At the ongoing 2014 Sundance Film Festival in Utah, USA, an Indian was among the four filmmakers who received the Sundance Institute/ Mahindra Global Filmmaking Award 2014 on Tuesday night. Neeraj Ghaywan’s script, titled Fly Away Solo, which revolves around four lives that intersect along the river Ganga in a small town, was chosen alongside that of UK-based filmmaker of Vietnamese origin Hong Khaou’s Monsoon, Denmark’s Tobias Lindholm’s A War and Australian Ashley Page’s Archive.
This was the fourth edition of the award, which has been instituted to support emerging independent filmmakers from across the world. Each of the four winners will receive a cash prize of USD 10,000 and support in form of admission to the festival for meetings with producers and financiers, mentoring from advisors at the Sundance Institute, and eligibility to participate in their lab. “India is one of the most extraordinary cultures in the world and Sundance Institute Screenwriters’ Lab hopes to support the next generation of their storytellers,” said Sundance Institute founder Robert Redford in his statement about the winners.
The selection committee for Indian entries included a number of local filmmakers and industry professionals including screenwriter Anjum Rajabali and writer-director Rajkumar Hirani. Ghaywan’s script, which has four central characters — a lower-caste boy in love, a daughter torn with guilt, a greedy father and a young boy yearning for a family — was competing against 19 other strong contenders from within India. Yet to make his feature film debut as a director, Ghaywan has assisted filmmaker Anurag Kashyap on Gangs of Wasseypur and Ugly.