Indian film project “Notun Gur – A New Sweetness” has attracted a host of international co-producers.
Fran Borgia of Akanga Film Asia, Singapore, Camera d’Or winner Vimukthi Jayasundara of Film Council Productions, Sri Lanka, Ivy Yu-Hua Shen of Betula Films, Taiwan and Ajay Rai of In Front Films, U.K. have boarded the project as international co-producers.
The script is by Deyali Mukherjee, who will also direct. The producer is Sriram Raja of India’s SRDM Productions. Indian producers on board include Prateek Chakravorty of Pramod Films and Samir Sarkar of Magic Hour Films. The film is currently in the financing stage.
Raja was selected at the Asian Producers Network (APN), an initiative of the Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF) Film Academy, as an emerging producer. The mentors are Borgia, Lorna Tee and Park Heeseong of the Korean Film Council (KOFIC).
“This is an exclusive program for independent producers who are in their early or mid-career developing their next feature films as international co-production. It has been an energizing experience talking to other producers and learning about the possibilities of co-production with their countries. The APN has been extremely beneficial for me and our film at this stage,” Raja told Variety.
Mukherjee and Raja are graduates of the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune. The development process for “Notun Gur” began in 2020 at the Produire au Sud workshop in Kolkata, continued at the Indian National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) Screenwriters’ Lab and was selected for the NFDC Film Bazaar co-production market. The project also participated in the Film Independent Global Media Makers Los Angeles residency program. In 2023, Mukherjee was selected for the Asia Pacific Screen Lab where she received mentorship on the script in Singapore, Sri Lanka and Australia, with her project mentor being Jayasundara.
“Notun Gur” will star debutants Pritam Das and Tithi Das. Pritam is a popular musician in Bengal and the lead vocalist of the band Taalpatar Shepai. Tithi is an exponent of the Odissi dance form.
Borgia, whose 2023 producing credits include Cannes Critics’ Week winner “Tiger Stripes,” Berlin selection “Tomorrow Is a Long Time” and Busan title “Oasis of Now,” told Variety, “’Notun Gur’ is a beautiful love story full of poetry and emotions, and it’s the kind of films we love. We are honored to be working with Deyali and Sriram to make this film a reality.”
Jayasundara said, “This is one of the stronger projects I have mentored last year. It has a poetic quality and has great cinematic potential. While reading the script and mentoring it, I decided to support it and come on board as a producer.”
Shen said, “’Notun Gur’ is a story extracted from Indian nature, society and youths, in which I could taste the different layers of bitterness and sweetness. I am glad to be part of this beautiful project exploring the different possibilities of collaboration.”
Chakravorty added, “‘Notun Gur’ is a one-of-a-kind and a very rare form of cinematic experience both in the way it’s conceived, the way it is being made and the way the outcome will be heralded to the world. It has an old-world charm and flavor but is very nuanced in the execution, and very immersive. Simple and beautiful, yet complex in its interpretation.”
Rai said, “The world of ‘Notun Gur’ contains a cinematic sweetness and sensory vision which will all be captured on 16mm film. The test shoot footage looks amazing and I am delighted to be working with our wonderfully talented international team.”