Four directors from India, Italy-US, Brazil and UK-Germany honored for their visionary projects

PARK CITY, UT, U.S.A. — Sundance Institute and India’s Mahindra Group today announced the four winners of the 2013 Sundance Institute | Mahindra Global Filmmaking Awards, in recognition and support of emerging independent filmmakers from around the world. The winning directors and projects are: Sarthak Dasgupta, THE MUSIC TEACHER from India; Jonas Carpignano, A CHJANA from Italy-US; Aly Muritiba, THE MAN WHO KILLED MY BELOVED DEAD from Brazil; and Vendela Vida & Eva Weber, LET THE NORTHERN LIGHTS ERASE YOUR NAME from UK-Germany-US.

The awards were presented at a private ceremony at the 2013 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.

The Sundance Institute | Mahindra Global Filmmaking Awards are 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. This is the third of the three-year collaboration between the two organizations.

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.

“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.

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. We congratulate this year’s four Award Winners and look forward to hearing much more about their incredible work in the future.”

Michelle Satter, Founding Director, Feature Film Program, Sundance Institute, and Paul Federbrush, International Director, Feature Film Program, Sundance Institute, said, “As we enter the third year of our collaboration with Mahindra, we are very excited about supporting emerging  international filmmakers who are telling stories that will resonate for audiences worldwide. The Award winners announced today represent filmmakers with singular vision and projects of quality and distinction. Sundance staff and advisors will continue to provide creative and business resources needed to get their films made at critical moments in their journey.”

The Sundance Institute | Mahindra Global Filmmaking Award Nomination Committee for the Indian Award winner included Anil Kapoor (Actor), Anjum Rajabali (Screenwriter, Film Professor), K. Hariharan (Film Academy Head), Ira Bhaskar (Film Professor), Rajkumar Hirani (Writer – Director), Ramesh Sippy (Director-Producer), Sharmila Tagore (Actor), Shabana Azmi (Actor-Activist) and Shyam Benegal (Director).

The Sundance Institute and Mahindra Group collaboration also includes the Mumbai Mantra | Sundance Institute Screenwriters Lab in India, which provides an annual 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. The first Mumbai Mantra | Sundance Institute Screenwriters Lab took place in March 2012 and was an overwhelming success. The distinguished group of 11 Creative Advisors included Guillermo Arriaga, Marcos Bernstein, Michael Goldenberg, Asif Kapadia, Kasi Lemmons, Jose Rivera, Howard A Rodman, Audrey Wells, Shekhar Kapur and Anjum Rajabali. The second edition will take place in March 2013 in India.

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. This is the second year that one of the four award recipients is an Indian director – a commitment to fulfill the vision of Mahindra and of Sundance Institute to champion a new generation of Indian filmmakers. Last year, the Indian recipient for the Global Filmmaking Award was Shonali Bose for her project, Margarita. With A Straw.

The winners of the 2013 Sundance Institute/Mahindra Global Filmmaking Award are:

Jonas Carpignano / A CHJANA (Italy/US): After leaving his native Burkina Faso in search of a better life, Ayiva makes the perilous journey to Italy; though he finds compatriots along the way, they are unprepared for the intolerance facing immigrants in their newly-claimed home.

Jonas Carpignano is an Italian-American filmmaker currently based in New York City and Rome. While raised and educated in New York, he has spent periods of time in Italy where he began his career working as an assistant director. Since enrolling at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Carpignano has made several short films that have screened in numerous prestigious festivals throughout the world. Recently, he was awarded the Martin Scorsese Young Filmmaker Award, and his latest short film A Chjàna won the Controcampo Award for Best Short Film at the 68th Venice Film Festival.

Sarthak Dasgupta / THE MUSIC TEACHER (India): The life of a small town music teacher takes a sharp turn when an estranged ex-student, now a celebrity in the city, comes to visit after several years. The teacher, now lovelorn, prepares to meet her, not knowing if she still bears the same feelings about him as she did those many years back.

Sarthak Dasgupta’s debut feature is the critically acclaimed The Great Indian Butterfly, which screened at several International Film Festivals before its release in 2010. Sarthak holds a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering and a Master’s degree in Business Management.

Aly Muritiba / THE MAN WHO KILLED MY BELOVED DEAD (Brazil): After the death of his wife, Paulo mourns her each day by repairing her clothes and tending to the personal belongings she’s left behind. One day, he finds a video tape that will change his life.

Aly Muritiba is a partner at the independent production company, Grafo Audiovisual. As writer-director, he has directed six short films, a tele film and a feature film. His most recent short film, A Fábrica, is a winner of 60 film awards (including Best Live action in CFC World Wide Short Film Festival, Best Short Film in Cartagena das Indias and Honorable Mention in Clermont-Ferrand short film festival). A Fábrica was recently shortlisted for the Academy Award for Best Live Action Short.

Eva Weber / LET THE NORTHERN LIGHTS ERASE YOUR NAME (UK/Germany): When 28-year-old Clarissa discovers on the eve of her father’s funeral that everything she believed true of her life was a lie, she flees New York and travels to the Arctic Circle to uncover the secrets of her mother who mysteriously vanished many years before.

