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Image of Ben Whishaw and Cheng Pei Pei in Lilting

Microwave goes global as ground-breaking production scheme launches in India

Date posted: 22.11.2014

From BAFTA-nominated Shifty to Hong Khaou's recently released award-winning Lilting, our micro-budget training-through-production scheme Microwave has broken new ground in independent filmmaking.

Now, we're taking this winning formula global by bringing Asian filmmakers based in the UK and India together for the week-long intensive training programme in Mumbai. There, they will work with industry experts from both countries to hothouse five feature-length projects based on work by Shakespeare with the aim that at least one is released in 2016, 400 years after the writer's death.

Our Head of Talent Development and Production Deborah Sathe is in Goa today to launch the scheme alongside award-winning filmmaker Vishal Bhardwaj, the man behind celebrated trilogy Haider, Maqbool  and Omkara – based on Hamlet, Macbeth and Othello respectively.

The two announced the project, Microwave International: Shakespeare India, at the country's Film Bazaar, issuing a rallying cry to Asian filmmakers based in both the UK and India to respond to the scheme's challenge and join the open call for applications.

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The project is a direct response to Creative Skillset's latest census which reported that in 2012 just 5.4% of the talent working in the UK's production industries was estimated to be of Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic origin, a fall from 6.7% in 2009 and 7.4% in 2006. It seeks to address this lack of diversity.

Microwave International: Shakespeare India

Daytimer by Riz Ahmed, produced through London Calling Plus

Building on the success of independent Indian film The Lunchbox, the first outing for Microwave International brings the British film industry together to strengthen links with its Indian counterparts, to train talent in both countries and deliver independent and arthouse content that is attractive to a global audience.

Shakespeare India will see up to eight writers, directors and filmmakers from the UK and up to eight from India head to Mumbai next April for Microschool International, a week-long intensive training programme funded by the British Council. The filmmakers will be put into teams and work together to develop five exciting feature length productions based on the works of Shakespeare.

Industry professionals will be on hand to provide advice and hot house the projects before teams pitch for theirs to get the greenlight to go into production - competing for funding and continued development support from industry mentors.

The ambition is to award the winning project with £500,000 to produce a feature for worldwide release as part of Shakespeare400 on Screen.

Find out more about Microwave International: Shakespeare India

Shakespeare400 on Screen

With 2016 marking 400 years since the death of William Shakespeare, we're coordinating an international celebration of his life, work and ever-present legacy. Shakespeare400 on Screen will see film and television activity take place across the world - including screenings; brand new productions of shorts, feature films and artist commissions from Film London; and a host of exhibitions.

Find out more about Shakespeare400 on Screen

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