New Voices Fellowship for Screenwriters

New Voices Fellowship for Screenwriters

Asia Society India Centre launches second edition - Please find the Fellows mentioned below
Advisors, Mentors, and Finalists at the first NVFS Workshop 2013-14. (Asia Society India Centre)



Asia Society India Centre announces the launch of the second edition of New Voices Fellowship for Screenwriters (NVFS) 2013 - 2014, a programme to identify, encourage, 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. We seek to build an artistic community that reflects the diversity of contemporary Indian writing, providing screenwriters a platform to develop powerful, nuanced, and well-crafted scripts while exploring new approaches to the art of writing for cinema. We invite writers from across India to submit an original story for consideration by 31 December, 2013.

Bunty Chand, Executive Director of Asia Society India Centre, said, "We are delighted to see NVFS grow and evolve during its second edition. Coordinated by Asia Society's offices in New York and India, this fellowship — made possible by the Time Warner Foundation extending its grant for another two years — represents Asia Society's commitment to fostering creativity and nurturing new talent. The first edition successfully saw six emerging screenwriters through a process of writing a feature-length script under the guidance of industry professionals. By incorporating insights from the first edition, we hope to provide an enriching, rigorous, and thoughtful programme for our second-year fellows."

Anjum Rajabali, Head of the Advisory Council of NVFS and noted screenwriter, added that "NVFS is indeed a very worthy and important initiative that Asia Society India Center has undertaken. Every filmmaker is on the lookout for well-written scripts based on interesting stories. We believe that with some guidance and help with the craft, new writers can hone their skills and fulfill that need. We are very grateful to the Advisory Council and to the three Mentors, all established and busy writers, who have so generously and graciously agreed to give their time and guidance to new writers."

NVFS has been made possible by a grant from the Time Warner Foundation.




"Our mission is to find innovative and powerful ways to discover, nurture and celebrate the next generation of storytellers," said Lisa Garcia Quiroz, President of the Time Warner Foundation. "Asia Society is an important, globally recognized partner who continues to help us further our reach in talent development. We are excited to expand this groundbreaking programme in India."

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Asia Society recognises 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 screenwriting, provide peer feedback, and work with respected professionals in the field. Through an open application process, 12 writers from across India will be selected from among all the applicants and invited to attend the first workshop to be held in February 2014. At the end of the workshop, six of them will be selected to become Fellows of NVFS and enter the eight-month writing programme, in which they will take their stories all the way to a fully-developed script, under the regular and intensive guidance of their mentors. The aim is to encourage the writers to realise their ideas more fully, and craft them into a competently written screenplay.

A second workshop will be held in July 2014, where writers will receive feedback from other mentors and their peers too. This edition of the Fellowship will conclude in September 2014, and the next edition will commence from 1 October, 2014.

Each participating Fellow will receive:

  • A stipend of Rs. 2,00,000.
  • Regular guidance from the mentors who are eminent screenwriters and writer-directors over the eight-month long programme.
  • Two five-day-long intensive workshops conducted by Anjum Rajabali, with the active participation of mentors, advisors, and other industry professionals.
  • Recommendations on how to approach production houses and studios, how to pitch, and other professional and legal aspects like contracts, copyright, and safeguards.




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Applications will be accepted until 31 December, 2013.

The Fellowship is open only to Indian Citizens residing in India, above 18 years of age.

Interested applicants may download the application form HERE and preferably email the required documents along with it. There is also an option of sending the documents by post. Do mention NVFS 2013-2014 on the envelope. The application dossier, whether submitted via e-mail or as a hard copy via post, should include:

o Covering Note: We would like to know who you are. Please send us a short note on your reasons for applying to this fellowship. Please mention if you have done any screenwriting–related work, written for newspapers, magazines, etc. Please mention other creative work you may have undertaken. No more than 1 page, please.

o The Story: Word limit: 3000-4500 words. (If you use Courier new font, size 12, it will roughly come to 8-12 pages.) While it can be of any genre, do remember that it has to have enough dramatic potential to expand into a feature-length screenplay. Also, the story has to be either entirely original, or if you're adapting it from another source like a novel, short story, play, or any other form, the original source has to either be copyright-free, or else you need to attach a document from the copyright holder assigning you the right to write and sell a film script of it.

o Synopsis and Objective: A 300-word summary of the story. Additionally, 150-200 words on what it is that you find interesting about the story, and what the story is trying to say.

o First Three Pages of the Script: Develop the beginning of your story as a three-page script (refer to sample script on website). 

Please ensure that your name, address, phone number, or any other identifying information does not appear on the title page or any other page of the story and the proposed script. 

