Berlinale Talents: Seven Indians Make It to the List

By Pickle  January 28, 2020

Seven Indian filmmakers have been chosen to showcase their work at the ‘Berlinale Talent’s section of the upcoming Berlin International Film Festival 2020.

India is set to make its presence felt big time, at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival 2020, to be held from February 20th to March 1.
Besides Indian filmmakers showcasing their films at various other sections and categories of the event, the film festival’s section named ‘Berlinale Talents’ feature seven Indian filmmakers that are set to impress the audience with their talent.

The section will feature works by 255 film professionals from 86 countries from all across the globe. Among the chosen set of talent, seven filmmakers from India have made it to the list and will be showcasing their work at the prestigious film festival.

As part of the section, the filmmakers will be a part of an intense six-day programme featuring around 100 events with internationally renowned experts and acclaimed Berlinale guests holding workshops and discussions. Berlinale Talents will take place from February 22-27, 2020.

Let’s take a look at who all from India have made it to this part of the festival:

Prantik Basu: the Kolkata-based filmmaker, who studied direction and screenplay writing at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune, is not new to the festival. His 2016 short film Sakhisona won the Tiger Award for short films in the 46th International Film Festival of Rotterdam, in 2017. His film Rang Mahal, was among 24 titles that competed for the Golden and Silver Bear at 2019’s Berlinale Shorts.

Geetika Vidya: An Indian theatre practitioner and actress, Geetika’s theatrical journey began from her college days at University of Delhi’s KM College. She was part of the college theatre society and acted, directed and wrote scripts for the street and the stage, when she was still a student. She played ‘Soni’ in Ivan Ayr’s film of the same name, which had its world premiere at 75th Venice Film Festival (Orizzonti), and won international accolades. She has also performed for over 300 shows as an actor for Zangoora-India’s First Bollywood Musical. Geetika has also lent her voice for commercial promotion of brands like Google and Spicejet.

Ivan Ayr: The Chandigarh-born filmmaker channelled his concerns over women safety in Delhi in his film ‘Soni’ which premiered this year in Venice after snagging the best work-in-progress award at the NFDC Film Bazaar in 2017. Soni won the best film award at the recent Pingyao International Film Festival – part of the prize money will go into funding the director’s next project. ‘Soni’ also bagged the Best Film on Gender Equality award at the 20th MAMI Mumbai Film Festival 2018.

Varun Sasindran: Born in Kerala, India in 1987, he studied electronics and communication engineering and worked as a software engineer for four years. In 2012, inspired by his visits to international film festivals, he quit his job and turned his attentions to film. He then studied visual media at the University of Calicut in Kerala and took a master’s degree at the Sarajevo Film Academy. His short film include “Omarska”, an attempt to erect a virtual memorial for the victims of the Bosnian war, was screened at Berlinale 2019 and earned a special mention at the festival.

Mukul Haloi: Hailing from Assam, Mukul was born in January 1991. He studied Film Direction at the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune. His short film “Days of Autumn” was appreciated at many festivals, including top prize at International Documentary and Short Film Festival of Kerala, 2017. His feature-length documentary “Tales From Our Childhood” had its International Premiere at ARKIPEL-Jakarta, 2018 and Indian premiere at MIFF. He also has to his credit a feature film “Loralir Sadhukath”, for which he was given the Bala Kailasam Memorial Award. Mukul is now embarking on his first feature-length fictional debut.

Acharya Venu: Venu is known for his film titled MA’AMA (Moan) which is the first-ever film made in Garo language, the mother tongue of an indigenous tribe in North-East India, as its Cinematographer. MA’AMA was selected in numerous film festivals and was awarded the National Award for best Garo film by the Government of India.

Dominic Sangma: MA’AMA’s director is yet another Indian talent chosen to be part of Berlinale Talents. His first feature film, Ma’Ama is an intense probe into mourning and the process of coming to terms with bereavement. He’s currently working on his second feature for which he received the Hubert Bals Fund for Development. Born and raised in a remote village in Ri Bhoi district of Meghalaya, Dominic Sangma learnt the nuances of filmmaking at the Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute in Kolkata. Ma’ama was the only Indian film to earn a slot in the International Competition of the 2018 Jio MAMI Film Festival. Sangma’s second film, Rapture, was one of ten projects from across the world selected for mentoring by filmmaker Mira Nair in the La Fabrique Cinemaprogramme hosted by InstitutFrancais as a part of the 2019 Cannes Film Festival.

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