Emerging Artists from Romania, Mexico, Malaysia and Israel Selected for their Visionary Projects
PARK CITY, UT — Sundance Institute and Mahindra today announced the winners of the inaugural Sundance Institute|Mahindra Global Filmmaking Award, in recognition and support of emerging independent filmmakers from around the world. The winning directors and projects are: Bogdan Mustata, WOLF from Romania; Ernesto Contreras, I DREAM IN ANOTHER LANGUAGE from Mexico; Seng Tat Liew, IN WHAT CITY DOES IT LIVE? from Malaysia; and Talya Lavie, ZERO MOTIVATION from Israel. The awards were presented at a private ceremony at the Sundance Film Festival, currently underway in Park City, Utah.
The Sundance Institute | Mahindra Global Filmmaking Award is part of a multifaceted agreement that exemplifies the commitment and support of world cinema by the Mahindra Group, one of the largest companies in India known throughout the world for its commitment to excellence and to social responsibility, and the nonprofit Sundance Institute, one of the world’s leading cultural organizations.
The partnership, which also includes the establishment of a Mumbai Mantra|Sundance Institute Screenwriters Lab in India, will extend over a three-year period. The Lab will provide an opportunity for 6 to 8 screenwriters from India to develop their works under the guidance of accomplished international screenwriters in an environment that encourages storytelling at the highest level. The Mumbai Mantra | Sundance Institute Screenwriting Lab March 2012 is inviting applications from Indian screenwriters on www.mumbaimantra.com as part of its Open Submission Process.
“We’re thrilled to be working with our new partners to embrace and support the next scripts of such an exciting group of emerging filmmakers who are telling stories that will resonate for audiences worldwide,” said Michelle Satter, Director of the Sundance Institute Feature Film Program. The Award and year-round support from the Feature Film Program will go a long way to help these artists find the creative and business resources to get their films made with quality and singular vision.”
Said Rohit Khattar, Director, Mumbai Mantra, “We have been evaluating various initiatives which shall not merely enable the company to revitalize its strategy in media & entertainment, but in keeping with the Group’s values, also help in giving back to the film industry. With the Sundance partnership, we shall be able to recognise, nurture and hone incredible talent in India and across the world. We are at an exciting storytelling stage in the history of the film industry in both India and internationally and are constantly evaluating very interesting scripts. This collaboration and exchange of know-how shall raise the bar further.”
The four winning filmmakers will receive a cash award each of $10,000, attendance at the Sundance Film Festival for targeted industry and creative meetings, year-round mentoring from Institute staff and creative advisors, participation in a Feature Film Program Lab, and ongoing creative and strategic support. Beginning in 2012, one out of the four award recipients will be an Indian director – a commitment to fulfill the vision of Mahindra and of Sundance Institute to champion a new generation of Indian filmmakers.
Alesia Weston, Associate Director, Sundance Institute Feature Film Program, International said, “This year’s winners are an incredibly diverse group of filmmakers. As individual storytellers, each has a unique voice and original screenplay – they are also exceptional representations of the talent flourishing in their respective countries.”
The Winners of the 2011 Sundance Institute Global Filmmaking Award are:
Bogdan Mustata / WOLF (Romania) In this surreal tale, a 16 year-old boy’s dearest wish is realized when his absent father is quite literally reborn and joins the family once again, with complicated consequences.
A graduate of the Romanian National Film School, Bogdan Mustata directed the short film A Good Day For a Swim, which won the Golden Bear for the best short film at the 2008 Berlinale. The film screened at dozens of festivals and won multiple awards at the 2008 Palm Springs International Short Film Festival. Mustata has lived in Vietnam and Dubai, where he wrote and directed for television. Wolf will mark his feature directorial debut.
Ernesto Contreras / I DREAM IN ANOTHER LANGUAGE written by Carlos Contreras (Mexico) A rare indigenous language already on the verge of extinction faces its final threat when its last two speakers, very old friends, have a fight and refuse to speak to one another.
