Berlinale Talents 2021: Nine Talents from India

By Pickle  February 8, 2021

Amidst the pandemic, Berlinale Talents creates a space for encounters, networks and exchanges during the European Film Market. Berlinale Talents has selected 205 film professionals – 113 women, 84 men and 8 who preferred to not state their gender – from 65 countries. Placed under the theme of “Dreams,” this 19th edition will take place between 1-5 March.

As the first part of this twofold Berlinale 2021, chosen Talents as well as a host of guests and the public are invited into a virtual forum which will showcase the unending possibilities and dream worlds of film: an opportunity to begin building and sharing a global vision for the cinema of the future. The initiative draws not only on the utopic potential of dreams – crucial to so many of us these days – but also brings into sight the many fascinating parallels between the nocturnal film sets we visit in our sleep and the dream-machine that is cinema.

Together the 205 Talents will participate in a 5-day virtual programme featuring tailor-made events with internationally renowned experts holding workshops and talks, some of which are open to the public via berlinale-talents.de.

All the World at Home

This year, set-designer Uli Hanisch (The Queen’s Gambit, Babylon Berlin) will transform the HAU Hebbel Theatre am Ufer into a digital set, allowing Berlinale Talents to convert the distance between the homes of participants from 65 countries and the HAU Theatre into an “SDream,” or an augmented meeting point. “It’s just like being in a dream: Talents, audience and guests will be in Berlin and elsewhere at the same time. The alleged opposition between ‘Real’ and ‘Virtual’ is consumed by our optimistic ‘Everywhere’ for this edition of Berlinale Talents – a programmatic dream journey, which gives new form to our vision for a creative world without boundaries,” in the words of Berlinale Talents heads Christine Tröstrum and Florian Weghorn. The complete programme, including events for the film industry, talks and live-workshops open to the public will be published mid-February.

205 Selected Talents

Not only streaming, sdreaming! Together with 205 invited participants (from 65 countries, selected from a pool of 3,000 applicants), Berlinale Talents is committed to scouting out new paths for a creative industry in the midst of radical change. Talents bring the basic ingredients for such an endeavour: each with their individual strengths and hopes, they come from 13 disciplines and with about 10 years of professional experience under their belts. And all firmly believe in the transformative potential of a community that did not wait for a crisis to actively address challenges and works to ”dream on.” For the first time in 2021, the group includes emerging curators of festivals, innovative VOD-platforms and communal cinemas that shape the future of the audience experience from Indonesia to Mexico. 55% of participants this year define themselves as female, a top value that waits to be replicated industry-wide, as so many applications unmistakably called for. And a broader trend: the social engagement of Talents goes far beyond their films. As creative entrepreneurs they are strongly committed to fairer working relations and equal pay, they are founding film collectives and cinema associations to strengthen their position, and they advocate in favour of indigenous communities, against climate change and for the queer community. But above all else, all 205 Talents are daring daydreamers, about whose work you can find out more at www.berlinale-talents.de.

9 Talents live in or come from India

  • Tathagata Ghosh, director and screenwriter. His short “Miss Man”, which tells the story of a gay man in a rural village, whose father wants to marry him off to the daughter of a relative, travelled the international festival circuit, garnering several accolades; his short “The Demon” is currently streaming on MX Player and Cinemapreneur and will soon release on Disney+Hotstar.
  • Cinematographer Paromita Dhar, interested in (Post)Migration, lensed “Birha” (Absence) which premiered in Busan International film festival, IDFA and Yamagata in 2018-19, furthermore DoP on award-winning documentary project “Behind the Tin Sheets” about construction workers in Bangalore
  • Tanaji Dasgupta is a producer, writer and actor. He has co-written and produced “The Hungry” (dir: Bornila Chatterjee), which premiered at the 2017 Toronto Film Festival and was acquired by Amazon Prime Video, and produced “Cat Sticks” (dir: Ronny Sen), which premiered and won the Jury Honorable Mention at the 2019 Slamdance Film Festival, and was acquired by MUBI.

The Indian selection is complemented by three Indian filmmakers living and working abroad

The Indian director and selected Berlinale Talents Doc Station 2021 participant Kinshuk Surjan, who lives between Brussels and Bhopal, his bachelor graduation film POLA won the Indian National Student Film Award for Best Film and Best Script in 2013 and the master graduation film DE FLANDRIEN won the Flanders Audiovisual Fund’s VAF WILDCARD

Bedatri Datta Choudhury, a US-based film critic who writes for publications such as Buzzfeed, Forbes, Reverse Shot, IndieWire, and Vice

US-based director and screenwriter Shuchi Talati, whose most recent work “A Period Piece,” about an afternoon of period (i.e. menstruation) sex, was selected for SXSW 2020.

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