Shakespeare India


Backing Emerging British Asian Filmmaking Talent

PICTURED: Daniel Mays and Riz Ahmed in Shifty

An ambitious new project is set to unite Asian filmmaking talent from the UK and India as Film London’s groundbreaking micro-budget scheme goes global. This heralds an exciting new phase for the successful training-through-production fund Film London Microwave.


Film London’s Head of Talent Development and Production, Deborah Sathe, is in India to launch the scheme, alongside award-winning filmmaker Vishal Bhardwaj, known across the globe for his successful trilogy, the adaptations of ‘Hamlet’, ‘Othello’ and ‘Macbeth’. Microwave International: Shakespeare India will form part of Shakespeare400 on Screen, the year-long celebrations marking 400 years since the writer’s death in 2016.


The scheme builds on the achievements of Microwave, which has nurtured home grown successes such as Lilting, Shifty and iLL Manors. Like its domestic counterpart, it will offer talented writers, producers and directors the chance to hone their skills while receiving an intensive programme of training, professional mentoring and advice on issues ranging from financing through to distribution.


Writers, directors and producers from the UK and India will participate in a week-long Microschool, funded by the British Council. This intensive training programme, taking place in Mumbai, will develop five exciting productions based on the works of Shakespeare, and will partner promising Asian talent from the UK and India, who will be mentored by leading industry professionals.


With Indian and UK production finance, the ambition is to award one filmmaking team £500,000 to produce a feature for worldwide release as part of Shakespeare400 on Screen.


Microwave International brings together talent from the UK and India and aims to produce a feature which will resonate with a global audience. In addition, it seeks to address the lack of diverse talent entering the industry, responding to Creative Skillset’s latest census which reported the number of Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic talent working in the production industries was only 5.4% in 2012, which is a fall from 6.7% in 2009 and 7.4% in 2006.


Adrian Wootton, Chief Executive of Film London and the British Film Commission, said: “I’m incredibly proud to build on the success of Microwave, to work with international talent and deliver a truly immersive programme on film craft and film business in India. A bold and exciting step, this is the first Microwave International initiative, and also the beginning of our Shakespeare400 on Screen programme, which will see a number of new commissions and touring programmes in 2016.”


Deborah Sathe, Head of Talent Development and Production said: “I am hugely excited to launch this project. In taking Shakespeare as inspiration – a writer who has captivated audiences worldwide for centuries – it seems fitting for a new scheme that nurtures talent from two different continents and offers them a chance to tell timeless stories afresh. I believe the industry and audience alike are keen to champion the next generation of Indian and British Asian filmmakers and this project will do just that.”


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