What's New - Spotlight

NFDC's Film Bazaar 2019 ends on a high!

by Rutwij Nakhwa


The 13th edition of Film Bazaar concluded with the awards announcement for independent filmmakers with projects selected in the Film Bazaar Recommends and the Work-in-Progress sections, recognising their excellence and promoting future talent. The winners were selected by a jury of internationally acclaimed festival programmers/directors, producers and industry executives who presented the awards to the winners alongside Ms T.C.A. Kalyani (MD, NFDC).  


Pedro by Natesh Hegde and Swizerland by Ajitpal Singh won the Prasad Lab Digital Intermediate (DI) Award + Moviebuff Appreciation Award from amongst the Work-In-Progress (WIP) Lab films. The jury for this award comprised the mentors of the WIP Lab: Philippa Campbell (Producer), Derek Malcolm (Film Critic), Marco Mueller, (Film Critic & Historian, Artistic Director of PYIFF, Pingyao) Olivia Stewart (Producer), Lizi Gelber (Editor), and Jacques Comets (Film Editor).

From the Film Bazaar Recommends films (still in final post-production), the Prasad Lab DI Award + Moviebuff Appreciation Award went to Pinki Elli? (Where Is Pinki?) by Prithvi Konanur. The jury included: Kiki Fung (Programmer from Hong Kong International Film Festival), Laurence Kardish (Artistic Director, FilmColumbia), Nashen Moodley (Festival Director, Sydney Film Festival). 

All the winning films will receive free DI by Prasad Labs; two free DCI DCPs, and INR 2,00,000 worth of trailer promotions both by QUBE cinema theatres; a Qube Wire account with a USD 500 redeemable during Qube Wire deliveries. What more, the three remaining films from WIP Lab (that didn't receive the main award) will receive DI at a 50% discount from Prasad Labs.

The WIP Lab jury also awarded Laila Aur Satt Geet (The Shepherdess And The Seven Songs) by Pushpendra Singh with the VKAAO WIP Lab Award, which comes with a Free Theatrical Distribution Deal with PVR Cinemas. The VKAAO FBR Awards, based on an audience vote from the FBR Pitch and views in the Viewing Room, went to two films: Gamak Ghar by Achal Mishra (from the completed films by a debut director) and rk/rkay by Rajat Kapoor (from the completed films by a non-debut director).  Each of these films won a certificate from VKAAO and will get a 75% discount on Theatrical Distribution.

This year's Bazaar lived up to its reputation as the leading film market in the region with a participation of 1116 delegates from 36 countries, the most so far in its 13-year existence. "Film Bazaar is a multilingual, multi-national film market that gives a platform to diverse voices from across the region. This is clear from the fact that 268 projects across 30+ languages at various stages of progress were present in the market under its different sections", shared Ms TCA Kalyani (MD, NFDC). 

The Knowledge Series 

Highlights from the Bazaar annual series of talks and panel discussions included: Ms T.C.A. Kalyani's conversation with Richard Sharkey (International Producer) on leveraging the potential of the Film Facilitation Office (FFO) to make India a leading shooting destination for international filmmakers. Ms Kalyani said, "Our motto is to ensure a one-stop-shop for the facilitation of shooting in India. In line with this, the single window clearance is a fantastic initiative of the Government of India to ensure ease of filming."

(from left,  Sridhar Rangayan, TCA Kalyani, Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, Namrata Joshi, Onir ) 

One of the most engaging panels was with Namrata Joshi (Associate Editor, Cinema, The Hindu), Swami Laxmi Narayan Tripathi (Human Rights activist), and filmmakers Onir and Sridhar Rangayan. While all of them agreed that, in the last decade, the perception of LGBTQ cinema and characters has evolved for the better, there's still a long way to go. Tripathi was especially vocal in highlighting the stereotyping of transgenders that continues in certain Indian films. 

A panel on the changing role of women in cinema brought together women producers from across the country: Soundarya Rajinikanth (Managing Director, May 6 Entertainment), Nandita Roy (Producer, Director, Windows Production), Shareen Mantri Kedia (Founder - Director, Namah Pictures), Dominique Welinski (Founder & Head of  Production, DW) and Aditi Anand (Promoter, Director, Little Red Car Films). They brought attention to the challenges women continue to face in the industry and discussed ways for facilitating women's participation, which included suggestions like fair compensation, and safer, hygienic sets.

Other panels were on: the evolving OTT landscape in India, with executives from multiple OTT platforms clarifying their approaches to content; the diversity of Indian language cinemas outside the Hindi film industry, with filmmakers from Maharashtra, Assam, and Gujarat who shared stories of their films' journey; and finally a panel that explained music rights
for filmmakers.

A new addition this year were the Workshops on Skill Development, in which Veteran filmmaker Hariharan Krishnan (Professor Arts and Director Media Lab, KREA University) took a master class on the history and theory of cinema, and the need and reasons for making films. His discussion tied together filmmakers and films from across time, geography, themes, and genres. He was also critical of how filmmaking has been taught in the country and wondered if it is something that can be taught at all.

The final workshop in this sidebar was by Shylaja Chetlur (Actor, Entrepreneur, Filmmaker) on gender sensitivity in film scripts and on sets. She spoke about how large sections of the society, including women and homosexuals, continue to be discriminated against not just in films but also socially. She highlighted the irony of casting a fair-skinned person for the role of a dark-skinned character and then darkening their faces. She advocated breaking stereotypes and for more inclusivity in screen portrayals of such characters. 

The Producers' Workshop concluded with the producers pitching their projects to their peers and mentors for the workshop. The producers mobilised all their learning form the 3-day workshop to pitch their projects with fervour. Many projects dealt with the realities of contemporary India across genres and themes. 

The 13th Edition of Film Bazaar was held from November 20 - 24,  2019 at the Marriott Resort in Goa, India.