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Mira Nair chaperones budding talent at French film project workshop

media Indian film maker Mira Nair as chief mentor at the Fabrique, Cinémas du Monde Workshop, Cannes 2019 Catherine Vinay / Institut francais

Ten aspiring film makers and their producers are grabbing the opportunity to move on their feature film projects at Cannes in a week-long workshop organised by the French Institut Français.

This year they also benefit from the experience and advice of the director of Salaam Bombay (1988), Mississipi Masala (1992) and Monsoon Wedding (2001) for which she won the Golden Lion at the Venice Mostra.

Every year, the Cinémas du Monde (Cinemas of the World) picks 10 projects which are seeking European or US or other funding and puts them in touch with producers and advisors.

"This programme is to help emerging countries, to create an international dialogue with France. They tend to be co-produced with European companies," said Emilie Boucheteil, the director of the Cinema Department at the Institut Français.

The selection panels of professionals choose among hundreds of entries which come from all over the world. They may be in need of a screenplay aid or finance for a project which is more or less ready to roll.

"We receive up to 140 projects and then we stop because we want to make sure we and the selectors read all of them properly, added Boucheteil.


She explains that the projects may be documentaries, fiction, animation but the most important criteria for the project are "a strong expression of a subject, of a national or personal subject that has international potential, artistic and in terms of production."

Rwandan-Swiss Kantarama Gahagiri is at the Fabrique this year with producer Kivu Ruhorahoza and their project called Tanzanite. She really appreciates the feedback on her project that she says she has obtained so far.

"It's the story of a little girl who has been kidnapped, and who has been working in a mine. She finds the last piece of very precious tanzanite stone. It's Afro-futuristic, female-centric.The main character is a detective."

She's familiar with this year's Cinémas du Monde mentor-in-chief, Mira Nair, because Nair set up the Maisha Foundation and film school in Kampala, Uganda, to try to encourage and assist film makers in the region.

"I really want to address some themes that are close to me. How dangerous it is to be a woman now in East Africa, how we can reclaim what is ours. It's going to be a joyful movie."



Some of the film projects which have passed through the Cinémas du Monde filter have made it into the Cannes Film Festival selection.


One recent example is Rafiki by Wanuri Kahiu, a here-and-now movie which attracted a lot of attention.

Apart from being lively, sensitive and colourful, it had a world appeal, as it showed lesbian love and exposed the challenge for homosexuals in Kenya, to live peacefully.

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