India’s Doc Film Bazaar co-production market lab projects unveiled

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Respected Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova and top Indian footballer Bhaichung Bhutia are among the subjects of projects selected at the first edition of India’s Doc Film Bazaar.

The Bazaar has unveiled 15 projects that will participate in the co-production market and the five films selected for the Work-in-Progress Lab.

As revealed by Variety, the market is a documentary-oriented sister edition of the Film Bazaar that takes place annually in Goa in November. It takes place during the Mumbai International Film Festival of Documentary, Short Fiction and Animation (MIFF). The Indian government-run MIFF, which started in 1990, is separate from the privately run MAMI Mumbai Film Festival.

The 15 projects that make up the Doc Bazaar all have a South Asian focus, but come from different countries including India, UK, US, Russia, Switzerland and Nepal. The selected filmmakers will pitch their projects to international and Indian producers, distributors, festival programmers, financiers and sales agents during the event’s open pitch sessions. The producers and filmmakers behind the projects will also have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with guests and delegates.

Prithul Kumar, Festival Director, MIFF and Doc Film Bazaar and Joint Secretary and MD, National Film Development Corporation, said, “One of the key components of the Doc Film Bazaar, the Doc Co-Production Market, provides financing and support for carefully selected projects . We received 62 concepts in 27 languages ​​from 10 countries for the first Doc Co-Production Market at Doc Film Bazaar. Esteemed committee members from the film industry critically examined and selected fifteen projects. We wish the chosen filmmakers all the best and hope that the right co-production partners will localize the projects so that they can successfully complete their artistic journey.”

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The five works in progress all come from India. MIFF will take place from June 15 to 21, while the Doc Film Bazaar will take place from June 16 to 18.

The selected projects for Doc Co-Production Market 2024 are:

1. “Aravan Kooth – Achievement of Life” | India | English. Producer: Dr. Anupama KP Director: Sreeraj Rajeev S. The ethnographic account aims to capture the subtleties and ritual depths of the Aravan festival in Tamil Nadu.

2. “Bhaichung – The Story of the Indian Football Legend” | India | Aboriginal, English, Hindi, Nepali. Producers: Anadi Athaley, Arfi Laamba. Director: Karma Takapa. An accessible documentary about the life of Bhaichung Bhutia and his rapid rise from shy village boy to former football captain of India.

3. “Bhalu Aa Gaye” | India | Chhattisgarhi, English, Hindi. Producer: Agastya Bhatia. Director: Naman Saraiya. At a remote temple in central India, a family of sloth bears become respected guests of the temple priest, raising questions about conservation and cultural beliefs.

4. “Himalayan Ki Peeth Par” | India | Garhwali, Hindi, Kumaoni. Director and producer: Arun Fulara. A group of activists treks more than 1,000 km across the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand, meeting the same villagers they met on their previous five treks and mapping the socio-cultural environmental changes that continue to impact this fragile region.

5. “Kalari” | India, Switzerland | Malayalam. Producer: Esther Van Messel. Director: Satindar Singh Bedi, Maria Kaur Bedi. In a male-dominated Indian society, young women’s passion for Kalari, one of the oldest martial arts in the world, becomes the starting point for a journey of self-discovery and self-affirmation.

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6. “Lam Houdong” (animation) | India | Manipuri. Producer: Kongbrailatpam Yasobanta Sharma. Director: Trishul Yumnam. In a bustling city, a loyal cat embarks on a perilous journey to reunite with his best friend amid family troubles. He learns lessons about resilience and hope.

7. “Legend of Abbakka” | India | English, Canada. Producer: Satavesha Bose. Director: Cyrus Khambata.
A feature-length documentary about Ullal’s unsung hero Rani Abbakka, who defended her small kingdom against Portugal in the 16th century.

8. “Lhasa Ma Soon Chha” | India, Nepal | English, Nepali, Tibetan. Producers: Surbhi Dewan, Jasmine Lovely George. Director: Surbhi Dewan. This film reveals the forgotten lives, loves and labors of Nepali women who thrived along the historic trans-Himalayan trade route, the Silk Road.

9. “Music from the Roof of the World” | India, UK, US | English, Hindi, Nepali, Tibetan. Director and producer: Prachi Hota. For Generation Z Tibetans living in India, the mountains of Tibet are a memory preserved in family stories. This documentary is a chronicle of how they use rap and hip-hop as testimony to their generational memories.

10. “Romanticizing the dance” | India,Russia | English, Russian. Producer: Anastasiia Voskresenskaia. Director: Sergei Debizhev. The true story of Anna Pavlova, the Russian prima ballerina, the most celebrated dancer of her time, and Uday Shankar, India’s cult figure in the dance world.

11. “The Valley of Health” | India | English, Rajasthani, Tamil. Director and producer: Sankara Narayanan Krishnan. The journey of a people-led revolution in community healthcare, which unfolded over two decades in an inaccessible tribal village nestled in a forested valley in Tamil Nadu.

12. “Through a Broken Glass” | India | English. Director and producer: Madhu Mahankali. The film revolves around Dr. Chandra, who lost all his family members in a terrorist incident, explores the aftermath of the tragedy and how to cope with life-changing catastrophes.

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13. “Caught” | India | English, Hindi. Producer: Arya Menon. Director: Ajitesh Sharma. 41 workers were stuck in a tunnel for seventeen days. The unlikeliest of heroes saved them after all else failed.

14. “Umbrellas of the Acrobats” | India, USA | Tamil. Producer: Saunak Sur. Director: Mukesh Subramaniam.
Vijay, a nine-year-old circus misfit, faces loss on a journey to reclaim his beloved pony. He finds courage among enchanting acrobats and invents stories to discover his rightful place.

15. “The Whisper of the Desert Wind” | India | Hindi. Producer: Kavita Bahl. Director: Nandan Saxena. In the driest part of India, when an expensive canal breached their centuries-old stormwater management system – indigenous camel and goat herders are trying to revive the system – led by a farmer with the mind of an engineer.

Work-in-Progress lab films:

1. “Air Risers” | India | English. Director: Bidit Roy.

2. “Rumors” | India | Bengali, English. Directors: Sraman Chatterjee, Meghla Dasgupta.

3. “I’m not at home” | India | Bhojpuri, English. Director: Naveen Pun.

4. “The empty courtyards of the evening” | India | Sylheti | Director: Anunay Barbhuiya.

5. “Where is my home” | India | Marathi. Directors: Digvijay Thorat, Ashwini Dharmale.

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