New Voices Fellowship for Screenwriters

Voices Fellowship for Screenwriters

Program offers support for Indian film writers

The New Voices Fellowship for Screenwriters will award fellowships to six Indian screenwriters. (Jeezny/Flickr)

The New Voices Fellowship for Screenwriters will award fellowships to six Indian screenwriters. (Jeezny/Flickr)


Asia Society India Centre announces the launch of the New Voices Fellowship for Screenwriters (NVFS), a program to identify and support a group of six talented independent screenwriters to develop their feature film scripts by working in a dynamic and innovative environment with guidance from eminent filmmakers and screenwriters. Our premise is that screenwriters are seeking to develop powerful, nuanced and well-crafted scripts while exploring new approaches to the art of writing for the cinema. We invite writers from across the country to submit an original story for consideration between July 11 and August 31 for the 2011 Fellowship.

Time Warner is the Founding Sponsor of the New Voices Fellowship for Screenwriters.


Asia Society recognizes India's exceptional legacy in the field of cinema. The New Voices Fellowship for Screenwriters will host a diverse and talented group of screenwriters who will explore new approaches to storytelling and narrative, provide peer feedback and work with respected professionals in the field. The project will have two phases. Through an open application process, twelve writers will be selected to attend the first workshop to be held in November 2011. At the end of the workshop, six writers will be invited to continue on in an eight-month Fellowship that will provide a focused platform to explore their work and ideas more fully. A second workshop will be held in spring 2012 (dates tbc) and the Fellowship will end in August 2012. The project structure has been created by a group of advisors and mentors who are listed below. Selected Fellows will have a rare opportunity to work with eminent screenwriters to develop their scripts and to attend two workshops.

Each participating Fellow will receive:

  • A stipend of Rs.1,00,000.
  • Regular feedback from the mentors who are eminent screenwriters and directors towards the completion of the feature script.
  • Two five-day-long intensive workshops led by industry professionals and with active participation from peers in a learning community.
  • Recommendations on how to take the scripts to the next phase. This includes conceptualizing strategies and approaches to developing contacts — producers, directors, distributors and festivals.

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Applications will be accepted between 11th July - 31st August 2011.

The fellowship is only open to Indian citizens residing in India, above 18 years old, who have written one full-length feature script that has been registered with Film Writers Association, Mumbai.

Download the Application Form (PDF)

Download Sample Script (PDF)

Download Story Script Definitions (PDF)

Download and complete the application form and preferably email the required documents. There is also an option of sending the documents by post. This includes:

  • Thematic Intent: In 200 words, provide a summary of the story and its thematic intent. It can be across genres; however, the theme and intent of the story should be clearly defined.
  • An original coherent story in the following format: Word Limit - Between 3000 - 4500, Font - Courier New, Font Size - 12, Spacing - 1.5, Page Width - 6 inch. The story should have the potential to evolve into a feature-length screenplay.
  • A previously written complete script. Include a brief synopsis and ensure that the script is properly formatted. Please enclose a short synopsis of this script.
  • The sample script and the story should be two DIFFERENT concepts. The complete script is to analyze the applicants writing ability and the story is what the applicant (if selected) will have an opportunity to develop into a new full fledged script.
  • The Fellowship is open to all Indian languages, however if the story/sample script is written in any other Indian language other than English/Hindi, then it must be translated to either English/Hindi.
  • Please note that the applicant needs to be a member of the Film Writers Association in Mumbai or any other region in India. Both the previously written feature film script and the original new story need to be registered with any Film Writers Association before sending documents to NVFS. The applicant MUST clearly mention in the NVFS Application Form: FWA Membership No. & Category, FWA location and the registration numbers of both the script and story. Documents required and contact details for FWA, Mumbai are available in the FAQs.
  • The applicant's name, address, phone number or any other identifying information should not appear on the title page or any other page of the story and the previously written script.

All of the above documents must be in English or Hindi. Please send the story and sample script in PDF format if sending the documents by email.

There is no application fee. All applicants with the required writing samples are welcome to apply.