The fellowship is open to all Indian languages. However, all the submissions must be made in English or Hindi. Every application will be acknowledged via e-mail. If you do not have an email account, you will receive the acknowledgement via post.

We do not require a previously written full feature film script as a writing sample. Even if you have not written any script previously, you are still eligible to apply. The goal of the Fellowship is to encourage and support new talent passionate about screenwriting. The Fellowship is open to all genres.

Please note that both the story and the first three pages of the proposed script MUST be registered either with any film writers association or with the Indian Copyright Office. (There are several film writers associations in India. A search on the Internet will give you their details. For the Film Writers Association Mumbai, go to: and for the Copyright Office go to:

There is no application fee. However, an incomplete application form without all the required documents will not be accepted.

The 12 shortlisted finalists will be notified in the first week of February 2014. They should be available for a 5-day residential workshop around the second week of February 2014, and for an interview a day after the workshop. From the 12, six will be selected as NVFS Fellows who will then begin work on their scriptwriting process under the guidance of their respective mentors. Please refer to the schedule.

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

Story definition (PDF)

Sample Script for Reference (PDF)

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Advisory Council:

Anjum Rajabali heads the Advisory Council of NVFS. He is the honorary Head of the department of Screenplay Writing at the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune and also heads the Screenwriting Department at Whistling Woods International. From Drohkaal to his most recent, Satyagraha, he is known for his dramatic scripts based on strong issues and subjects. His other films include Ghulam, Pukar, The Legend of Bhagat Singh, Raajneeti, and Chakravyuh among others. He has also been a script consultant on Gangaajal, Apaharan and others. Anjum is very active with the Film Writers Association Mumbai on issues concerning screenwriters education, rights, and status.


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 Venice Film Festival and Road, Movie (2009) was selected for the prestigious Atelier du Cannes at the Cannes International Film Festival. In addition to his directing career, Dev 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. He is currently in pre-production of his new movie, Bombay Samurai.


Devika Bhagat graduated with a BFA in Film and Television from Tisch School of the Arts, New York University. Since 2007, she has written the screenplays for seven films, including Manorama Six Feet Under, Bachna Ae Haseeno, Aisha, and Jab Tak Hai Jaan as well as a TV series, Mahi Way. Her first film as a director, One By Two, will released in February 2014.


Saket Chaudhary is a writer-director. He began his career as a writer with Movers and Shakers. He 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. The sequel, Shaadi ke Side Effects, is scheduled for release in December 2013.


Uma da Cunha is a film journalist, writer and researcher. She is the editor of Film India Worldwide, a magazine which looks globally at India as an important, viable and highly regarded entity. She is also a programmer of Indian films at festivals in both India and abroad. Uma is also a casting director and her credits include Deepa Mehta's Water, Mira Nair's Monsoon Wedding, Sarah Gavron's Brick Lane, Jane Campion's Holy Smoke and John Jeffcoat's Outsourced.


Claire Dobbin is a script advisor and editor who works with development agencies and filmmakers across the world. Since 2003, Claire has been the Chair of Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) and its film investment fund. She is also the Deputy President of the International script workshop éQuinoxe Europe. She was Senior Script Executive at the Australian Film Commission from 1986–2000, has written for TV, and script-consulted and edited Australian films. She has taught screenwriting at the Victorian College of the Arts and RMIT. Claire is currently script editing screenplays from writers in Australia, Yemen, Syria, New Zealand, Brazil, Italy and the U.S.


Jeroo Mulla was the Head of the Sophia Institute of Social Communications Media, Mumbai from 2012-2013 and the Head of the Social Communications Media Department, Sophia Polytechnic, Mumbai from 1986-2012. She has been teaching film appreciation, photography and the Fundamental Concepts of Communications, and supervising student documentaries at the Sophia Polytechnic for over 30 years since 1979. In 2010, she served as a jury member for the National Film Awards. Currently Jeroo continues to teach film and photography as a visiting faculty and is also a media consultant.


Jaideep Sahni is one of Bollywood's most respected scriptwriters, with a string of notable films to his credit including Company, Khosla ka Ghosla, Chak de India, Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year and Shuddh Desi Romance. Always trying to push boundaries and broaden horizons for storytelling, Jaideep has the uncanny knack to resurrect the common man through his stories, which brings great resonance and reaches out to a large spectrum of people. He is also a noted lyricist.


Bunty Chand is the Executive Director of Asia Society India Centre. She is overseeing the development of Asia Society India Centre and is responsible for fundraising, development of diverse programmes 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 USA and Hong Kong in the areas of Strategy & Business Development, Human Resources and Training & Development. She has lived and worked in the US, Philippines, Hong Kong and Singapore. Bunty is on the board of Lok Foundation, a charitable trust to promote financial and social inclusion principally, in India by means of targeted grants, technical support, research and advocacy.


