PARK CITY, UT — Sundance Institute and Mahindra has announced the winners of the 2012 Sundance Institute | Mahindra Global Filmmaking Award, in recognition and support of emerging independent filmmakers from around the world. The winning directors and projects are: Etienne Kallos, Vrystaat (Free State) from South Africa; Ariel Kleiman, Partisan from Australia; Dominga Sotomayor, Late To Die Young from Chile; and Shonali Bose, Margarita. With A Straw from India. The awards were presented at a private ceremony at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, currently underway in Park City, Utah.
The Sundance Institute | Mahindra Global Filmmaking Award is part of a multifaceted collaboration that exemplifies a commitment to and support of world cinema by the Mahindra Group, one of the largest industrial conglomerates in India known throughout the world for its dedication to excellence and to social responsibility, and the nonprofit Sundance Institute, one of the world’s leading cultural organizations.
The partnership, which also includes the establishment of the Mumbai Mantra | Sundance Institute Screenwriters Lab in India, extends over a three-year period. The Lab will provide an opportunity for 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.
“We are grateful to the Mahindra Group for building with us, this multifaceted program, which embraces our joint global commitment to nurturing new storytellers and getting their voices out to the widest possible audiences,” said Sundance Institute President and Founder Robert Redford. “It is particularly exciting to join with Anand Mahindra and his Group to expand this collaboration by bringing Sundance Institute’s renowned Screenwriters Lab program to India in March, to support one of the most extraordinary cultures on the globe,” he added.
“Our core purpose is to use all our resources to drive positive change in the lives of our stakeholders and communities across the world – to enable them to Rise,” said Vice Chairman & Managing Director of the Mahindra Group, Anand Mahindra. “The Global Filmmaking Award fits perfectly with this intent. We are delighted to assist Sundance Institute in its mission of finding new voices in independent filmmaking from around the world.”
Each of the four winning filmmakers will receive a cash award 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.
Alesia Weston, Associate Director, Sundance Institute Feature Film Program, International said “We’re thrilled to be working with Mahindra 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. 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.”
Said Rohit Khattar, Chairman, Mumbai Mantra, “We are at an exciting storytelling stage in the history of Independent Cinema in India. With the help of Sundance Institute, we are keen to recognize, nurture and hone extraordinary talent in India and across the world. We congratulate the four incredible filmmakers who have won the awards this year and look forward to their next films with great anticipation.”
The winners of the 2012 Sundance Institute/Mahindra Global Filmmaking Award are:
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.
Sundance Institute is a global nonprofit organization founded by Robert Redford in 1981. Through its artistic development programs for directors, screenwriters, producers, composers and playwrights, the Institute seeks to discover and support independent film and theatre artists from the United States and around the world, and to introduce audiences to their new work. The Institute promotes independent storytelling to inform, inspire, and unite diverse populations around the globe. Internationally recognized for its annual Sundance Film Festival, Sundance Institute has nurtured such projects as Born into Brothels, Trouble the Water, Son of Babylon, Amreeka, An Inconvenient Truth, Spring Awakening, I Am My Own Wife, Light in the Piazza and Angels in America. Join Sundance Institute on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.