A film exploring Hindu reincarnation symbolism and reconnection, as an aspiring young dancer finds enlightenment through her dance journey.
The Offering is a semi autobiographical tale, written by Sima Gonsai and is her first fictional narrative, dance film.
To make a dance film which synergises the world of dance and fiction, whilst extending the understanding of Hindu reincarnation beliefs.
"The Offering" is a new 10-minute drama film project from Sima Gonsai, working in collaboration with Chitraleka Dance Company and producer Julia Higginbottom. The project has been developed through iShorts National Screen Development programme funded by Creative England as part of the BFI NET.WORK.
This is an autobiographical piece, that explores a unique style of storytelling combining Bharata Natyam dance, choreography and Indian Classical music. The synopsis explores the symbolisms of Hindu reincarnation and follows the journey of an aspiring young dancer who finds enlightenment through dance.
The finished film will be submitted to film festivals nationally and internationally.
Sima is a visual artist and filmmaker, based in the West Midlands. For the past 12 years her practice has specialised in screen based work. She became established in 2004 with the launch of “Cycle Dialogues”, a four year touring visual arts project, documenting and connecting multi-cultural communities through experimental film, video installation and published writings.
Originally trained in Bharata Natyam dance, her career began as an amateur performer where she later studied a Masters in "Screen Dance’. Currently, she is developing her practice as a screen dance director. Since 2011, She has independently produced and directed a series of screen dance films in collaboration with Freefall Dance Company and Birmingham Royal Ballet. This work is currently touring at festivals internationally.
Her recent success has launched her as a director both raising the profile of British screen dance as well as promoting dancers with severe learning disabilities. As part of this work, She has attended several festivals, gaining a wide network of curators, producers, screen directors, choreographers and dancers. She was mentored by CH4 Big Dance producer Anne Beresford, The Foundation for Community Dance and CH4 Random Acts. Most recently, her attendance of San Francisco, Loikka and Cinedance SD festivasl has opened opportunities for her to produce new work.
Julia is a film producer who has produced 2 feature films, namely, Turbulence in 2011 and 500 Miles North, which is due for release later this year. In addition to this she has recently produced 2 short films, The Vanishing Man and Merica Adams, which stretched her action producing skills. Her expertise and passion has also been evident in the arts films that particularly encompass dance, 5 Soldiers and #Brummoves, for IDFB and the BBC.
Working to time on extremely small budgets, with a range of known and emerging talent, is the most invigorating experience of her career to date. She feels that the inevitable troubleshooting that this form of filmmaking demands is a particular strength. She has an accounting background but has also ompleted the Drama Production Management course at the NFTS. She was mentored by Steve Clark-Hall in 2013/2014 to develop her emerging career in action film production.
She is passionate about filmmaking and particularly keen to expand her work in Birmingham and is proud to be based in the city, shouting loud about this regions achievements in her role as a Producers Forum Board member. She has managed teams ranging in size from 5 to 50 and an ever growing list of freelancers in her various roles in Film, TV and Corporate media. She is the managing director of Rebel Uncut, a corporate film and digital company. She thrives under pressure and enjoy the challenges that film production brings. Working on multiple projects simultaneously is also a particular aspect she enjoys.
Chitraleka will provide the choreography for the film as well as mentoring three emerging artists. Chitraleka trained as a Bharatanatyam classical dancer in Kerala, India. Chitraleka’s professional career as an artist, teacher and choreographer in the UK started in 1979 and has spanned over thirty years of performance work in theatres, schools and community venues. Chitraleka has been Artistic Director of Chitraleka Dance Company since 1996. Her pioneering ability for creative adaptation of the classical art form to enhance the sharing and understanding of cultural diversity through dance in schools led to a special place for Chitraleka as an artist in education, paralleling a prestigious career as a teacher, performer and choreographer. Chitraleka has been a member of the South Asian Dance Faculty of the ISTD (Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing) since 2000 and has served as its chair during 2002-2009. She is a senior examiner for Bharatanatyam with the Faculty. Since 1979, Chitraleka’s has trained many dancers who have now gone on to developing and enriching the dance scene throughout the United Kingdom. She sees her current work with Chitraleka Dance Academy as an investment for the future of the country’s cultural prosperity. Her remarkable achievement has been the establishment of one of the first Youth Dance companies in Britain to be founded on a strong repertoire of classical Indian dance and dance-drama work.
The Chitraleka Dance Company will provide a small music ensemble to perform and contribute to a score for both pieces as well as provide a lead and accompanying dancer.
Anaya Vasudha Bolar is a Bharatanatyam dancer with aspirations of becoming a semi-professional performer and teacher. Recent work includes; BBC4 Young Dancer competition 2015. Anaya will receive screen dance training and will play the lead role in the film. Anaya has been dancing since the age of 4, taught by her mother. She has now started to teach her own dance class as part of her mother’s dance academy, which is itself part of Chitraleka Dance Company. Bharatanatyam was the first dance form Anaya was introduced to and it’s one of her favourites; although she does like to learn about other dance styles too. Dancing is one of Anaya’s favourite hobbies and she hopes to continue this into the future, although her aspiration is to become a physiotherapist. Anaya’s other hobbies include drawing, listening to music and being involved in cultural events.
Ambika Jois is the projects singer. She is versatile in Indian classical, jazz and soul styles. She has gained credentials for working with BBC Concerto Orchestra, The Royal Ballet and provided vocals for CH4 Indian Summers.
Ambika Jois is a singer-songwriter hailing from a musical background. She trained in Carnatic music under her father, her Guru Chandru who himself is a musician, violinist and string arranger. Ambika is a vibrant performer and gleams of versatility ranging from Indian classical, jazz and soul styles of music as well as in dance productions within the fields of Indian classical and east-west fusion.Ambika's adaptable and multi-faceted vocal styles has elevated her to many opportunities till date bringing her tone to the forefront of the screen and theatre. The upcoming UK Channel 4's major 10-part series 'Indian Summers' with music composed by Stephen Warbeck (Shakespeare In Love, Billy Elliot) features Ambika's vocals on the OST, over the scores enhancing the characters played by reputable actors Dame Julie Walters, Lillete Dubey, Roshan Seth, and Ash Nair to mention a few. She has also lent her vocals to Hollywood's 2002 blockbuster movie 'The Guru' featuring Jimi Mistry, Heather Graham and Marisa Tomei.Ambika has worked with various producers in the UK which has added great value to her portfolio of work. Having started with her own father on her debut EP 'Indioul', her songs and style of singing gained a lot of attention from producers who noticed her ability to fuse elements of her Indian roots with her western influences seamlessly. She recorded an original 'Meri Jaan' with platinum award-winning record producer OD Hunte for the American music archive label Megatrax. She also featured as the lead vocalist on UK's prominent dance music label Hed Kandi (owned by Ministry of Sound) for the Spring Mix of 2009 on the remix of Slumdog Millionaire's 'Jai Ho' track.
We have designed a range of pledges to help get this project made. The bare basics of what we are hoping to achieve will depend on getting all of our crowdfunder money. Should we exceed the goal, we will be able to extend the film into a higher production quality level, and also enable us to do more talent development training of our young cast. We will also be able to get it into more dance and other film festivals with anything above the original funding goal. Please do help us as much as you can and share amongst your networks please.
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We need your help to get this film funded and all the funds raised will go directly into the making of the film, paying for locations and equipment. Once (hopefully) we've got the Crowdfunder goal, we will be ready to commence filming in July. We have some great in Kind support from local arts organisations and businesses too and we'll keep you updated on these and the growing team.
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