Rachel Cooper is Global Director of Performing Arts and Cultural Initiatives at the Asia Society. She has presented and curated films from India, Indonesia, China, Iran, Japan, Korea, 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 Iranian Documentary and Short Film Festival, the Asian American International Film Festival, IAAC India Film Festival, among others. She has organised major arts and culture initiatives including Festival of Song: Music of India and Pakistan; Creative Voices of Islam in Asia, Festival of Indonesia, Dance the Spirit of Cambodia. She has conducted and published research on international impact of the arts which resulted in a report Making a Difference through the Arts. In 2006 she was awarded the Dawson Award for Sustained Excellence in Arts Programming.



Pubali Chaudhuri

Pubali Chaudhuri completed the Screenplay Writing Course at the Film & Television Institute of India (FTII) in 2006 and has been working as a professional screenwriter in Mumbai since then. She is the screenwriter for Rock On and Kai Po Che. She has also been a faculty member at the Screenwriting department at Whistling Woods International Ltd and a visiting faculty member at FTII. Pubali received the Charles Wallace Writer Fellowship in 2013 at the University of Chichester, United Kingdom.


Ashwini Malik is a screenwriting teacher, screenwriter and an independent filmmaker. After graduating from FTII (Pune) in 1994, he wrote and directed several television shows. His first feature film, Clever & Lonely (2002), was screened and appreciated at many film festivals. Ashwini has been a professor of screenwriting since 2004 at FTII, Whistling Woods, and regularly conducts workshops in India and abroad. His other writing credits include I Am, Sorry Bhai, Bas Ek Pal and Road, Movie.


Sriram Raghavan is one of India's more exciting writer-directors. Sriram's films reflect a strong tradition of film noir, which is a delightful addition to narratives in Hindi cinema, with Johnny Gaddaar (2007) being the best-known and most widely acclaimed. His work includes films like Ek Hasina Thi (2004), and Agent Vinod (2012). Sriram is a graduate of the Film & Television Institute of India.

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Open for Applications
1 October – 31 December, 2013

Announcement of 12 shortlisted finalists
3 February, 2014

First residential scriptwriting workshop in Khandala, Maharashtra
16 - 20 February, 2014

Interviews of 12 shortlisted finalists
21 February, 2014 

Announcement of 6 Fellows
24 February, 2014

Second residential scriptwriting workshop in Khandala, Maharashtra
7 – 11 July, 2014

Closing Ceremony
1 October, 2014

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  1. All submission material should be in English or Hindi. Please refer to "How to Apply," above.
  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 the 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 or 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.2,00,000. 25% of the money will be released at the beginning of the project, 25% on completion of five months and the remaining 50% on successful completion of the Fellowship.
  6. The residential workshop will be held in Khandala, Maharashtra in February 2014, followed by the second workshop in July 2014.
  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 copyright to the story and the first three pages of the script will be the 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 grantor/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. second draft of the complete formatted script with dialogue is submitted to Asia Society at the end of the Fellowship programme, 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 programme or to the script submitted as a writing sample. This Fellowship is an endeavour for aspiring and talented individuals to develop an original, interesting and technically sound screenplay.
  13. Neither Asia Society nor any grantor/sponsor undertakes to participate in its marketing or in any other aspects of the scripts' commercial future in connection with the Fellowship Programme.
  14. 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.
  15. The New Voices Fellowship for Screenwriters may not be held concurrently with other fellowships or any other similar programme.
  16. NVFS Fellows cannot apply to the Fellowship again.

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Download the FAQs (PDF)

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Asia Society India Centre is pleased to announce the selection of 7 Fellows for New Voices Fellowship for Screenwriters 2013-14. The jury comprising of Anjum Rajabali, Bunty Chand, Juhi Chaturvedi, Rachel Cooper, Uma da Cunha, Claire Dobbin, Ashwini Malik and Sriram Raghavan have in the spirit of fairness, awarded one additional fellowship this year, as the candidates were equally talented and deserving. 

Fellows 2013-2014

Mr. Harsh Chhaya





Ms. Naina Gupta





Ms. Teenaa Kaur





Mr. Amitava Mitra





Mr. Deepak Sharma





Mr. Soumil Shukla





Mr. Chirag Singh





Fellows 2011-2012

The following six screenwriters are the fellows of the first edition of NVFS.


Mr. Gaurav Asri





Mr. Vijay Borade





Ms. Chitra Iyer





Ms. Payal Sethi





Dr. Pravin Yadav





Ms. Pooja Varma





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Email: [email protected]

We assure you that all your queries will be duly answered.
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September 30, 2013
by Asia Society