formedia has accepted to play a central role in the evolvement of the pioneering Steps for the Future project. STEPS for the Future remains one of the most successful initiatives that combined international public television and the cause of HIV / AIDS in Africa.
The group of professionals, including several Commissioning Editors from international mainstream public television, came together again to set up STEPS International. The worldwide DEMOCRACY project is now underway with over ten documentary films in various stages of production.
Seeing the size and diversity of a sub-continent like India, some nodal persons in the STEPS network, like Iikka Vehkalahti, felt the need to establish a separate initiative for India. The idea of the STEPS INDIA project grew from that, combining concepts of a Changing India in the largest democracy of the world.
Initially, formedia worked at an informal level in the prelimnary discussions. Further interaction with the Satyajit Ray Film Institute and the Steps network led to requirements for a more formalised association. Ms.Neelima Mathur, formedia and Mr. Nilotpal Majumdar, SRFTI worked closely with Iikka Vehkalahti, YLE Finland, to develop the framework of the project. Steps India is now registered in New Delhi with Pramod Mathur and Iikka Vehkalahti as Directors.
In 2008, Call for proposals...
The call for proposals was sent out through email contacts and over 100 proposals were received from all over India. After intensive debates over email, about 25 film-makers were shor-listed. Visiting commissioning editors came to India to brainstorm and develop the film ideas for a cross-global viewership. ‘Lakshmi And Me’ was nominated for the Silver Wolf at IDFA, Amsterdam
The film-makers worked hard on their ideas and many of them shot short segments / sequences in preparation for the workshop held in Goa in March 2006. Commissioning editors and directors / producers from prestigious institutions visited Goa to interact with the short-listed film-makers in exclusive one-to-one sessions. The visitors included Nick Fraser (BBC), Ally Derks (IDFA), Ryota Katami (NHK), Heino Deckert (Germany), Don Edkins (Day Zero, South Africa), Claire Aguilar (ITVS), Mette Hoffmann-Meyer (TV2), Christoph Joerg (ARTE).
It was the first time that documentary film-makers in India had an opportunity for such interaction at the international level. With the assurance of professional support in the form of cinematographers, editors and writers as desired by or advised to the film-makers Finally, six films were targeted for potential commissioning and two for further development.
Steps India is now preparing for a long-term project for film makers in the non-governmental sector. The project, ‘Tell It Better’, aims to turn NGO films around to make them broadcast-worthy / of interest to general audiences. The preparatory brainstorming workshop for this was held in April 2007.