1497, nonprofit organization dedicated to nurturing South Asian filmmakers, has revealed its roster of distinguished mentors for its third Features Lab. This year’s lineup boasts the talents of Mira Nair, Geeta Malik, and Minhal Baig, lending their expertise to guide emerging filmmakers.
In a departure from previous editions, the 2023 Features Lab will be held in-person in the picturesque surroundings of Malibu, California, from October 18 to 23. The shift to an in-person format signifies a return to a more immersive and collaborative experience for participants. It marks a significant transition from the virtual and hybrid formats of previous years.
Minhal Baig, a familiar face from the previous lab, is making a return as a mentor, bringing her valuable insights and experience to the table.
In an innovative restructuring of the program, each of the three Lab participants will be assigned a dedicated pod of experts. These pods will consist of a filmmaker, a producer, a representative, and a Lab alumnus. This approach aims to provide participants with comprehensive script feedback and career guidance, creating a rich environment for growth and development.
Moreover, mentees will have the privilege of working closely with filmmaker and seasoned script consultant Adrienne Weiss. Her role will focus on enhancing the emotional journey within their scripts, adding depth and resonance to their storytelling.
1497 has assembled a diverse team of industry luminaries, representing all eight officially recognized South Asian countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, The Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. These accomplished individuals will serve as mentors, Lab advisors, and members of the selection committee.
The star-studded mentor lineup includes Oscar and BAFTA-nominated Mira Nair, known for her iconic works such as “Monsoon Wedding,” “The Namesake,” and “Mississippi Masala.” Geeta Malik, a recipient of the Academy Gold Fellowship for Women and the Academy Nicholl Fellowship, adds her extensive expertise to the roster with acclaimed projects like “India Sweets and Spices” and “Abbott Elementary.” Sundance favorite Minhal Baig, celebrated for “Hala” and “We Grown Now,” brings her creative vision to the mentorship.
Joining them are industry stalwarts Mohammed Ali (Authentic), Uzma Hasan (Little House Productions), Raj Raghavan (ColorCreative), Kishori Rajan (Random Acts of Flyness), Priya Satiani (Entertainment 360), Rabia Sultana (Sultana Films), and 1497 Features Lab Alums Sofian Khan (The Interpreters), Kaushik Sampath (Grooming), and Iesh Thapar (Alien Kulture).
The 1497 Features Lab continues its mission to empower and inspire South Asian filmmakers, fostering a dynamic environment for artistic exploration and growth in the world of cinema.