Sundance Institute and Mahindra today announced the winners of the 2014 Sundance Institute | Mahindra Global Filmmaking Award, in recognition and support of emerging independent filmmakers from around the world. The winning directors and projects are Hong Khaou, MONSOON from Vietnam/UK; Tobias Lindholm, A WAR from Denmark; Ashlee Page, ARCHIVE from Australia; and Neeraj Ghaywan, FLY AWAY SOLO from India.
The awards were presented at a private ceremony at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, U.S.A., by Rohit Khattar, Chairman, Mumbai Mantra, Michelle Satter, Founding Director, Feature Film Program, Sundance Institute, and Paul Federbush, International Director, Feature Film Program, Sundance Institute.
Now in its fourth year, 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, began in 2011. The Screenwriters Lab will announce the selection for its third edition in March. The Lab brings together eight Indian screenwriters from across the world to develop their works under the guidance of accomplished international screenwriters in an environment that encourages storytelling at the highest level.
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, eligibility to participate in a Sundance Institute Lab, and ongoing creative and strategic support from Sundance Institute’s renowned Feature Film Program.
“Sundance Institute shares with Mahindra Group a joint global commitment to nurturing new artists,” said Sundance Institute President and Founder Robert Redford. “India is one of the most extraordinary cultures in the world, with the support of Anand Mahindra and his group, Sundance Institute screenwriters’ lab can support the next generation of their storytellers.”
“At a time when there is no dearth of issues around the world that are crying out to be heard, the Global Filmmaking award recognizes independent film-makers who give expression to those voices. The Mahindra Group is proud to assist the Sundance Institute in this endeavour, which, in line with the Group’s ‘Rise’ philosophy, aims to drive a positive change in communities across the world,” said the Chairman & Managing Director of the Mahindra Group, Anand Mahindra.
Said Rohit Khattar, Chairman, Mumbai Mantra, “These are exciting times for Independent Cinema in India and across the world. We feel privileged to help support Sundance Institute in its mission of nurturing and honing emerging talent. In the past year, five former award winners wrapped production on their projects and several others are poised to begin production. We congratulate this year’s four Award Winners and look forward to hearing much more about their incredible work in the future.”
Paul Federbush, International Director, Sundance Institute: “We are excited to be partnered with Mahindra in supporting exciting filmmakers from around the world. This award, and the year-round support from the Feature Film Program, will go a long way in helping these filmmakers advance their projects towards production. We are looking forward to seeing their singular voices on the screen.”
The winners of the 2014 Sundance Institute | Mahindra Global Filmmaking Award are:
Neeraj Ghaywan / FLY AWAY SOLO (India): Four lives intersect along the Ganges river: a lower-caste boy in a hopeless love, a daughter torn with guilt, a father sinking in greed, and a spirited kid craving for a family, all yearning to escape the constrictions of a small-town.
Neeraj Ghaywan worked with Anurag Kashyap on the veteran director’s two-part opus Gangs of Wasseypur and as the second unit director on Ugly. His short films as writer-director include Shor and The Epiphany. Shor won the grand jury prize at three International film festivals.
Hong Khaou / MONSOON (Vietnam/UK): Two young men visit present day Vietnam, and are confronted with the war’s ramifications nearly forty years after its end.
Hong Khaou’s debut feature film Lilting premiered in World Cinema Competition at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. The film stars Ben Whishaw and Cheng Pei Pei. He is also the director of three short films, including Spring, which premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, and Summer, which premiered at the 2006 Berlinale. This year, Hong was named one of the Stars of Tomorrow by Screen International.
Tobias Lindholm / A WAR (Denmark): The major of a Danish unit in Afghanistan faces the consequences of his actions in the aftermath of his most dangerous mission..
Tobias Lindholm graduated as a screenwriter from the National Film School of Denmark in 2007, and has collaborated with Thomas Vinterberg as co-writer on Submarino and Oscar nomineeThe Hunt. In 2010 he wrote and directed his first feature film in collaboration with Michael Noer, and in 2012 he wrote and directed the critical acclaimed A hijacking.
Ashlee Page / ARCHIVE (Australia): With the help of a supercomputer, an isolated 16-year-old girl grows plant life on Saturn’s moon Titan in the hope of one day restoring Earth’s ecosystems. But when an unexpected accident leads her to the moon’s surface, she discovers evidence that her mission is a lie and that her life is in danger.
Ashlee Page is an Australian writer and director. Her multi-award winning short The Kiss screened at Busan, Clermont-Ferrand, Palm Springs and Tribeca film festivals. Her most recent work is on the film compendium The Turning, adapted from the novel by Tim Winton. Archive is her first feature film.
For the selection of the Award for the Indian project, the Global Filmmaking Award Nomination Committee, which comprised of eminent screenwriters, directors and film academics, went through over 20 screenplays and directorial samples of the candidates. After intense debate and deliberation and consultation with the Sundance Institute, the Indian award winner was decided. The Global Filmmaking Award Nomination Committee included: Anjum Rajabali (Screenwriter & Film Professor), Boman Irani (Actor), Ira Bhaskar (Film Professor), K. Hariharan (Film Academy Head), Rajkumar Hirani (Writer-Director), Rakyesh Omprakash Mehra (Writer-Director) and Sharmila Tagore (Actor).