Saturday, August 16, 2014

Mumbai Mantra to nurture 100 storytellers: Calling for entries from aspiring writers

Mumbai Mantra has announced their new initiative – The Mumbai Mantra CineRise Screenwriting Programme reaching out to '100 Storytellers A Year' for which the submission date is August 20th.

After a successful three-year association with the Sundance Institute, Mumbai Mantra continues its mission to nurture and nourish the creative eco system that it has built over last three years and to reach out to many more storytellers nationwide. Through its new initiative, Mumbai Mantra would be offering support to Indian screenwriters to help them write, polish and pitch their scripts to potential producers, financiers, distributors, sales agents, film festival programmers and curators at the Pitch Event. The program calls out to all the aspiring writers from <insert city name> to send in their scripts to participate in a golden opportunity which will convert their dreams into reality.

Rohit Khattar, Chairman, Mumbai Mantra said, “Our mission at Mumbai Mantra is to provide a springboard for writers which will help them take their scripts to the screen. We want to reach across to every storyteller with a dream. 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.”

With distinguished screenwriter and academic Anjum Rajabali as its Convenor, the Mumbai Mantra CineRise Screenwriting Programme is a detailed step-by-step process of nurturing, which will have 8 defined stages of creative intervention.  The Programme invites applications from enthusiastic and determined Indian screenwriters from any part of the world. The programme is also open to non-resident Indians and even those with mixed Indian parentage.

Says Anjum Rajabali, "Indian screenwriting is in an exciting phase right now, and poised to take a leap to another level. Young aspirants are coming up with very promising work. By giving a much-needed boost to their efforts, this programme will help create an eco-system where all kinds of cinemas can co-exist.”

Says Aparna Purohit, Head – Creative Initiatives, Mumbai Mantra, “To provide comprehensive support to the writers, a 2-day screenwriting workshop will be held in different cities across the country. Among the submitted applications, 100 stories will be selected for the workshop out of which the finalists will come in for intensive interactions with experienced writers and directors at the workshop. The selected participants can choose the Center closest to their homes.”
The first day of the workshop will be open to EVERY enthusiast (for a nominal fee), including applicants who did not get selected in top 100. Those selected (in the top 100) will be invited to attend and shall not be required to pay any fees. The workshop will be an intensive introduction to screenwriting where some valuable lessons about the craft will be imparted. It will help participants understand the creative tools required to be able to create a robust screenplay. Those who do NOT make it to the top 100 this year can therefore use this guidance to apply to the programme next year. 

After the workshop, these 100 screenwriters shall have 2 months to submit the first draft of their screenplays basis which the final selections will be made. 12 to 15 deserving screenplays will make it to the final selection. These screenplays will be sent to the Mentors and other experts, for detailed evaluation and notes. The Mentors will be leading film Screenwriters and Directors.

After receiving notes from the Mentors, the writers will have 1 more month to send in the second drafts of their screenplays. Post this; the finalists will be invited to a 5-day workshop at a Resort destination. Here, the screenwriters will have 4-5 exhaustive one-on-ones with the Mentors, who will be renowned writers and directors from the Indian as well as the International film Industry.

Using the notes from the workshop the writers will revise their screenplays and turn in their third draft, in readiness for an S2S event (From Script to Screen). This draft will then be pitched to studio heads, independent producers, directors, financiers, distributors, film festival directors & curators at the Pitch Event to be held in Mumbai. This is one of the highlights of the programme.

Adds Aparna Purohit, “The last three years have been a great learning experience but our journey has only just begun. Our mission is to create a platform where new, independent voices in cinema are not stifled. This new programme is a step forward from our last initiative.”

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.

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