As NFDC selects six scripts for the Screenwriters’ Lab, their mentors tell us about the nature of the craft.
The country has a pool of young talent when it comes to cinematic skills, like screenwriting and directing. The National Film Development Corporation of India (NFDC) is tapping into that resource with their 10th edition of the Film Bazaar Screenwriters’ Lab. After scanning several entries from across India from February to July they have identified six promising projects. Including regional picks, the lineup includes Heart and Soul (Tamil); Spirogyra and The Ward (both Malayalam); The Gift (Bengali); Unresolved (Punjabi); and Time To Go (Hindi). These selected projects will be pitched to national and international producers at the Film Bazaar 2016 to be held between November 20 and 24 2016.
To support and prepare these scripts for the Bazaar, the three mentors who will guide the selected writers in one-on-one sessions in August and November are Urmi Juvekar (of Oye Lucky, Lucky Oye and I AM fame), head of the Screenwriters’ Lab; Antoine Le Bos, French screenwriter and script-consultant and artistic director of Le Groupe Ouest (theEuropean centre for film creation in Brittany); and Romain Compingt, teacher at Conservatoire Européen d’écriture Audiovisuelle. While Juvekar has been a part of NFDC since 2011, this will be Le Bos’ and Compingt’s first collaboration with the organisation.
The structure of a story is the most significant for France-based Le Bos (51). “Building the story architecture is the most painful phase of the job when you plan to shoot a feature film. It can often last more than two years of intense work and research,” he shares
A fan of Satyajit Ray and Mira Nair and impressed by Ritesh Batra’s Lunchbox, Le Bos explains the obstacles that are affecting the stories and the short films today. “Short films are the victims of two trends: a progressive lack of proper story and an oversimplified vision of what a story should be, under the influence of Hollywood archetypes,” he says, adding that the Indian film industry has the potential to become a leader in international cinema. “The key to it seems to be the ability of the new generation to focus on script-development, and dedicate to it the appropriate amount of time and effort,” he signs off.
— Saloni Sinha