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Shuchi Talati’s Girls Will Be Girls, produced by Richa Chadha, wins Talent Footprints grant at Berlin International Film Festival

The upcoming film also won two development awards at the Berlinale Co-Production Market.

Our Correspondent

Shuchi Talati’s Girls Will Be Girls, which is to be produced by Pushing Buttons Studios, Sanjay Gulati’s Crawling Angels Films and Claire Chassagne’s Dolce Vita Films, won the Talents Footprints Mastercard grant at the recently concluded Berlin International Film Festival.

The project is the maiden production of Pushing Buttons Studios, founded by Richa Chadha and Ali Fazal.

The grant is for an incubation programme designed to increase the participation of women in the lighting and grip department in the Hindi film industry. It helps filmmakers achieve social impact through financial support, mentorship and public awareness.

A press release from the makers explained that the incubation programme for the film was proposed to the festival to promote inclusion, training and mentorship for women in technical areas of the Hindi film industry which are currently dominated by males. It went on to say that their programme will receive 5,000 Euros; the jury also shared that they were inspired by the concrete proposal that could help change an entire industry.

Chadha stated, “When Shuchi and I wanted to build an all-women crew, we realized that there are zero women in some departments. We wanted to explore what is possible in this scenario, how we can come up with solutions to increase the presence and participation of women. One of our teammates, Tanya Negi, came up with the idea for this incubation programme. We sent in an application since our script was at the Berlinale Script Station last year, and won this grant. I feel very proud of our team's effort. Now, I would love to have some support from the Hindi film industry to help provide mentorship and internships for our applicants.”

Talati added, “Our film deals with a young woman's coming-of-age so we felt that it was really important to provide a safe, female-led environment for the actors. Talking about the initiative for this, we have launched our call for applications — we invite all Mumbai-based women who are interested in learning about cinema lighting to apply. Electricians, engineers, aspiring cinematographers should apply. We are also looking forward to getting some support from the film fraternity to help provide mentorship to our trainees and place them in internships as well.”

The upcoming film, set in an elite boarding school in a small Himalayan town, tells the story of sixteen-year-old Mira and her tenuous relationship with her mother.

Actress Zazie Beetz, Jeannette Liendo, senior vice president of marketing and communication for Mastercard Europe, and producer and Berlinale Talents alumnus Jonas Weydemann were the jury members for the programme.

At the Berlinale Co-Production Market, Girls Will Be Girls also won two development awards — the VFF Talent Highlight Award, with the prize money of 10,000 Euros, and the ArteKINO Award, worth 6,000 Euros, which is presented by French TV channel ARTE to honour artistically outstanding projects.

The film has also won the prestigious Aide Aux Cinémas Du Monde grant, which makes it an official Indo-French co-production.

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