The Art of Collaboration: Mira Nair's Maisha Film Lab
Since 2004, the Uganda-based Maisha filmmaker program has taught East Africans the art of filmmaking and this year DFI began a collaboration to send Qataris to director Mira Nair's self-proclaimed "bootcamp" filmmaker labs. During this event we will screen some of these short films, including the one that won best screenplay at the Maisha workshop - Niam Etany's "super, full" - and host an insightful discussion on cooperation between directors and their producers, writers and cinematographers, citing Nair's films "The Namesake," "Monsoon Wedding" and "Salaam Bombay!". Devised as an educational event to promote the art of film conversation, this "sideview" offers audiences a rare opportunity to engage with filmmakers through an informal dialogue about work and process. This event is open to the public and Arabic interpretation headsets will be available. Tickets can be purchased at any box office location.
Education, Doha Film Institute
Born and raised in Mumbai, India, Batra is now based in New York as well as Doha, Qatar, where he works in the Doha Film Institute Education team. He was a fellow at the Sundance Institute Screenwriters and Directors Labs in 2009 for his film “The Story of Ram.” In addition, he was named a Sundance Time Warner Storytelling Fellow, and an Annenberg Fellow.
Batra was part of the Graduate Film Program at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, and in 2006 he attended Mira Nair’s Maisha Film Lab. Shortly thereafter, he made the award-winning short “The Morning Ritual,” which has played at several international film festivals. His recent short, “Gareeb Nawaz ki Taxi,” won the Jury Prize for Best Narrative Short at the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles, and is currently on the festival circuit.
Screenwriter/Professor, TISCH SCHOOL / NYU
Dhawan’s credits include “Monsoon Wedding,” “Cosmopolitan” for PBS, and “11.9.01,” a short film for Canal Plus. She co-wrote “Kaminey” and “Ishiqiya” for Bollywood, and was co-producer on “Bollywood Hero,” a mini-series for the Independent Film Channel. She has worked with various studios in the U.S. and India.
In addition, she is the Area Head of Screenwriting and an Assistant Professor at the Department of Dramatic Writing at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Sabrina has also taught at Columbia University and screenwriting labs around the world.
Dhawan was born in England, raised in Delhi, and lives in New York. She graduated from Columbia University with a Masters of Fine Arts in Film. Her student short, “Saanjh,” received a Best of the Festival honor at Palm Springs Film Festival, won the Audience Impact Award at the Angelus Awards, and was also nominated for a Student Academy Award.
Doueiri was born in Lebanon, and grew up there during the civil war. Later, he moved to California where he attended San Diego State University and graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Film. He has worked as a first assistant cameraman on various films, including three directed by Quentin Tarantino: “Reservoir Dogs,” “Pulp Fiction” and “Jackie Brown.”
In 1998, he directed “West Beirut,” which was featured in Cannes Director’s Fortnight and received a FIPRESCI International Critics Award at the Toronto Film Festival. In 2005, he directed “Lila Says,” which was selected in the official competitions at the Sundance Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival and South By Southwest. He is also an advisor at the Sundance Screenwriting Workshop in the U.S. and Jordan.
Filmmaker and Founder, Maisha and Mirabai Films
Nair entered the world stage with her debut feature, “Salaam Bombay!” in 1988. It went on to win the Camera D’Or and Prix du Publique at the Cannes Film Festival, and was nominated for an Academy Award and Golden Globe.
Equally at home between independent films and Hollywood studios, Nair directed four features within a decade: “Mississippi Masala,” “The Perez Family,” “Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love,” and “My Own Country.” In 2001, her “Monsoon Wedding” became one of the Top 15 highest-grossing foreign films of all time. It was also nominated for a Golden Globe and a BAFTA, and won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival.
Her subsequent films include “Hysterical Blindness,” “Vanity Fair,” “The Namesake,” and “Amelia.” In addition to her filmmaking work, Mira founded the Salaam Baalak Trust, which provides a safe environment for street children in India, as well as Maisha, a filmmakers' training program based in Uganda.
Lydia Dean Pilcher
President, Cine Mosaic
Pilcher is president of Cine Mosaic, a feature film and television production company based in New York City with a focus on stories that inspire diversity and independent vision. She has produced over 28 feature films, and is currently in pre-production for "The Reluctant Fundamentalist," with director Mira Nair as well as "Fela Kuti: Music is the Weapon," with director Steve McQueen. She recently wrapped production on "The Miraculous Year," a pilot for a new HBO series with director Kathryn Bigelow and writer John Logan.
Pilcher has produced nine previous films with Nair including “Mississippi Masala,” ”Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love,” “Vanity Fair,” and “The Namesake.” She has a long standing relationship with HBO, and has produced six movies with the company’s HBO Films division, including the recent Emmy winner "You Don't Know Jack," directed by Barry Levinson and starring Al Pacino.
After receiving an Masters of Fine Arts at New York University Film School in 1983, Pilcher began making documentaries and working on feature films including Martin Scorsese’s "After Hours,” Alan Parker’s "Mississippi Burning,” and Robert Redford’s "Quiz Show.”
Director of Photography
Sissel’s director of photography credits include “The People Under The Stairs,” “Soul Of The Game,” “Drop Dead Fred,” “Passion’s Way,” “New York Minute,” “Meet The Browns,” “In The Echo,” “In The Company Of Darkness” and the Oscar-nominated “Salaam Bombay!”. Her second unit work includes “Black Knight,” “Exit Wounds,” “Rock Star,” “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me,” “Mr. and Mrs. Smith,” “Blow,” and the Oscar-winning “Master and Commander.” Her Emmy-winning television credits include “Wonder Years” and “Drug Wars: The Camarana Story,” while she also worked on Oscar-winning documentaries such as “Seeing Red,” “The Wobblies,” “Americas In Transition,” “Mother Teresa,” Jane Goodall’s “Chimps: So Like Us,” “Broken Treaty At Battle Mountain,” “Witness To War” and “Before Stonewall.” She received a Bafta for both “The Endurance” and “Chicken Ranch.” Sissel received the Kodak Crystal Award for lifetime achievement and is a member of both the American Society Of Cinematographers, and the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.