With an aim to cultivate original Indian stories specifically for children and adolescents, the Children’s Screenwriters’ Lab provides 6 selected screenwriters the opportunity to explore their stories through one-on-one and group sessions with international mentors. The participants also get a chance to pitch their scripts to producers and investors in a specially designed session during Film Bazaar 2016.
This year, the Children’s Screenwriters’ Lab will be held in collaboration with Cinekid for Professionals in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Cinekid Film Festival is the largest international film, television and new media festival for children aged 4 to 14 in Europe.
The official programme is scheduled between 18th to 21st October 2016, during Cinekid in Amsterdam.
About the collaboration with Cinekid for Professionals, Nina Lath Gupta, MD, NFDC has said “As a development body, NFDC has always tried to provide support in areas where there isn’t any available. Today, there is urgent need to develop Children’s films in our market that is starved of original Indian content for younger audiences. Elsewhere in the world, especially in the Netherlands, world class children’s content is already paving the way for the future of the industry. Having partnered with Binger Film Lab and Cinemart in previous years, NFDC Labs is proud to collaborate with Cinekid and Dutch Culture and continue its strong associations with the Dutch film industry. Through this collaboration, NFDC Labs hopes to expose Indian writers to the wide range of possibilities inherent in children’s content. The idea is to have more filmmakers explore this genre in India and create content that is reminiscent of what they liked to watch as children, and not what they think children like to watch.”
Veysel Yuce, Program Manager, Heritage, Turkey & India at Dutch Culture, Centre for International Cooperation has said, “Dutch Culture is commissioned by the Dutch government to strengthen the cultural exchange between the Netherlands and India. We hope to do this for four art disciplines among which also film. We heard about NFDC and about the great work that they are doing through our partners in the Netherlands and India. NFDC had executed a very successful Children Screenwriters’ lab with a numbers of Dutch trainers. They wanted to expand on this. The Netherlands produces world-class children content while India has just started to discover this part of cinema.”
Nienke Poelsma, Head of Cinekid for Professionals has said “Veysel Yuce from Dutch Culture, approached us at the beginning of the 2016 to look for synergies between the NFDC and Cinekid. Since we started our Script LAB two years ago and the NFDC last year, we immediately visioned synergies. Cinekid for Professionals is looking for ways how to expand our network and scope outside of Europe. This collaboration came at the right time and we were looking for ways on how to make this work. We then decided that the participation of the writers of NFDC’s Script Lab will take part in the Cinekid for Professionals programme in order to expand their network and increase their knowledge on the international children’s media industry since this industry is non-existing in India. For the people attending Cinekid it’s great that they get acquainted with stories from the region and can explore international co-production”.
SELECTED PROJECTS & SCREENWRITERS
The selected projects consists of narratives primarily aimed to engage young audiences.
Beej (Hindi) by Sneha Nair
Sneha Nair wrote as a journalist before she decided she wanted to write for films. She has worked as an assistant director and researcher before attempting her first screenplay. ‘Beej’ would be her first fiction feature.
Chuskit (Ladakhi) by Priya Ramasubban
Priya Ramasubban has made films for National Geographic, Discovery, the History Channel and other major international broadcasters. A storyteller at heart, her approach to films builds on her strong documentary experience. ‘Chuskit’ would be her first fiction feature.
Krikus (Hindi) by Nitin Zihani Chaudhary
Nitin Chaudhary is a visual artist based out of Mumbai. He holds a Bachelors in Fine Arts in Applied Arts from Delhi College of Art. He has experience in illustrating children’s books, animation and VFX. Nitin has also designed sound and light shows and has worked as a production designer for numerous ad-films. Among feature films, his work includes films like Ship of Theseus (2013), and the upcoming Tumbad.
Little Thomas and the Miracle of Life (Hindi, English) by Kaushal Oza
Kaushal Oza is a graduate of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII, Pune). He has been awarded the National Film Award twice for his work. Kaushal’s short films have won 15 Best Film Awards and have been screened in various international film festivals. His film Afterglow has featured as one of the best Indian Short Films to watch online.
Malli (Tamil) by Mrudhula Sridharan
Mrudhula Sridharan is a young writer whose brief stint in ad films led her to discover her love for storytelling. She holds a mass communication post graduate degree from Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication. ‘Malli’ would be her first feature screenplay.
The Girl and Autorickshaw (Marathi) by Mayur Kulkarni
Mayur Kulkarni is an emerging filmmaker whose short films have received awards at various International film festivals. Mayur runs his own graphic design studio and has also worked in Marathi films as a costume designer, still photographer & publicity designer. For the last 8 years, he has worked as the director of Kalamaharshi Baburao Painter Film Society, in Kolhapur. Mayur has been a former participant at the Marathi Voices Script Camp organized by NFDC in collaboration with the Maharashtra State Government.
Dutch filmmakers, Jolein Laarman, Tijs van Marle and Systke Kok have been invited to mentor the 6 writers.
Jolein Laarman likes to make flms that tell something about life and also put a smile on your face, for children and adults alike. Jolein worked as a producer and production-designer before she began working as a scriptwriter and script-coach. She (co-)wrote the script for the flm Kauwboy, which was screened in many festivals around the world and won over 30 international prizes. She has also written several television series like Ik ben Willem (1, 2 en 3) and Taxi van Palemu, both of which have won numerous prizes. Jolein’s other work includes Stages, Sister of Katia, Brittle, Among Us, Frailer. For her work as a scriptwriter, Jolein has been awarded the Gouden Kalf (for Best Script, Dutch Film Festival 2008), the Zilveren Krulstaart 2012 (Best Script according to the Dutch Society of Scriptwriters), Best Script in L’Atelier (Film Festival of Cannes 2012). Her upcoming flms include Disappearance, (in production), Invite Me to War, Roxy (both in development).
Sytske Kok graduated from the Netherlands Film Academy and the Binger Filmlab as a writer and director. Among other shorts she directed the internationally acclaimed short The Chinese Wall and the TV film Impasse for which she wrote the script as well. Over the last years she has focused primarily on script writing. She wrote the script for the TV film Tunnel Vision directed by Stefano Odoardi. Tunnel Vision has been selected and awarded on several international film festivals. Besides writing herself Sytske teaches scriptwriting at the Schrijversvakschool, the Amsterdam Film School and at the animation department of the Art academy St. Joost.
Together with Odoardi she is currently developing two feature film projects. One of those projects Dark Matter will be developed during an Artist in Residence in Rome for which a stipend was granted by the Dutch Academy of the Arts. The other project LIVE! has just received script development money from the Dutch Film Fund.
Tijs van Marle graduated as a screenwriter from the Dutch Film School in
Amsterdam in 2002. Since then he has written for Dutch cinema, television and
broadcasters. His writing focus is on light drama and children’s fiction. Tijs’ work is very diverse,
with small personal stories, mostly made for television, as well as bigger commercial
projects for the cinema. The recently made Mister Twister trilogy was sold worldwide
and Accused was a runner up for the 2014 Oscars best foreign film. In India
the historic children’s movie Code M won ‘Best Screenplay’ at the 19th International
Children’s Film Festival in 2015. Apart from writing, Tijs eaches at the Dutch Film
School and is a consultant on film projects. He runs a small souvenir business in
Amsterdam with his father.