India Scriptwriters Workshop, Goa, 2008

"The difference between life and the movies is that a script has to make sense, and life doesn't," said the famous filmmaker Joseph L. Mankiewicz.

The Scriptwriting Workshop is like a writing laboratory for people who have stories to tell, and is designed for aspiring screenwriters to interact in group and individual sessions with screenwriters of international repute, with the aim of developing their own writing skills.

The workshop focussed on the written work of the writers, examining their immediate story concerns and overall screenwriting craft. Besides lectures, Q-and-A sessions and screenings, each participant got individual feedback discussions with the mentors.

The brainchild of Nila Madhab Panda of Eleeanora Images, the workshop saw 10 chosen new talents (from a shortlist of 25 selected from over 700 applicants!) being mentored for six days by two principal mentors and at least one guest mentor per writer.

What they have to say about the workshop

  • Madhu Mantena
    COO, Saregama Films
    Scriptwriters do not realize their own value in India. If he is not getting his due, a writer must fight for it, then he can end up as a Shekhar Kapur! The truth is that we do not think global. We are not making films for the world market - that is, movies with universal themes and appeal. We are complacent, we are lazy, we borrow plots from Hollywood movies, and that may be because a large and very loyal Indian diaspora gives us great returns that satisfy us! We need to change mindsets and look at spending money on scripts and writers."Believe me, for the first time after hearing all these ten writers, I feel that there is hope!" he said after the workshop.
  • Sabrina Dhawan
    Eminent Writer
    Remember, the director cannot direct a blank page. Scriptwriting is like carpentry, a skill whose craft can be taught. In USA, scriptwriting is a 3-year course. Seven days may not be much, but it's a start, isn't it? I have seen huge improvement in these writers within a week.
  • Paromita Vohra
    Eminent Writer
    Admitting, I often had to be honest rather than polite to the young writers still felt "quite jealous of some of the stories, because I wished I had thought of them! The stories were fresh, had a resonance with Indian culture and while reflecting issues in contemporary India, still had universally appealing subjects." Paromita Vohra concluded that Indian filmmakers must understand the difference between an NRI-successful film and a world-successful film. "No one wanted my script of Khamosh Pani. It took a Pakistani producer to make a film of it! And I know one guy in Iran who runs a film school in his house. Scripts need to be given their due!"
Mentors & Dignitaries

And so when the largest film industry in the world does bumper business overseas with loyal NRIs but connects only once in the proverbial blue moon with a global audience, it's time to focus the zoom lens on the most vital part of cinema -the story, and by corollary, the script. The British Council of India along with Saregama India Ltd., India's premiere music label, and Eleeanora Images co-hosted India Scriptwriting Workshop 2008 at the International Centre, Goa between March 17 and 23 as a significant first step in the direction of training youngsters with a flair for fresh stories in the craft of writing.

South Asia Children's Film Forum, Kerala, 2012

Children's films and independent filmmakers in this market have been much neglected in South Asia, even though children comprise approximately 40% of the population in this region. Despite the fact that India boasts the biggest film industry in the world, there have been very few attempts by mainstream film-makers and producers to make innovative children's films. The industry's lack of faith in commercial returns for original imaginative children's films has ensured that these films cannot fulfill their potential quality and reach – leading to lack of exposure, access and appreciation by child and family audiences. more Cinema is the most accessible of art forms and certainly the most popular form of entertainment in the region. Yet in a culture with a rich and diverse tradition of story-telling and in a modern economy adept at cinematic technology and home to bright indigenous talents, the creative and commercial potential of children's cinema has yet to be explored.

Indigenous television content in the region is also less than 5%, so generations of children in the subcontinent have grown up as avid and habitual consumers of foreign content, which is often mediocre and irrelevant to their daily lives. Stories emanating from their own cultures and experiences hardly ever appear in cinemas or on television. The little home-grown children's content that does find its way to its audiences is usually superfluous entertainment that validates violence, competition and imitation or preachy didactic content conscious of 'messages' it must communicate. There is an obvious crisis in children's film in the region! less

International Green Screen Lab, Bhubaneswar, 2012

Films for children... films for the environment... make way for the world's first Indian Green Cinema movement. Eleeanora Images Pvt Ltd(EI) New Delhi, and Performing Arts Labs (PAL), London, joined hands to create a whole new wave in children's cinema with more than a touch of green. After their highly successful pilot Screenwriters' Lab in 2009, they came together again for the second edition of this innovative programme - Green Screen Lab 2012 -to develop high quality children's films for the Indian subcontinent and international markets. more For a nation that counts over 35% of its 1.2 billion population as under-15, there is hardly any home-grown quality cinema for children in India, which produces the largest number of films in the world. The country's children are growing up watching Japanese and American films, animation movies and TV, which reflect little of their own lives, experience or culture.

The Green Screen Lab invited new and emerging as well as experienced Indian writers to come up with ideas and scripts for films, which were wholly focused on issues and experiences of children in India. The 18 selected writers for the residential lab screenplay development process worked with an expert team of award-winning Indian and international screenwriters, producers, directors and actors.

The aim of the lab was also to help produce cinema that decentralises the organic waste to energy application, focusing on reliability, hygiene and aesthetic values. This process can help producers to create a green ecosystem, towards low carbon production. The dedicated 'green cinema' production process largely shuns artificial lighting, sets, usage of diesel etc., thus significantly reducing the carbon footprint and costs of each film.

The Green Screen Lab is a unique movement to address issues we have long been avoiding... To create cinema for our children, to create cinema for a better environment – Ek teer do nishaan (two birds, one stone)," says Nila Madhab Panda, CEO of Eleeanora Images.

Nila Madhab Panda: "I hope through a process like this we are able to give back something to society specially the new generation, even as we create beautiful new dreams on celluloid."

The Green Screen Lab was supported by the Children's Film Society of India, Goethe Institute, Commonwealth Foundation, the Royal Netherlands Embassy, the British Council and private donations, and hosted by School of Film and Media Services KIIT University, Bhubaneswar, our green partner was Nextgen and our official cinema portal was dear less

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