Sundance Institute and Mahindra named the winners of the first Sundance Institute|Mahindra Global Filmmaking Award, a new annual grant that recognizes and supports emerging independent filmmakers globally. The winners include 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 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.
The partnership between Sundance Institute and Mahindra, one of India’s largest companies, includes the establishment of a Mumbai Mantra|Sundance Institute Screenwriters Lab in India, which will extend over a three-year period. The Lab will provide an opportunity for six to eight 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,” commented Michelle Satter, Director of the Sundance Institute Feature Film Program in a statement. “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.”
The winners of the 2011 Sundance Institute Global Filmmaking Award with information and descriptions provided by Sundance Institute:
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’Or at 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.