Ernesto Contreras has received several international grants for his projects. His first feature film, Párpados Azules (Blue Eyelids) was nominated for the Camera d’Orat the 60th Cannes Film Festival and won the Special Jury Award at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. It went on to receive the Ariel Award for Best First Work by the Mexican Academy of Cinematographic Arts and Sciences. His recent feature, a documentary on the 20 years of Mexico’s most important rock band, Seguir siendo: Café Tacvba (Being: Café Tacvba), had its international premier in March of 2010 during the Guadalajara International Film Festival, and opened in theatres nationwide in November.
Seng Tat Liew / IN WHAT CITY DOES IT LIVE? (Malaysia) The unexpected presence of an African immigrant hiding in a small Malaysian village arouses the superstitions of the local residents, calling into question whether home is defined by the place you live or by the people who surround you.
Seng Tat Liew emerged as a young filmmaker with a unique comedic voice soon after he graduated from the Multimedia University, where he majored in 3D animation. His 2007 debut feature Flower in the Pocket swept multiple awards and prizes in numerous international film festivals including Busan, Rotterdam, Fribourg and Pesaro. In 2008, he was selected to participate at the Cannes Residence Cinefondation.
Talya Lavie / ZERO MOTIVATION (Israel) A sometimes comic, often dramatic look at the power struggles of three female clerks over one year in an administrative office at a remote army base in the Israeli desert.
A resident of Tel Aviv, Talya Lavie works as a writer and director for various television dramas. Lavie graduated with distinction from the Sam Spiegel Film School in Jerusalem; prior to that she studied animation at the Bezalel Art Academy. Her short film, Sliding Flora, screened at MoMA, as well as at over 40 film festivals worldwide, including the Berlinale. Lavie’s thesis film, The Substitute, received numerous international awards, including the Audience Award at the Berlinale, the Emerging Filmmaker Award at the Palm Springs Film Festival and First Prize at the Munich International Short Film Festival and the Melbourne International Film Festival.
About Sundance Institute
Sundance Institute is a global nonprofit organization founded by Robert Redford in 1981. Through its artistic development programs for directors, screenwriters, producers, composers and playwrights, the Institute seeks to discover and support independent film and theatre artists from the United States and around the world, and to introduce audiences to their new work. The Institute promotes independent storytelling to inform, inspire, and unite diverse populations around the globe. Internationally recognized for its annual Sundance Film Festival, Sundance Institute has nurtured such projects as Born into Brothels, Trouble the Water, Son of Babylon, Amreeka, An Inconvenient Truth, Spring Awakening, Light in the Piazza and Angels in America. www.sundance.org
Mahindra embarked on its journey in 1945 by assembling the Willys Jeep in India and is now a US $7.1 billion Indian multinational. It employs over 1,00,000 people across the globe and enjoys a leadership position in utility vehicles, tractors and information technology, with a significant and growing presence in financial services, tourism, infrastructure development, trade logistics and, recently, the entertainment industry.
Its media and entertainment company, Mumbai Mantra presented last year’s Indian National Award winning Best Feature Film, Antaheen and has recently co-produced The Tempest directed by Julie Taymor and starring Helen Mirren. It is evaluating various opportunities in the media and entertainment space both in Hollywood as well as in India.
The Mahindra Group has a long standing commitment to the arts and humanities. The Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Awards (META) were created to encourage both emerging and established theatre and celebrated its Fifth Anniversary in 2010. The Group’s encouragement and support to world music will be at its fore at the commencement of the Mahindra Blues Festival in Mumbai (February 2011) – the largest festival of its kind in Asia, showcasing the best international Blues artists and providing a common platform for emerging Indian Blues bands.
Mr. Anand Mahindra, Vice Chairman & Managing Director Mahindra Group, recently gave an endowment of $10 million to the Humanities Centre at the Harvard University, his alma mater.
To encourage and support the young and the unknown and to give back to the communities it operates in has been the core of the Mahindra Group’s involvement in art and culture. www.mahindra.com www.mumbaimantra.com