Four scripts have been chosen by a jury for the Kerala State Film Development Corporation (KSFDC) to produce in the coming months. The state government is funding two films to be made by women directors, and two by people in the SC/ST category. Each of the filmmakers will get an amount of Rs 1.5 crore to finish their work. VS Sanoj and Arun J Mohan have won the first and the second places respectively in the SC/ST category. Shruthi Sharanyam and Indu VR have emerged winners in the category of women filmmakers.
Shruthi’s film titled B 32 Muthal 44 Vare was chosen for the first place and announced at a press conference by Minister for Culture, Saji Cherian. “It is great that the government is taking such an initiative to fund the work of women filmmakers. I have been in this field for 15 years, but had to take a break in between. Between 2016 and now, I must have made 30 to 35 short films, documentaries, ads and various other projects,” says Shruthi, whose documentaries like Manu Master and Haripriya, and music videos like Charulata are noted works.
The selection process included a workshop sponsored by the government. Indu, whose script titled Inheritance won the second place, found the workshop led by scriptwriter Anjum Rajabali very effective. “It also gave us an opportunity to analyse and delve deep into some world classics from a making point of view. It helped to get different perspectives from filmmaking and writing points of view.” Indu has made three short films including Utharakadalassu and
While the project to fund filmmakers was initiated last year, the government added to its budget another three crore rupees this year to produce works of two people in the SC/ST category. Sanoj, whose script Ariku won the first prize, has been a journalist for 12 years. He speaks of the process of selection that lasted several months, during which participants attended an online workshop. “At one point we were shortlisted to 18 and had interviews with a jury in Thiruvananthapuram, including veteran scriptwriter John Paul, directors Dr Biju and Sherrey, dubbing artist Bhagyalekshmi and actor Cuckoo.”
The second place winner in the SC/ST category, Arun, says that the initiative is a political statement. "It is a big deal that the government has created these opportunities for marginalised people to showcase their talents. It is a political statement. It gives confidence to those in the lower strata of the society to dream about cinema," says Arun who is working on his script Pirathi.
John Paul was the chairman of the jury. When it came to the women filmmakers, the jury had chosen two scripts for the second place and it was passed on to another expert panel to select one. Indu and Sreedevi P who scripted Puthenkacheri Post were tied for second place until a panel including scriptwriter Kekti Pandit, director Manoj Kana and writer Vinu Abraham selected Inheritance.
Both Shruthi and Indu expressed wishes that the government will continue this scheme every year, so that more women filmmakers could benefit from it. Last year’s winners Thara Ramanujan and Mini IG have both made their films. Thara’s film Nishiddho has been selected for the International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) next month while Mini’s film Divorce will release soon