Films And Funds: Who Is Funding South Asian Independent Filmmakers?

Films And Funds: Who Is Funding South Asian Independent Filmmakers?
Image Courtesy: TakeTen And Tasveer Film Fund

“Main udna chahta hu, daudna chahta hu, girna bhi chahta hu, bas rukna nahi chahta.”

(I want to fly, I want to run, I want to fall, I just don’t want to stop.)

Bunny, from the film Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani managed to convince the entirety of a generation that making documentaries, or films for that matter, is everything Pritam and Arjit Singh are so mellifluously singing out in the song Ilahi. Ask the crew right behind Bunny if they resonate, and you’ll have your answer.

With that said, the process is just as rewarding, if not the same. If you’re someone ‘jo udna chahta hai’, here is a list focused on organisations and grants funding independent documentary films as well as initiatives mentoring future filmmakers from India.

I. TakeTen

A joint initiative, TakeTen, in collaboration with Netflix’s fund for creative equity and Film Companion, aims to not just fund but also mentor future filmmakers. The films produced towards the end of the mentorship program will be showcased on Netflix India’s YouTube channel. Applications are restricted to citizens and residents of India over the age of 18.

They believe that stories that impact lives can come from anywhere and can be told by anyone and have already shortlisted the first batch of ten future filmmakers from India with a fund of ₹7 lakhs each for their respective short films.

Image Courtesy: Netflix

II. Tasveer Film Fund

TFF is one of the first kinds of funds in the United States dedicated to solely supporting South Asian filmmakers through capital funding and mentorship programs. Partially sponsored by Netflix and in addition to a feature narrative project, Tasveer has now expanded its annual funding program to support narrative, documentary and LGBTQIA+ short film projects. The participation is limited to South Asian filmmakers based in the US.

Image Courtesy: The Tasveer Film Fund

III. National Film Development Corporation Of India

NFDC is a central agency set up by the government of India to encourage the cinema movement in India with the primary goal of planning, promoting and organising the Indian film industry in order to foster excellence in cinema by providing co-production facilities.

IV. The Indian Documentary Foundation

Championing media as a means for social impact, the Indian Documentary Foundation is a non-profit organisation committed to fostering the documentary climate in India and facilitating an environment that encourages people to support films that advocate for change.

V. The Documentary Resource Initiative

Based in Kolkata, the Documentary Resource Initiative (DRI) is a not-for-profit organisation engaged in documentary campaigns through training, skill development workshops, pitching forum, fellowships and the creation of innovative documentary films.

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