Umesh Kulkarni’s Temple (Deool), a Marathi-language satire set in rural India, took the Hubert Bals award at the close of the fourth edition of India’s Film Bazaar (Nov 23-26).

Produced by Abhijeet Gholap’s Devisha Films, the project is about a group of opportunistic villagers who decide to turn their village into a pilgrimage site. The Hubert Bals award comes with a cash prize of Euros5,000.

Hubert Bals also selected four participants of Film Bazaar’s co-production market to attend next year’s Rotterdam Lab, a producers’ training programme organised by CineMart during the Rotterdam film festival (Jan 26-Feb 6, 2011).

The four Indian producers who will be invited to Rotterdam Lab 2011 are producer Guneet Monga from Anurag Kashyap Films with the project Urban Moon; director-producer Ritesh Batra (The Story Of Ram); director-producer Rajesh Shera (Echoes), and Priya Sreedharan who is producing Dibakar Banerjee’s Shanghai.

This year’s Film Bazaar, organised by India’s National Film Development Corp (NFDC), was attended by more than 400 delegates from 33 countries and marked the first time that projects from other SAARC nations were included in the co-production line-up. The event also held market screenings for the first time, in partnership with digital cinema provider UFO Moviez.

Organisers said that one of the projects, Chhota Admi (The Little Man), from director Ajitpal Singh, secured funding from Anurag Kashyap Films during the market.

Anurag Kashyap Films, the production company founded by the internationally-acclaimed Indian director (That Girl In Yellow Boots), has also boarded Monsoon Shootout, a Film Bazaar project from 2008 to be directed by Amit Kumar. The UK’s Yaffle Films and the NFDC are also co-producing the project.

Three other deals are under negotiation – an untitled project from Pakistan is in talks with an Australian co-producer; Australian producer Roslyn Walker is working with Under The Red Line, a project from Afghanistan, to raise financing, and Goodbye Kathmandu, a project from Nepal’s Nabin Subba, has attracted interest from a German producer.          

In addition to the 18 co-production projects, Film Bazaar also hosted Screenwriters’ Lab, in association with Binger Filmlab and the Locarno film festival, a Work-in-Progress Lab and the Primexchange workshop organised by Germany’s Primehouse.

Primexchange projects, which were work-shopped to assess their suitability for Indo-European co-production, included UK producer Michael Anderson’s adaptation of Indra Sinha’s novel Animal’s People; India writer Charudutt Acharya’s Constanze, to be produced by Sweden’s Hepp Film, and Suman Ghosh’s Nobelchor, a fictional account of what happened to the Nobel Prize for Literature that was stolen from Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore in 2004.   

Film Bazaar also hosted the three-day Knowledge Series which included sessions on pitching, navigating international film festivals, raising independent finance, digital distribution and universal story-telling in screen narratives.

In addition, Raj Kumar Hirani and Abhijat Joshi, the director and writer respectively of India’s biggest ever hit, 3 Idiots, gave a talk on script-writing. Fatih Akin also delivered a master class, with an introduction by Kashyap, which was followed by a screening of Akin’s Soul Kitchen.

Meanwhile, Locarno film festival director Olivier Pere announced during the event that next year’s Open Doors co-production lab will focus on India (see separate story).

Festival delegates also included Cannes’ Christian Jeune, Venice director Marco Mueller and sales agents and distributors such as Cinetic Rights Management, Fortissimo Films, Rapid Eye Movies, Wide Management, Hanway Films and MK2.

“Film Bazaar is a meaningful and extremely effective opportunity that foreign delegates including market operators, festival programmers and sales agents have been offered,” said Mueller. “It brings us up close and personal with Indian talent and see the way Indian cinema is changing and growing.”