Originally from Germany, Eva Weber is a London-based filmmaker working in both documentary and fiction. Her multi-award-winning films have screened at numerous international film festivals, such as Sundance, Edinburgh, SXSW, BFI London, and Telluride; and have also been broadcast on UK and international television. Her film, The Solitary Life of Cranes was described as “one of the most absorbing documentaries of the year” by The Observer newspaper in the UK, and selected as one of the top five films of the year by critic Nick Bradshaw in Sight & Sound’s annual film review in 2008. Eva is currently developing a number of feature projects, including the fiction/documentary hybrid ‘Ghost Wives’. She has also been selected to direct the 20-minute fiction film, ‘Field Study’. Funded through the British Film Institute’s shorts scheme, filming is scheduled for late spring 2013.

The Sundance Institute Feature Film Program

Since 1981, the Sundance Institute Feature Film Program (FFP) has supported more than 450 independent filmmakers whose distinctive, singular work has engaged audiences worldwide. The program’s approach to the discovery and development of independent artists has become a model for creative development programs internationally. Program staff fully embrace the unique vision of each filmmaker, encouraging a rigorous creative process with a focus on original and deeply personal storytelling. Each year, up to 30 emerging artists from the U.S. and around the world participate in a year-round continuum of support which can include the Screenwriters and Directors Labs, Creative Producing Fellowship and Lab, Composers Lab, Creative Producing Summit, ongoing creative and strategic advice, significant production and postproduction resources, a Rough-Cut Screening Initiative, a Screenplay Reading Series, and direct financial support through project-specific grants and artist fellowships. In many cases, the Institute has helped the Program’s fellows attach producers and talent, secure financing, and assemble other significant resources to move their projects toward production and presentation. In addition, the FFP is providing strategic resources to completed Lab films in distribution and marketing across all platforms to support and expand their connection to audiences worldwide.

Over its 30-year history, the Sundance Institute Feature Film Program has supported an extensive list of award-winning and groundbreaking independent films which include Benh Zeitlin’s Beasts Of The Southern Wild, Craig Zobel’s Compliance, Mike Birbiglia’s Sleepwalk With Me, Haifaa Al Mansour’s Wadjda, Sally El Hosaini’s My Brother the Devil, Ira Sachs’ Keep the Lights On, Sean Durkin’s Martha Marcy May Marlene, Dee Rees’ Pariah, Maryam Keshavarz’s Circumstance, Eric Mendelsohn’s 3 Backyards, Shirin Neshat’s Women Without Men, Cherien Dabis’ Amreeka, Cary Fukunaga’s Sin Nombre, Alex Rivera’s Sleep Dealer, Fernando Eimbcke’s Lake Tahoe, Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden’s Half Nelson, Andrea Arnold’s Red Road, Miranda July’s Me and You and Everyone We Know, Hany Abu-Assad’s Paradise Now, Debra Granik’s Down to the Bone, Ira Sachs’ Forty Shades of Blue, Josh Marston’s Maria Full of Grace, Lisa Cholodenko’s Laurel Canyon, Peter Sollett’s Raising Victor Vargas, John Cameron Mitchell’s Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Darren Aronofsky’s Requiem for a Dream, Kimberly Peirce’s Boys Don’t Cry, Tony Bui’s Three Seasons, Walter Salles’ Central Station, Chris Eyre and Sherman Alexie’s Smoke Signals, Allison Anders’ Mi Vida Loca, Paul Thomas Anderson’s Hard Eight, Tamara Jenkins’ Slums of Beverly Hills, and Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs. www.sundance.org/featurefilm

Sundance Institute

Founded by Robert Redford in 1981, Sundance Institute is a global, nonprofit cultural organization dedicated to nurturing artistic expression in film and theater, and to supporting intercultural dialogue between artists and audiences. The Institute promotes independent storytelling to unite, inform and inspire, regardless of geo-political, social, religious or cultural differences. Internationally recognized for its annual Sundance Film Festival and its artistic development programs for directors, screenwriters, producers, film composers, playwrights and theatre artists, Sundance Institute has nurtured such projects as Born into Brothels, Trouble the Water, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Amreeka, An Inconvenient Truth, Spring Awakening, Light in the Piazza and Angels in America. Join Sundance Institute on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

The Mahindra Group

The Mahindra Group focuses on enabling people to rise through solutions that power mobility, drive rural prosperity, enhance urban lifestyles and increase business efficiency.

A USD 15.9 billion multinational group based in Mumbai, India, Mahindra employs more than 155,000 people in over 100 countries. Mahindra operates in the key industries that drive economic growth, enjoying a leadership position in tractorsutility vehiclesinformation technology and vacation ownership. In addition, Mahindra enjoys a strong presence in the agribusiness, aerospace, components, consulting services, defence, energy, financial services, industrial equipment, logistics, real estate, retail, steel and two wheeler industries.

In 2012, Mahindra featured on the Forbes Global 2000 list, a listing of the biggest and most powerful listed companies in the world.