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Dev Benegal invited to L'Atelier section

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Tuesday, May 23, 2006
Cannes (UNI): Dev Benegal, an Indian film-maker invited on specific invitation by festival authorities, has been selected for participating with his new film-project in Cannes' L'Atelier (Workshop) section. L'Atelier, a most recent addition to the Cannes menu, having been started only last year, brings together a number of young film-makers from various countries to interact with some established professionals in the film industry -- producers, financiers, distributors. The idea is to facilitate the funding and the subsequent marketing of the projected films, as and when each of them is completed.

The 46-year-old Dev had recently been in the news for having announced the co-production of a film on the life of the renowned Indian mathematician, (late) Ramanujam. However, Dev's project as selected by Cannes is a different one. Titled Road, Movie, and in line with its name, the proposed film is about a young Indian's excursions into the country's heartland, as he drives a decrepit truck hired by an old travelling cinema. The film is in pre-production stage, with its casting and finances still to be firmed up. Dev's interaction in L'Atelier would help him in that process. More important, it would enable him to see how his project is viewed and evaluated by foreign experts, at a stage where he could make such consequential changes in his project as are required to make it more widely marketable.

Delhi-born Dev had burst on the Indian film scene with his first film, English, August, way back in the year 1994. It was a commendable adaptation of the bureaucrat-author Upamanyu Chatterji's novel about the travails of a young, city-bred IAS trainee (played by Rahul Bose) who had been posted in a small district town for learning the ropes. Since then, Dev had made one other film, Split Wide Open (1999) which attracted only moderate attention.

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