Four filmmakers have been selected to receive the 2012 Sundance Institute’s Mahindra Global Filmmaking Award: Etienne Kallos, for “Vrystaat” (Free State) from South Africa; Ariel Kleiman for “Partisan” from Australia; Dominga Sotomayor, for “Late To Die Young” from Chile; and Shonali Bose, “Margarita. With A Straw” from India.
Each filmmaker receives a cash award of $10,000 in addition to attendance at the Sundance Film Festival, year-round mentoring from Institute staff and creative advisors, participation in a Feature Film Program Lab and ongoing creative and strategic support.
The Mahindra Group is one of India’s largest industrial conglomerates. The three-year partnership includes the establishment of the Mumbai Mantra | Sundance Institute Screenwriters Lab in India, which provides development for eight Indian screenwriters.
Profiles of the winning projects, and their filmmakers, follow:
Etienne Kallos / VRYSTAAT (FREE STATE) (South Africa): Set during the annual corn harvest in the Free State, Vrystaat explores the rites of passage into manhood for a new generation as they navigate identity and sexuality within the fractured realm of post-Colonial Africa.
Etienne Kallos is a Greek/South African filmmaker with an MFA in film directing from NYU. His work has screened at festivals worldwide, including Sundance, Cannes, Berlin, and Telluride. His film Eersgeborene was the first Afrikaans-language film to be awarded a Lion for Best Short Film at the 2009 Venice Film Festival. He recently developed Vrystaat at the Cannes Cinefondation Residence program in Paris.
Ariel Kleiman / PARTISAN (Australia): In an undisclosed commune cut-off from the outside world, a guarded criminal named Gregori controls a group of women and children who not only assist him on the farm but also carry out dangerous assassinations in the neighboring towns. His authority is undisputed until one child, Alexander, decides to quietly undermine his plans.
Ariel Kleiman last appeared at Sundance with his short film DEEPER THAN YESTERDAY, which received the Jury Prize in International Filmmaking. The year prior, his student film YOUNG LOVE received Honorable Mention in Short Filmmaking.
Dominga Sotomayor / TARDE PARA MORIR JOVEN (LATE TO DIE YOUNG) (Chile): In an isolated community far from the city, three women face a forest fire that threatens their sense of belonging and their lives.
Dominga Sotomayor was born in Santiago de Chile in 1985. In 2007, after finishing her Direction studies at the Universidad Católica de Chile, she received a scholarship to complete a Masters in Film Direction at the ESCAC, Barcelona. She has taught film at Universidad de Chile and Universidad Católica, in Santiago.
She has recently finished her first feature film, DE JUEVES A DOMINGO (Thursday To Sunday), which was selected to participate in the Cannes Cinéfondation Résidence and supported by Hubert Bals Fund, Fondo de Fomento Audiovisual (Chile) and CORFO.
Dominga has also directed the short films CESSNA (2005), NOVIEMBRE [November] (2007), DEBAJO [Below] (2007), LA MONTAÑA [The Mountain] (2008) and VIDEOJUEGO [Videogame] (2009) which have taken part and received awards in different festivals.
TARDE PARA MORIR JOVEN is her second feature film. The project has been previously developed at the Binger Filmlab and the Jerusalem International Film Lab.
Shonali Bose / Margarita. With a Straw (India): She falls repeatedly in love, yearns to have sex and wants to be a Bollywood songwriter. Laila. A brilliant mind trapped in a disobedient body. Shonali Bose has been an activist all her life. She received an MA in Political Science at Columbia University followed by an MFA in Directing from the UCLA School of Theater Film and Television. As a student at UCLA she received a number of awards: Ely Award for Best Documentary, Wasserman Award, Jack Sauter Award, Hollywood Radio and Television Society International Broadcasting Award, Motion Picture Association of America Award.
Bose’s first feature, Amu, based on the 1984 genocide against Sikhs, won two National Awards (Best Film, Best Director), the FIPRESCI Critics Award amongst ten international awards. The film was an official selection at the Berlin Film Festival, followed by Toronto and many others. The film was released theatrically in North America (2007) by Emerging Pictures and in India (2005) by Shringar. Bose converted the screenplay into a novel which was published by Penguin.
Bose co-wrote and co-produced the feature film Chittagong, directed by her husband Bedo. The film is slated to release in 2012. She currently lives in Delhi.