Award-winning, Hollywood filmmakers, Aron Gaudet and Gita Pullapilly, are inviting one Indian-based Bollywood filmmaker to learn about the process for creating Hollywood films with a global reach. As part of the India-US Film Initiative, the selected filmmaker will be set up with one-on-one meetings with key leaders in the film industry during one week in November in Los Angeles, California.
This year’s honored Indian filmmaker is Nikhil Taneja, a Mumbai- based film producer and screenwriter, who is working on a documentary to empower and engage youth in India.
This year, Gaudet and Pullapilly are directing their feature comedy, QUEENPINS, starring Kristen Bell, Leslie Jones, and Josh Gad.
Emmy-nominated filmmakers, Gaudet and Pullapilly, recognize the importance of sharing stories from India and the United States on a global scale. “As an Indian-American and having spent much of my childhood in India, I value the importance of incorporating Indian values and beliefs in the Hollywood system. And I believe there are tremendous opportunities for U.S. filmmakers to learn from working professionals in the largest film industry in the world,” said Pullapilly.
Gaudet and Pullapilly started their creative partnership in 2004 as a husband and wife filmmaking team. Together, their unique cultural perspectives allow them to create authenticity and truthfulness to their films. “It is important for us to expand this partnership to other filmmakers, working in the film industry in India and the U.S.”
Mentors to the program include top Hollywood casting agents, film producers, studios executives, financiers, and distributors as well as other high-profile filmmakers based in Los Angeles.
During the week, the invited filmmaker will learn about the inner workings of the Hollywood system as well as the independent system of making both documentary and narrative films for worldwide release. One-on-one time will be set aside with screenwriters and film directors, Aron Gaudet and Gita Pullapilly, to help the invited filmmaker brainstorm the best ways to move their project forward as well as create an action plan and next steps.
NIKHIL TANEJA BIO:
Nikhil Taneja is a Mumbai-based writer, producer, storyteller, teacher, entrepreneur and mental health advocate. He is the co-founder and CEO of Yuvaa (www.instagram.com/weareyuvaa), a youth media company, that aims to curate and create socially conscious content to empower young Indians. With Yuvaa, Nikhil recently traveled across 25+ cities and 70+ colleges of India to record the mental health and identity issues faced by India's Gen Z through a docu-series, and to create safe spaces for young people to express themselves on ground and online. He won the Goalkeepers Youth Action Accelerator Award for his work on this documentary. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QadlLTxFkAU&feature=youtu.be
He currently serves on the Global Advisory Board of The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s community and international UNGA week event, Goalkeepers, that brings together change-makers from across the world who are working on United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
Nikhil started out as an entertainment reporter for MTV India and a Senior Reporter for the Hindustan Times. Having been in the media and entertainment industry for a decade now, Nikhil has been responsible for the biggest hits in the digital space at Y-Films, the youth wing of Yash Raj Films, where he headed development and production. At Y-Films, his work on the 6 Pack Band, India’s first transgender pop group, won the Cannes Grand Prix Glass Lion Award, among a host of international accolades.
He has also consulted with Girl Effect, a Nike-Powered international non-profit that aims at empowering the girl child. He currently serves as the Festival Creative Director of the India Film Project for two years and is also a TV critic on 94.3 Radio One, where he has a weekly radio segment. He is a former host of a YouTube show for Film Companion called ‘The Awesome TV Show’ and hosts a podcast as well. He now works across film, digital, TV, advertising, print, radio and teaching in any capacity that gives him happiness and meaning, especially if it is about the youth.
He has given a talk on how stories can heal the world at TEDx Bandra 2018, on Kindness at TEDxSRCC 2015, and given lectures at over 100 colleges across India, including premier institutes like IIT Kanpur, IIT Mumbai, AIIMS, SIMC Pune, AIIMS Raipur, IIM Kozhikode, Sydenham Institute of Management Studies Mumbai, IP College for Women Delhi, Amity University Mumbai, Symbiosis College of Economics Pune, NIT Kurukshetra, DY Patil College of Engineering Pune, PIMR Indore, and many more. Most recently, he has been doing giving corporate talks and workshops on the art of storytelling, as well as on mental health and self-care at YouTube Space, Mumbai, The Startup Buddy Conference Delhi, Social Nation Festival Mumbai, Girl Effect, East India Comedy and more. He also does workshops on telling stories with kids in lesser-privileged and low-income areas. In 2019, he went to 70 colleges across 26 cities of India to give talks on how sharing stories can be empowering, as part of a Yuvaa campaign.
Nikhil graduated from NIT Kurukshetra as a B.Tech in Computer Engineering and currently resides in Mumbai.