Producer Soniya Kirpalani (pictured) and her indie Sprocket Science have once again claimed victory at the annual MIPdoc Co-production Challenge, winning over a panel of commissioning editor judges at the annual event in Cannes, organized by Reed MIDEM in partnership with realscreen and the European Documentary Network.
Kirpalani’s project, 17 Not Required Indians, looks at a growing number of Indians in prisons in the United Arab Emirates who are forced to sign confessions and take part in sham trials for crimes they did not commit. As the title suggests, the doc specifically focuses on 17 such victims who are set to receive death sentences for murdering a Pakistani victim, despite less than convincing evidence being made available.
Talking to realscreen after winning the prize, Dubai-based Kirpalani spoke passionately about her project: “It’s important to actually give a voice to these people,” she said. “For too long we’ve looked away, but when you see 17 people who are going to die with no real evidence against them, you have to do something.”
She added that the film was going to show “a different side of Sharia law.” The project is the second win for Kirpalani, who took the Co-Production prize in 2008 for her project Threads Of Tradition.
Hamish Mykura, head of documentaries for UK network Channel 4 and the chair of the judging panel, praised all of the entrants for their “not predictable ideas” which were all “really well presented.” He added, however, that Kirpalani’s project was a clear winner, and commended it for using “a dramatic and developing set of events” to good effect.
Mykura was joined on the judging panel by Axel Arno, commissioning editor for SVT in Sweden; Nick Cohen, Knowledge multiplatform commissioning exec for the BBC; Elisabeth Hulten, commissioning editor for documentaries at ARTE France; and Iikka Vehkalahti, commissioning editor for documentary for Finland’s YLE TV2
Sprocket Science beat off strong competition from A Spy in Love, from France’s Ladybirds Films; Desert Cantos, from Belgium’s Off World; Padre Fortea: The Exorcist, from Norway’s Gammaglimt AS; Wild One, from Slovenia’s Film IT; and Baltoro Passage, from the Andrzej Wajda Master School of Film Directing in Poland.
As the winner of the event, Sprocket receives editorial coverage in realscreen’s post-MIP issue; a one-on-one meeting with a jury member during the event; free entry to MIPDoc 2012; free submission of their winning program to the MIPDoc 2012 digital library; a two-day pass to the 2012 Realscreen Summit in Washington DC; and a one-year subscription to realscreen magazine.