The 12 shortlisted applicants will be notified on 20th October, 2011 and must be available for the first residential workshop from 8th-12th November, 2011 followed by an interview on 13th November where the final six Fellows will be selected for the Fellowship. 12 shortlisted applicants will have an opportunity to be a part of the first screenwriting workshop exclusively designed for the Fellowship.

We will send acknowledgements of your entries by email.

Please read Rules, Regulations & Disclaimer and FAQs for more information.

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Advisory Council:

Dev Benegal is a director, screenwriter and producer most known for his debut film English, August, which won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in English. His second film, Split Wide Open (1999), premiered at the Venice International Film festival. Benegal's work represents modern Indian cinema, which is distinct from the realist or popular traditions of Indian cinema. His most recent work is Road, Movie. In addition to his directing career, Benegal is acknowledged as a pioneer in digital technology, having created 24×7 Making Movies and produced over 60 short feature films. Cannes and Variety have acclaimed his films.

Bunty Chand is the Executive Director of Asia Society India Centre. Chand is overseeing the development of Asia Society India Centre and is responsible for fundraising, development of diverse programs and establishing relationships and building support for the Centre with a broad array of corporate and institutions in India She spent ten years with AT&T in the United States and Hong Kong in the areas of Strategy and Business Development, Human Resources, and Training and Development. She has lived and worked in the U.S., the Philippines, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Saket Chaudhary is a writer-director. He began his career as a writer with Movers and Shakers, and has written and directed two popular television shows, Kyon Hota Hai Pyar and Dil Kya Chahta Hai. His film Pyar ke Side Effects received much acclaim and many awards. Chaudhary is currently casting for his next film, Shaadi ke Side Effects, produced by Pritish Nandy Communications.

Rachel Cooper is Director of Culture and Performing Arts at the Asia Society. Cooper has presented and curated film programs from India, Indonesia, China, Iran, Japan, Korea and Thailand as well as producing and presenting performances from throughout Asia. She has co-sponsored and presented various film festivals and film series at the Asia Society, including the Iranian Documentary and Short Film Festival, the Asian American International Film Festival and the IAAC India Film Festival, among others. She has organized major arts and culture initiatives, including Festival of Song: Music of India and Pakistan, Creative Voices of Islam in Asia, Festival of Indonesia and Dance — the Spirit of Cambodia. In addition, she has conducted and published research on international impact of the arts, which resulted in the report Making a Difference through the Arts. In 2006 she was awarded the Dawson Award for Sustained Excellence in Arts Programming.

Nandita Das is an actor and filmmaker. She has acted in over 30 feature films in ten different languages with many eminent directors. Firaaq, her directorial debut feature film, premiered in Toronto and has traveled to many festivals. She was a member of the jury at the Cannes Film Festival in 2005, among other reputable international film festivals. The French government bestowed the honor of Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters, a very prestigious civil award, on her earlier in 2011. Das is currently the Chairperson of the Children's Film Society, India.

Anjum Rajabali is the head of the department of Screenplay Writing in the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) and The Whistling Woods International. From Drohkaal to his most recent work, Raajneeti, Rajabali has created a niche and new standard for powerful screenwriting in Hindi cinema. He has scripted films like Ghulam, Pukar, The Legend of Bhagat Singh, and many more. His latest film, Aarakshan, is due for release in August 2011. Rajabali is devoted to the progress and development of screenwriting in India and has recently been appointed as a member to the Central Board of Film Certification.

Maithili Rao is a Mumbai-based freelance film critic. She has written extensively for Indian and international publications including South Asian Cinema, Man's World,Hindu, Frontline, Cinema In India, Film Comment,International Film Guide and the British Film Institute website. Rao has served as member of the FIPRESCI jury at Sochi, Mumbai International Film Festival, and International Children's Film Festival. In addition, Rao has contributed to the Encyclopaedia Britannica India on Hindi cinema; Bollywood, Dakini Publications; and on Amitabh Bachchan for Icons, Roli Press.

Jaideep Sahni is a screenwriter and noted lyricist. He has written several notable films including Company,Khosla ka Ghosla, Chak de India and Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year. Always trying to push boundaries and broaden horizons for storytelling, Sahni has an uncanny knack for resurrecting the common man through his stories, which brings great resonance and reaches out to a large spectrum of people.


