quiet when wronged.

I am a part of MAMI family. For years! I have written articles and reviews on films screened at MAMI. The day I was told our film was selected by MAMI, will remain special for me. Anurag and I were so happy about it. Home premiere! We can show the film to the people closest to us. Our industry friends, our colleagues, families.
Now we have nothing to tell anyone.

From the time the Me Too movement started in the west, I have felt a silent rage and calm within, at the same time. How badly was this needed! And what an artistic way it has come to finally fight the age old patriarchal, dehumanizing idea of treating women as mere sexual objects.

I say artistic because each woman gets a chance to tell her story. Openly. Fearlessly. How powerful is that?

As a survivor of child abuse, several sexual assaults and harassment at workplace, I find it really odd, discomforting, unfair and traumatizing to be at the receiving end of the most powerful feminist moment of our times.

This isn’t justice.

This is irrational, illogical, unjustifiable penance. How is this not harassment?

Sorry MAMI board members, you missed standing by the #MeToo movement by a mile.

I wait for a response.

Sincerely,

Shazia Iqbal (@shazarch)

On Medium