Mumbai, October 2014: Mumbai Mantra kicks off the second phase of the Mumbai Mantra-CineRise Screenwriting Programme: 100 Storytellers A Year with a panel discussion on Why is there such a dearth of good scripts in India? on October 17th at the ongoing Mumbai Film Festival. This panel was moderated by the Convenor of the Mumbai Mantra CineRise Screenwriting initiative, Anjum Rajabali who was joined by some of the Mentors for this initiative, which included Vishal Bhardwaj, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, Vikramaditya Motwane, Shridhar Raghavan and Sriram Raghavan,
Mumbai Mantra received an overwhelming 550 stories from aspiring and new screenwriters for this programme, not just from across the country but around the world.
Of these, 100 will be shortlisted for a one-on-one intensive interaction on their stories, with senior screenwriters, at screenwriting workshops to be organized at different centers in India.
The first day of the workshop will be open to every enthusiast (for a nominal fee), including applicants who did not make it to the top 100. The workshop will offer valuable guidance on screenwriting to participants, so that they may continue to pursue their creative passion in writing scripts, equipped with better knowledge, and hopefully get into the top 100 next year.
Based on the feedback on their story, the screenwriters would then submit a complete screenplay draft which would be reviewed by a Selection Advisory Committee. After an intensive screening and evaluation, 12-15 (or more, if there are many deserving screenplays) will make it to the Mumbai Mantra CineRise 100 Script Lab.
These writers will then be mentored on their screenplays at the Lab by senior and renowned Indian screenwriters and writer-directors including the ones on the panel above as well as international screenwriters.
Rohit Khattar, Chairman, Mumbai Mantra said, “Our aim is to reach across to every storyteller who has a dream to see her/his vision on big screen. These screenplays (and even those that do not get selected as finalists), shall be part of the CineRise Script Bank and may still get attention from Producers in the future. India is a land of stories and we would like to provide a platform to these stories so that they can travel and cut across barriers.”
The Screenwriting Programme is designed as a detailed step-by-step process of nurturing, which will have 8 defined stages of creative intervention from mentors.
Anjum Rajabali, the Convenor of the Mumbai Mantra CineRise Screenwriting Programme says, “It is our belief that there are many undiscovered talented potential screenwriters out there who could do with some guidance, and a platform to get their work noticed and picked up. Mumbai Mantra’s CineRise-100 is an ambitious initiative to reach out to them, in a bid to turn them into professional screenwriters. The Indian film industry is continuously on the lookout for well-written engaging scripts, based on any kind of interesting stories.”
After the workshop, these 100 screenwriters shall have 2 months to submit the first draft of their screenplays. From among these, 12 to 15 will make it to the final selection, and will be sent to the Mentors and other experienced readers, for detailed evaluation and feedback.
Based on that, the respective writers will have 1 month to send in the second drafts of their screenplays, which will then be discussed in 4-5 exhaustive one-on-ones with the Mentors, at the residential Script Lab. Mentors of course will be renowned Indian and international screenwriters and writer-directors.
A valid complaint of screenwriters is that even if they have a competent worthy script, they find it near-impossible to connect with producers. Being sensitive to this difficulty, Mumbai Mantra’s CineRise 100 will extend its programme to an SPI event (Screenwriter-Producer Interface) in Mumbai, where these writers will get a chance to meet with studio heads, independent producers, directors, film festival directors & curators and other interested parties, and pitch the final drafts of their scripts to them. This is clearly one of the highlights of the CineRise-100 programme.
Says Aparna Purohit, Head – Creative Initiatives, Mumbai Mantra, “We believe that this initiative is a stepping stone in igniting a story-telling revolution in the country. Our mission is clear: To invite and encourage brave new talented voices to participate in shaping the future of Indian cinema!”
About Mumbai Mantra
Mumbai Mantra Media Ltd, the Media & Entertainment vertical of the Mahindra Group, is actively evaluating opportunities in content and infrastructure in the domestic as well as international media and entertainment space.
Mumbai Mantra has also made a commitment towards providing a platform for independent voices in Indian cinema to champion an emerging generation of exciting filmmakers. The first step was a multifaceted 3-year collaboration with the Sundance Institute founded by Robert Redford. This included the Mumbai Mantra | Sundance Institute Screenwriters Lab in India and the Sundance Institute | Mahindra Global Filmmaking Awards, awarded annually at the Sundance Film Festival. 16 Filmmakers have been awarded and 25 Screenwriting fellows have been selected through the last 3 Screenwriting Labs. Post this, a new initiative Mumbai Mantra CineRise: 100 Storytellers a Year has just been announced, which shall help nurture more and more new writers annually.
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