Ashwini Malik is a screenwriter and independent filmmaker. His work includes films like I Am, Sorry, Bhai!, Road Movie, Bas Ek Pal and Clever and Lonely. He has taught at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) and currently teaches at Whistling Woods International. He has also been a mentor at many screenwriting workshops in India and abroad.

Sriram Raghavan is a screenwriter and director. Raghavan's films reflect a strong tradition of film noir, which is a delightful addition to narratives in Hindi cinema. His most recent work, Johnny Gaddaar, is a striking example of this. His work includes films like Ek Hasina Thi, and he is currently working on Agent Vinod(unreleased).

Vinay Shukla is a screenplay writer and director whose film Godmother won six National Awards. He has conducted scriptwriting workshops in Lucknow, at the Satyajit Ray Film Institute, Kolkata and was a mentor at Maisha, Kampala in 2006. Shukla lectures in the Screenplay Writing course at the FTII Pune, which he helped set up in 2004, and also at the Whistling Woods International. His most recent written and directed film,Mirch, was released in 2010.

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The profiles of the six fellows will be available in late November 2011.

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Open for applications
11th July–31st August, 2011

Announcement of 12 shortlisted applicants
20th October, 2011

First residential screenplay workshop in Mumbai
8th-12th November, 2011

Interviews of 12 shortlisted applicants
13th November, 2011

Announcement of six Fellows
13th November, 2011

Second residential screenplay workshop in Mumbai
March/April, 2012 (dates TBC)

Closing ceremony
August, 2012 (dates TBC)

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  1. All submission material should be in either English or Hindi. Please refer to "How to Apply."
  2. Collaborative stories by two writers will be accepted. However, the Fellowship will only accept one collaborator per application. Please designate one of the writers as the primary contact. The other collaborator can attend the workshops, but no expenses of second collaborator will be borne by Asia Society.
  3. The six selected Fellows will sign a legal contract with Asia Society so they have a formal undertaking of the Fellowship. However, in case of any unforeseen situation, if a Fellow does not fulfill his or her responsibilities then he/she must return the entire stipend money to Asia Society.
  4. The Fellowship has been designed bearing in mind that the selected candidates may be working professionals and they can therefore maintain their professional responsibilities during the course of the Fellowship.
  5. Selected Fellows will receive a stipend of Rs.1,00,000. 25% of the money will be released at the beginning of the project, 50% on completion of five months and the remaining 25% on successful completion of the Fellowship.
  6. The residential workshop will be held in Mumbai in November 2011 followed by a consecutive workshop in March 2012 (dates TBC).
  7. The travel and accommodation costs for fellows outside of Mumbai will be borne by Asia Society for the second workshop.
  8. The workshops will be held over a period of five days, and Asia Society will ensure that the final dates are announced well in advance so selected fellows can plan accordingly.
  9. The copyrights to the story and sample script will be sole responsibility of the writer. Please do not submit another person's work as your own. In case of copyright infringement, neither Asia Society nor any sponsor will be liable and the application will be rejected.
  10. The applicant should have the rights to all the material used and permission to use the same, if borrowed from any source.
  11. Until and unless the final deliverable, i.e. third draft of complete formatted script with dialogue is submitted to Asia Society at the end of the Fellowship program, the Fellows will not be at liberty to pitch any of the material developed under the Fellowship to any professional producer/director/screenwriter/film financer.
  12. Asia Society acquires no rights to the screenplay developed during the Fellowship program or to the script submitted as writing sample. This Fellowship is an endeavor for aspiring and talented individuals to develop an original, interesting and technically sound screenplay. Neither Asia Society nor any sponsor will participate in its marketing or in any other aspects of the scripts commercial future in connection with the Fellowship Program.
  13. If your contact information or eligibility status changes after having sent the application, please update your contact details with us immediately so you do not miss any Fellowship updates.
  14. The New Voices Fellowship for Screenwriters may not be held concurrently with other fellowships or any other similar program.

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Download the FAQs (PDF)

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Asia Society India Centre
2nd Floor, Ramon House
HT Parekh Marg
169, Backbay Reclamation
Churchgate, Mumbai - 400020


We assure you that all your queries will be duly answered.
No phone calls, please.

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